I’m from Ayrshire. I can’t pretend to understand the gangsta leanings of Cribs ‘n Bloods ‘n West Coast v’s East Coast. Not that that stopped every two-bit Burberry ned who ever stole from the music shop I once worked in. The 2 Pac posters were just about the most shoplifted items there. Them and the M People CDs, bizarrely enough. “Goat oaney Floyd, man?” someone would ponder in your general direction. And as you did your best to be civil towards them, his pal would be lining the sleeves of his puffa jacket with select pre-ordered images from the poster stand. Ask Marvin from The Scheme and he’ll confirm it. The hash leaf poster of 2 Pac with his pecs ‘n guns ‘n bling bling chains must’ve been on half the walls of Kilmarnock. The ‘Take Me To Your Dealer‘ one with the day-glo alien was no doubt on the other half. But anyway.
2 Pac. Made one terrific record. California Love. It was his comeback single after being released from jail in 1995, after poppin’ a cap in yo’ ass (or something). Packed full of vocodered vocals, sampled ‘n looped trumpets, 80s analogue synths and thumping bass, it is, in short, Dr Dre’s G Funk personified. As is nearly always the way with such tracks, it arrived fully formed and was jigsawed together by the rather clever Dre from an assortment of obscure and under-appreciated funk and soul gems. By no means an exhaustive list, if you listen to the tracks below, you might get a better idea of how the good Dr mixed the given ingredients into the California Love cake.
Ronnie Hudson‘s West Coast Poplock is old school funk. Vintage 1982 to be exact. So not that old school, really, but it‘s the sort of old school funk that once could make Prince strive to make decent records. I bloody love it. It’s the basis of the lyrical content of 2 Pac’s track and is itself fairly redolent of Booker T and the MGs Boot-Leg.
Joe Cocker‘s Woman To Woman features the rolling, staccato piano riff and horn riff that plays throughout the 2 Pac record. It has, I should point out, also been sampled by Moby and Ultramagnetic MCs amongst others. You’d think there’d be enough sampleable tracks out there without everyone using the same bits, eh?
Zapp and Roger Troutman‘s (also sometimes known as Zapp and Roger, or the Zapp Band or just plain old Zapp) Dance Floor provides the authentic electro backing and Chic-esque rinky-dink guitar riff. And the vocodered vocals. And the groove. Once again, it‘s exactly the sort of record that Prince was carefully taking notes from whilst building his 80s back catalogue.
See? That Dr Dre’s no’ that guid really. A couple of heart-attack inducing bass bins, a decent record collection and a good ear for glueing the right bits together in the right places. Ker-ching. It’s dead easy when you think about it. Now. Where did I put that Fat Larry’s Band 12″?