Anatomy of a hit: 2Pac featuring Dr Dre - California Love

Find out why this classic West Coast hip-hop anthem was a massive crossover hit in 1995

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Featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman, California Love was originally lined up to feature on Dre's then upcoming album the 'The Chronic II: A New World Odor (Poppa's Got A Brand New Funk'). After eventually being shelved, the track made it's way on to the UK version of 2Pac's 'All Eyez on Me'.

We dissect one of the finest G-funk records ever made and pick out the key moments from the track.

0:00 - Intro

The song kicks off with Troutman's solo talkbox "California Lo-ove" vocal bringing in the beat at 0:03. We then get four bars of drums, bass, piano and horns, establishing the main musical backbone of the track. From here on out, over the course of the rest of the track, additional supporting parts may come and go, but that piano riff never lets up.

0:13 - Chorus 1

The horns drop out and the talkbox chorus vocal hammers the hook for a further 12 bars, adding some two-part harmony here and there. One of Dre's signature shimmering synth sounds props up the tonality, while over the repeated "We keep it rockin'" line, at the end of this section, an ascending brass line serves to announce the forthcoming rap verse.

0:45 - Verse 1

The first 16-bar rap verse is taken by Dre. Bar the odd whistle, the first eight bars is musically unchanged from the initial intro loop, but the second half features a couple of extra synth parts and the odd talkbox ad lib.

1:27 - Chorus 2

This chorus adds more to the first chorus' musical landscape, with some ad libs answering the hook, and female backing vocals adding an extended "oo-oo-oo-ooh" line.

1:58 - Tag

"Shake, shake it, baby" says Roger, adding a further talkbox hook. The unstoppable piano riff and drum loop thunder on unchanged for another eight bars, complete with the horn stabs from the intro.

2:19 - Verse 2

It's 2Pac's turn to take the mic, which he does with aplomb over the same 16-bar section of backing track that Dre has at his disposal in verse 1.

3:01 - Chorus 3

This section, and the repeated eight-bar "Shake it, baby" tag that follows it, are musically and structurally identical to the preceding chorus and tag, bar the odd ad lib.

3:54 - Outro

Everything seems to calm down a bit at this point - the two rap verses have been dispatched and the chorus hook hammered home, so all that remains is to fill the remaining 20 bars of loop with plenty of talkbox and rap ad libs as the track gradually swaggers off into the Californian sunset - job done!

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