California Love” is a hip hop song by 2Pac featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman. The song was released as 2Pac’s comeback single after his release from prison in 1995 and was his first single as the newest artist of Death Row Records. This is one of 2Pac’s most widely known and most successful singles, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks (as a double A-side single with “How Do U Want It”) and also topping the charts of Italy, New Zealand, and Sweden. 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.

Audio sample

Music video“California Love” on YouTubeMusic video“California Love” (Remix) on YouTube

A popular remix version of the song appeared on his 1996 double album All Eyez on Me.

Original version

The original version was not available on any of Shakur’s studio albums due to it being intended for Dr. Dre‘s shelved album The Chronic II: A New World Odor (Poppa’s Got A Brand New Funk), but it can now be found on Shakur’s compilation of Greatest Hits and on the United Kingdom version of All Eyez on Me. The original version also exists in extended form and is 6:29 in length. This particular version was never released to the public and is now only available on 12-inch promo vinyl records. Aside from the extended track being on limited quantities of vinyl promo records, very few uploads to YouTube exist of the original, 6:29-length extended song.

Writing, samples and background

“California Love” was one of two songs produced by Dr. Dre on All Eyez on Me—the other one being “Can’t C Me”. The first version 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. 2Pac first heard Dr. Dre’s session while at Dre’s in-house studio and asked Dre to put him on the song. Producer Laylaw also did an additional remix of the song which is often erroneously credited to Dr. Dre  and has been suggested to be one of the reasons for the fallout between Dre and 2Pac a few months later. The original was released as a double-A side single together with “How Do U Want It” and intended for the Dr. Dre album The Chronic II, while the remix was included on 2Pac’s All Eyez on Me. The song was made and written in Dr. Dre’s in house studio, 2Pac came in and wrote his verse straight away; it took him just 15 minutes to write his verse. The weekend after the song was completed the video was then recorded.

The original version contains a sample taken from Joe Cocker‘s 1972 song “Woman to Woman”. The remix version contains a sample taken from Kleeer‘s 1984 song “Intimate Connection”. The chorus, “California knows how to party”, was sung by Roger Troutman using his characteristic talk box and was taken from the 1982 song “West Coast Poplock” by Ronnie Hudson & The Street People which was written by Ronnie Hudson and Mikel Hooks. In the song where Troutman sings “shake it, shake it baby”, he interpolates the chant he used on his 1982 Zapp single, “Dance Floor”.

Music videos

Two versions of the music video exist. The first video (directed by Hype Williams) was inspired by the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and was Jada Pinkett Smith‘s idea. It takes place in a desert in the year 2095. The casting includes funk mastermind George Clinton as the evil tribal chief, actor Chris Tucker  (then known for his role in the 1995 film Friday), 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 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 Dr. Dre naming West Coast towns.

The second video is based on the 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. He calls Dr. Dre, who tells him to get over to his summer house because he’s throwing a house party. The rest of the music video takes place as if it were a home video celebrating 2Pac’s welcome to Death Row and features several cameos, notably Roger Troutman who is now playing the piano, and guest appearances from DJ QuikBig SykeDeion SandersDanny BoyJodeciB-Legit and E-40.

The first video can be found on the DualDisc of All Eyez on Me and the second video can be found on Tupac: Live at the House of Blues DVD. It also won the 1996 MOBO Award for Best Video.


“California Love” was voted the 11th best single of 1996 in the Pazz & Jop, an annual critics poll run by The Village VoiceRobert Christgau, the poll’s creator, ranked it 10th in his own year-end list.The song’s first video was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Best Rap Video in 1996. It achieved number 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 number 1 on the French MTV‘s 100 Greatest Rap Music Videos in 2006 (featured from 23 till 30 of July). It went number 51 on VH1‘s countdown of the 100 Greatest songs of the 90s.

  • The information regarding accolades attributed to California Love is adapted from Acclaimed Music.


