3. 2Pac f/ Dr. Dre "California Love" (1995)
Album: All Eyez on Me
Label: Death Row Records
Producer: Dr. Dre
The remixes of “California Love” are split into a daytime version and a nighttime version. The original-based on a piano-driven Joe Cocker sample first used by Ultramagnetic MCs in 1987-has all the sharpness of hard sunshine, while the remix is smokier, smoggier, more perilous. Ellen DeGeneres likes to dance to the first version; the second is something that belongs solely to streetlife within L.A. city limits.
The pinnacle of G-funk is contained in this consummate production, which brings together Ronnie Hudson, Roger Troutman and Dr. Dre in a holy trinity of South Central sound design. And in the middle of it all, a Northern California transplant named Tupac Shakur, “fiending for money and alcohol,” while rhyming “slow jam” with “Rosecrans.”