Former Death Row CEO says the song was originally intended for Dr. Dre
In part four of BET.com's sit down with Suge Knight, the former N.W.A. bodyguard-turned-record-exec recounts the making of the smash single "California Love."
"When [J-Flex] wrote it for Dre, we already did The Chronic, we already did Doggystyle, we already pretty much did Tha Dogg Pound, so now it was All Eyez on Me time," recalled Suge. "When I heard it, the first thing I thought about 'California Love' — Pac fresh out of prison — is Tupac. At the same time I have a long relationship with Dre, so instead of just saying, 'Take the song completely and just make it Pac's song,' I did the right thing."
Suge's compromise was to put them both on there, of course. "I told everybody to exit the studio, I stayed there all night, make sure we got the reels, and all the files and s**t. We loaded everything up, dropped the second verse, which was Andre's verse cause Dre [originally] had the whole song, called Pac in, wrote the song for Pac."
"California Love," which also features the late singer Roger Troutman, would go on to become one of the most important songs and influential music videos of all time, and according to Suge, it was a no-brainer from the start.
"I called everybody back in the studio. Everybody," Suge exclaimed. "And when 'California Love' came on, of course Flex and Dre — they only heard the verse where Dre was the only one rapping so when that second verse came on — every artist, every person, all the homies in the studio went crazy. Absolutely crazy. At that point we knew, if anybody else didn't know, I knew, we were f'in' to do something to the world that hip hop was not ready for."
Watch the clip below for more from Suge Knight.
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(Photo: Winston Burris/WENN.com)