Ego TripUnited StatesHip Hop’s 40 Greatest Singles by Year 1980–98199922

VH1100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s201451

BlenderThe 1001 Greatest Songs to Download Right Now!2003*

50 Great Hip Hop Songs20016

Rolling StoneThe 500 Greatest Songs of All Time2004346Bruce PollockThe 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944–20002005

*Rolling StoneThe 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (Updated 2010)2010355Rock and Roll Hall of FameThe Songs That Shaped Rock (Additions 2011)2011*

SlantThe 100 Best Singles of the 90s17TIMEThe All-Time 100 Songs*Pause & PlaySongs Inducted into a Time Capsule, One Track at Each Week*

Gary MulhollandUnited KingdomThis Is Uncool: The 500 Best Singles Since Punk Rock2002*

Paul MorleyWords and Music, 210 Greatest Pop Singles of All Time2003*

QThe 1001 Best Songs Ever118The 1010 Songs You Must Own2004

*Giannis PetridisGreece2004 of the Best Songs of the Century2003

*TechnikartFranceTop 20 Songs per Year 1991–2011201213

Village VoiceUnited StatesSingles of the Year11FaceUnited Kingdom3Melody Maker24Vox8

Song versions

There are several different versions (and duration lengths) of California Love recorded and released by 2Pac.

  • California Love [Official/”Full” Original Track] – 6:29 (the unmodified, uncut original track, released only on promo vinyl records)
  • California Love [Remix/”Full” Original Track] – 6:25 (the unmodified, uncut remixed track, released on All Eyez On Me)
  • California Love [“Original”] – 4:45 (the “original” released track, shortened down from 6:29 to 4:45)
  • California Love [Short Radio Edit] – 4:01 (modified version of the cut “original” track [shorter, modified outro])
  • California Love [LP Instrumental] – 4:15 (instrumental version of the “original” track)
  • California Love [Short Remix Edit] – 4:07 (remixed version of the “original”)
  • California Love [Remix Instrumental] – 4:12 (instrumental version of remix)

Some tracks listed above are available through iTunes and other music providers, while others are from CD discs only believed to be released in the UK. The “official/original” track can only be found on promo vinyl records or through YouTube.


  • Writer – Tupac “2Pac” Shakur (2nd Verse); James “J-Flexx” Anderson (1st verse)
  • 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
  • Engineer – Rick Clifford
  • Assistant Engineer: Alvin McGill
  • Production assistant – Larry Chatman
  • Video direction – Hype Williams


