“California Love” is a song by American rapper 2Pac featuring fellow American rapper-producer Dr. Dre and American singer Roger Troutman. The song was released as 2Pac’s comeback single after his release from prison in 1995 and was his first single as the newest artist of Death Row Records. The original version is featured on the UK version of his fourth album, All Eyez on Me (1996), and is one of 2Pac’s most widely known and most successful singles. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks (as a double A-side single with “How Do U Want It“) and also topped the charts of Italy, New Zealand, and Sweden. The song was posthumously nominated Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1997.
Two versions of the music video were filmed. Shakur’s longtime friend actress Jada Pinkett Smith came up with the concept inspired by the 1985 film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. She was expected to direct the video, but she removed herself from the project and was replaced by Hype Williams. The video was filmed November 10-13, 1995 in El Mirage, California. It takes place in a desert in the year 2095. The casting includes actor Clifton Powell as the evil tribal chief, actor Chris Tucker (then known for his role in the 1995 film Friday), Tony Cox as the dwarf soldier, and Roger Troutman (formerly with the band Zapp) carrying a talk box. It ends with a cliffhanger cut by a “To Be Continued” closing. An alternative version, featuring the remix song re-cut, removes the final caption and features 2Pac and Dr. Dre naming West Coast towns.
The second video is based on the remix version of the song from the album All Eyez on Me and is a continuation of the video’s story. The premise is that the desert scenes of the previous videos were merely a nightmare 2Pac was having. When he wakes up, he finds himself in his bed beside a young woman. He calls Dr. Dre on a cordless phone, who tells him to get over to his summer house because he’s throwing a house party. The rest of the music video takes place as if it were a home video celebrating 2Pac’s welcome to Death Row and features several cameos, notably Roger Troutman who is now playing the piano, and guest appearances from DJ Quik, Big Syke, Deion Sanders, Danny Boy, Nadia Cassini, Jodeci, B-Legit and E-40. The video was shot in Compton, California.
The first video can be found on the DualDisc of All Eyez on Me and the second video can be found on Tupac: Live at the House of Blues DVD. It also won the 1996 MOBO Award for Best Video. The music video was released in December 1995.