Dr. Dre may have had a special love for his ‘California Love’ beat, but he never had an issue with giving the monster record to 2Pac, according to Kurupt.
While reminiscing about the Death Row era during his recent interview with The Art of Dialogue, Kurupt was asked about the rumor that Dre never intended for the hit single to go to ‘Pac. And while the iconic instrumental wasn’t necessarily crafted for him, 2Pac didn’t have to fight for or steal the beat away from anyone else.
“Dr. Dre been had that beat, he had that beat for a while,” the Dogg Pound rapper recalled. “He even told me once, ‘Kurupt you like this beat? Yeah, I’ma see how you sound on it.’ And thought this was gonna be my chance. And then 2Pac came home… and the way we do it at Death Row, is whosever turn it is, everybody contributes. So, you know: your project freezes, everyone contributes towards the project that’s at hand.
“Dr. Dre was working on that record for a while before 2Pac came home,” Kurupt continued. “I looked at that beat like Dr. Dre’s heart. Like he had a plan for it, like he was trying to figure out, ‘What am I gonna do with this beat?’ ’cause it was so gruesome and bangin’, but it was fun. 2Pac came home. So when he gave him ‘California Love,’ I looked at it like Dr. Dre gave 2Pac his heart. ‘Cause I used to go in there when he was working on it, and that was his baby.”
Kurupt’s account stands in direct contradiction with the origin story told by Outlawz rapper E.D.I. Don a few years ago.
During a 2015 Vlad TV interview, E.D.I. explained that the song “was completely wrapped up” before 2Pac jumped on, and was possibly intended for another rapper.
“I was there when he laid his verse…He [Dr. Dre] already had that song,” E.D.I. 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.”
He continued: “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.”
To the E.D.I. Don’s credit, however, Kurupt did admit that he didn’t know if Dre had specific plans for ‘California Love’ beat before giving it to 2Pac.
But what he was sure of is that everyone within the Death Row camp was focused on helping ‘Pac’s first post-prison project standout.
So much so that a record Kurupt and Daz Dillinger had fully recorded with a feature from George Clinton went on to become 2Pac’s “Can’t C Me.”