Year End Charts

Decade long charts


In popular culture

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Allah, Sha Be (December 3, 2015). “TODAY IN HIP HOP HISTORY: TUPAC’S “CALIFORNIA LOVE” FEATURING DR. DRE TURNS 20″. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  2. ^ Smith, Troy L. “25 best West Coast rap songs since N.W.A.’s ‘Straight Outta Compton'” Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  3. ^ Campbell, Michael (2019). “Chapter 76: Mainstream Rap”Popular Music in America: The Beat Goes On (5th ed.). Cengage. pp. 327–328. ISBN 978-1-337-56037-5.
  4. ^ Bell, Max; MacAdams, Torii (July 26, 2016). “The 30 best G-Funk tracks of all time”Fact. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  5. ^ “HipHop-Elements.Com – Rap, R&B, Neo Soul, Pop, Rock, Latin, Reggae, Celebrity News and Gossip –” Archived from the original on February 15, 2012.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. a b “Hype Williams: His 10 Greatest Videos: 2” March 9, 2012. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
  10. a b Wilson, Elliott (April 2005). “XXL“. Pop ShotsHarris Publications. pp. 131–135.
  11. ^ “Robert Christgau: Pazz & Jop 1996: Critics Poll”
  12. ^ Christgau, Robert (1997). “Pazz & Jop 1996: Dean’s List”The Village Voice (February 25). New York. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  13. ^ “Week Ending June 19, 2011. Bad Teenage Dreams – Chart Watch”. June 22, 2011. Archived from the original on September 2, 2011. Retrieved October 25, 2011.
  14. ^ “Acclaimed Music – California Love”Acclaimed Music. Archived from the originalon December 31, 2014. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
  15. ^ “ – 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre – California Love”ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  16. ^ “ – 2 Pac feat. Dr. Dre – California Love” (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  17. ^ “ – 2 Pac feat. Dr. Dre – California Love” (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  18. ^ “ – 2 Pac feat. Dr. Dre – California Love” (in French). Ultratop 50.
  19. ^ “Top RPM Singles: Issue 9194.” RPMLibrary and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  20. ^ “Top RPM Dance/Urban: Issue 2928.” RPMLibrary and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  21. ^ “Top National Sellers” (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 19. May 11, 1996. p. 24. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  22. ^ “Eurochart Hot 100 Singles” (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 17. April 27, 1996. p. 13. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  23. ^ “2 Pac feat. Dr. Dre: California Love” (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  24. ^ “ – 2 Pac feat. Dr. Dre – California Love” (in French). Les classement single.
  25. ^ “ – 2 Pac feat. Dr. Dre – California Love”GfK Entertainment Charts.
  26. ^ “Íslenski Listinn Nr. 161: Vikuna 16.3. – 22.3. ’96”Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). March 16, 1996. p. 26. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  27. ^ “The Irish Charts – Search Results – California Love”Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  28. ^ “Top National Sellers” (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 17. April 27, 1996. p. 15. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  29. ^ “Nederlandse Top 40 – 2 Pac feat. Dr. Dre”(in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  30. ^ “ – 2 Pac feat. Dr. Dre – California Love” (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  31. ^ “ – 2 Pac feat. Dr. Dre – California Love”Top 40 Singles.
  32. ^ “ – 2 Pac feat. Dr. Dre – California Love”VG-lista.
  33. ^ “Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100”Official Charts Company.
  34. ^ “ – 2 Pac feat. Dr. Dre – California Love”Singles Top 100.
  35. ^ “ – 2 Pac feat. Dr. Dre – California Love”Swiss Singles Chart.
  36. ^ “Official Singles Chart Top 100”Official Charts Company.
  37. ^ “Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40”Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  38. ^ “Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40”Official Charts Company.
  39. ^ “2Pac Chart History (Hot 100)”Billboard. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  40. ^ “2Pac Chart History (Dance Singles Sales)”Billboard. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  41. ^ “2Pac Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)”Billboard. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  42. ^ “2Pac Chart History (Hot Rap Songs)”Billboard. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  43. ^ “2Pac Chart History (Pop Songs)”Billboard. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  44. ^ “2Pac Chart History (Rhythmic)”Billboard. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  45. a b “The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles 1996”ARIA. Retrieved June 14, 2017 – via Imgur.
  46. ^ “Rapports Annuels 1996” (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  47. ^ “RPM Year End Dance Top 50”RPMLibrary and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 26,2019.
  48. ^ “Year End Sales Charts – Eurochart Hot 100 Singles 1996” (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 51/52. December 21, 1996. p. 12. Retrieved November 3, 2020.
  49. ^ “Tops de L’année | Top Singles 1996” (in French). SNEP. Retrieved November 3, 2020.
  50. ^ “Top 100 Single–Jahrescharts 1996” (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  51. ^ “Top 100–Jaaroverzicht van 1996”Dutch Top 40. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  52. ^ “Jaaroverzichten – Single 1996” (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  53. ^ “End of Year Charts 1996”Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  54. ^ “Årslista Singlar, 1996” (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  55. ^ “Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1996” (in German). Retrieved February 26,2020.
  56. ^ “Top 100 Singles 1996”. Music Week. January 18, 1997. p. 25.
  57. ^ “Billboard Top 100 – 1996”. Archived from the original on March 1, 2009. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  58. ^ Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally ’90s: Diary of a Decade – The listing of Top Pop Albums of the ’90s & Hot 100 Singles of the ’90sBillboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
  59. ^ “Canadian single certifications – 2 Pac – California Love”Music Canada.
  60. ^ “New Zealand single certifications – 2Pac & Dr Dre – California Love”Recorded Music NZ.
  61. ^ “IFPI Norsk platebransje Trofeer 1993–2011”(in Norwegian). IFPI Norway.
  62. ^ “British single certifications – 2Pac ft Dr Dre – California Love”British Phonographic Industry.
  63. ^ “Nielsen SoundScan Charts”Nielsen. April 4, 2016.
  64. ^ “American single certifications – 2 Pac – How Do U Want It/California Love”Recording Industry Association of AmericaIf necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  65. ^ Kung, Michelle (September 30, 2010). “Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon’s ‘History of Rap’ Duet: The Full Set List”The Wall Street Journal.
  66. ^ Weber, Imogen Lloyd (July 8, 2014). “Watch the Cast of Holler If Ya Hear Me Get Some ‘California Love'”
  67. ^ “Moesha S01E11 The Ditch Party”YouTube. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  68. ^ “The Talk – Julie Chen Performs ‘California Love’ with Eve”YouTube. Retrieved January 26, 2018.

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