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"California Love"
Single by 2Pac featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman
from the album All Eyez On Me
Released December 28, 1995
Format 12-inch single, CD single
Recorded October 1995
Genre Hip hop
Length 4:45 Single version
6:25 Album version (Remix)
Label Death Row
Writer(s) Joe Cocker, Woodrow Cunningham, Norman Durham, Mikel Hooks, Ronald Hudson, Christopher Stainton, Larry Troutman, Roger Troutman, James Anderson,Tupac Shakur,
Producer Dr. Dre
Certification 2x Platinum (RIAA)
Gold (CRIA)[1]
2Pac singles chronology
"California Love"
"2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted"
Dr. Dre singles chronology
"Keep Their Heads Ringin'
"California Love"
"No Diggity"

"California Love" is a hip hop song by 2Pac featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman. The song was released as 2Pac's comeback single upon his release from prison in 1995. A popular remix version of the song appeared on his 1996 double album All Eyez on Me. This is perhaps 2Pac's best-known song and his most successful, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks (as a Double-A side single with "How Do U Want It"). The song was nominated for a posthumous Grammy Award as a Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group (with Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman) in 1997.

The original version of the track was not available on any of Shakur's studio albums, but it can now be found on Shakur's compilation of Greatest Hits.

The tune was adapted from Joe Cocker's song "Woman to Woman", and "California knows how to party" lines listing Los Angeles County neighborhoods are sung by Roger Troutman. The vocals "In the City of Compton" and the other cities and "California knows how to party" is adapted from Ronnie Hudson and the Street People's "West Coast Poplock". The remix features sample from the song "Intimate Connection" by Kleeer written by Norman Durham and Woody Cunningham.

"California Love" was Shakur's only entry on Rolling Stone's 2004 list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, ranked #346 and #51 on VH1's countdown of the 100 Greatest songs of the 90s.


Track listings

  1. "California Love" (Short Radio edit) — 4:04
  2. "California Love" (Short Remix edit) — 4:06
  3. "California Love" (LP Instrumental) — 4:14
  4. "California Love" (Remix Instrumental) — 4:11

Writing and background

California Love was one of two songs produced by Dre on All Eyez on Me "California Love" and "Can't C Me", the first session of the song has three verses featuring Dr. Dre's rapping. The only copy of this session is now in the possession of DJ Jam, Snoop Dogg's personal concert DJ. Dre's first session was unedited and home-studio recorded, and therefore differs to the version later included in 2Pac's Greatest Hits as well as the How Do U Want It (CD Maxi Single).

2Pac first heard Dre's session while at his Dre's in-house studio and asked Dre to put him on the song. Dre did an additional mix for All Eyez On Me as Dre wanted to use the original on his album, so All Eyez On Me received the remix version while the original was going to come on Dre's album.

Videos were shot at the same time for both versions and released and played seamlessly on MTV in late December 1995. The original version was produced Hype Williams with a Mad Max Theme (Part 1 of the video), the remix version starts out with Pac waking up from a dream, which is the Mad Max themed original video and is a house party celebrating Pac's welcome to Death Row.

Musically it is based on an Ultramagnetic MC's single Funky from their debut album Critical Beatdown where they use a Joe Cocker piano sample.

In the song where Roger sings "shake it, shake it baby", he interpolates the chant he used on his 1982 Zapp single, "Dance Floor".

Music videos

Two versions of music video exist. The first video (directed by Hype Williams) was inspired by the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and takes place in a desert in the year 2095. The casting includes singer George Clinton as the evil tribal chief, actor Chris Tucker[2] (then-known only for his role in the film Friday) playing the evil tribal chief's yes-man, Tony Cox as the dwarf soldier and Roger Troutman (formerly with the band Zapp) carrying a talk box. The shooting took place in the Thunderdome set[2] known from the movie. It ends with a cliffhanger cut by a To Be Continued closing. An alternative version, featuring the remix song re-cut, removes the final caption and features 2Pac and Dre naming West Coast towns.

The second video is based on a remix version of the song from the album All Eyez On Me, and is a continuation of the video's story. The premise is that the desert scenes of the previous videos were merely a nightmare 2Pac was having. When he wakes up, he finds himself in his bed beside a woman. Dr. Dre calls him and tells him to get over to his summer house because he's throwing a party. The rest of the music video takes place as if it were a home video and features several cameos, notably Roger Troutman who is now playing the piano, and guest appearances from DJ Quik, Big Syke, Danny Boy, Jodeci, Deion Sanders, B-Legit, and E-40. The video was made for the remix of the song.

The first video was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Best Rap Video in 1996. It achieved #9 of the top 10 on MTV's 100 Greatest Videos Ever Made list in 1999. In April, 2005 it reached the Bronze medal spot on MTV2 and XXL's 25 Greatest West Coast Videos. It also achieved #1 on the French MTV's 100 Greatest Rap Music Videos in 2006 (featured from 23 till 30 of July).


  • Writer - Tupac Shakur
  • Keyboards - Sean 'Barney' Thomas
  • Percussion - Carl 'Butch' Small
  • Producer, Mixing, Featuring (Rap) - Dr. Dre
  • Vocals, Talkbox - Roger Troutman
  • Background vocals: Danette Williams, Dorothy Coleman, Barbara Wilson
  • Engineer : Keston E. Wright
  • Production Assistant: Larry Chatman
  • Video Direction: Hype Williams


San Diego natives My American Heart covered this song for the Punk Goes Crunk album. The Glitch Mob remixed the song in 2008. Justin Timberlake covered the song in his concert tour in Los Angeles.[citation needed]

Coalinga, California death metal/electronics band Faxed Head covered the song on their 2001 album "Chiropractic", although changing the name to "Coalinga Love", and altering the lyrics to tell their story of Coalinga.

The Game has recently recorded a remix to this song. It features a remixed beat and lyrics provided by The Game at the intro. 2Pac's original verses are included on the track as well as Dr. Dre's background vocals.

A spoof version with different lyrics was featured in the South Park episode "Night of the Living Homeless." It was used to lure hoards of panhandlers out of South Park.

Notes and references

  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Wilson, Elliott (April, 2005). "XXL". Pop Shots (Harris Publications): pp. 131–135. 

External links

Preceded by
"Hey Girl" by CDB
RIANZ (New Zealand) number-one single
26 April 1996
Succeeded by
"Killing Me Softly with His Song" by Fugees
Preceded by
"You're Makin' Me High" / "Let It Flow" by Toni Braxton
Billboard Hot R&B Singles number-one single
July 6, 1996
Succeeded by
"I Can't Sleep Baby (If I)" by R. Kelly
Preceded by
"Tha Crossroads" by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
July 13, 1996
Succeeded by
"You're Makin' Me High" / "Let It Flow" by Toni Braxton

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