Heavy D Was An 'Icon,' Red Cafe Says

'He was just a big dude with swag, and then you seen Biggie follow suit and you see Rick Ross follow suit,' he tells MTV News.

Red Café may have only met Heavy D a few months before his death, but the Overweight Lover remained an inspiration to the Bad Boy rapper.

"I gotta tip my hat, raise my glass to Heavy D for paving the way for me to be able to do this," Red told MTV News during MTV2's Sucker Free Awards in Miami last week. "Heavy D was instrumental on me being a part of hip-hop. The Overweight Lover brought the swag to the game, so for me, it was a great loss for me."

The fallen rapper was close friends with Bad Boy founder Diddy; their relationship dates back to their days at Uptown Records, where Puff interned back in the early 1990s. "I got a chance to meet Heavy D at Puff's house a few months ago, and he knew who I was," Red Café shared. "Heavy D knew who I was. He was like, 'Yo, dog I've been hearin' about you, I've been watching your movement,' and, you know, that was so inspiring for me, 'cause I grew up on Heavy D."

Through his music, Heavy D embraced his physical stature. Songs like "The Overweight Lover," "Mr. Big Stuff" and his 1991 dance hit "Now That We Found Love" helped brand the rapper as not only a hitmaker, but a sex symbol as well. It was a blueprint that many rappers after him followed.

"He was just a big dude with swag, and then you seen Biggie follow suit and you see Rick Ross follow suit, so Heavy D is instrumental in the game and very important," Red said. "He's an icon, and I salute him. Rest in peace. He's in a better place, and you know we love you. Your music will live forever, believe that."

There was a public viewing for the fallen rapper Thursday at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, New York, and a private funeral service for family and close friends is set for Friday (November 18). BET is planning a special tribute to Heavy D during November 27's Soul Train Awards. Rappers Big Daddy Kane, Doug E. Fresh, Curtis Blow, Naughty by Nature, Whodini and Stetsasonic's Daddy-O are all said to be taking part.

How has Heavy D inspired you? Tell us in the comments.