"California Love" was like a "welcome home gift" for Tupac out of jail.
Recorded nearly 20 years ago, "California Love" hasn't aged a day, still a reliable track as any to bump while whipping down the freeway or to revive a languishing party. But according to Tupac Shakur's fellow Outlaw E.D.I. Don, Tupac was never supposed to be a part of the record.
E.D.I. Don was in the studio when Tupac laid down his verse in October 1995. [Dr. Dre] already had that song,” he said. “I think Dre was planning on using that for something—for his self. Who knows? Dre probably got monsters sitting up now that he could put out. Just being who he is. So, he had that monster sitting there. I think that song was completely wrapped up. I heard it might have even been another rapper that was supposed to be on that song. This was like a welcome home gift.”
Tupac died less than a year later. He was fresh out of jail when he recorded his verse, which, according to E.D.I. Don, is the best time for rappers to lay down new material.
“I think he was out of jail a good couple of months before any new music came out, if I remember correctly," he said. "We done had the rapper coming home from jail and cats have had to do it. Because they done got locked up and now they coming home and that’s energy. Even in the streets, when you go to jail and you either beat a case or you dodge a bullet or you get out on bail, that gives you a burst of energy naturally…But Pac had a whole bunch of extra energy because his life had just been—Somebody just tried to take his life. Not too long before that. So, that added to it.”
Watch the whole interview below.