Chris “The Glove” Taylor has deep roots in the L.A. hip-hop scene.
He was Ice-T ‘s DJ on the electro-rap song “Reckless,” which the two performed together in the '80s cult classic movie Breakin’.
Taylor later became a collaborator with Dr. Dre on quite a few of the good doctor’s classic cuts, sometimes going uncredited.
One such uncredited track was the monster 1996 hit “California Love.” The story goes that it was originally intended to be the first song put out by Dre's Aftermath label, which was then still in the planning stages.
Of course, in the end it appeared on Tupac's album for Death Row, All Eyez on Me.
We talked with Taylor about how it all went down.
You were on hand when Dr. Dre and Tupac recorded “California Love.”
I was at Dr. Dre’s house in Calabasas one afternoon [in 1995] because he was always hosting barbecues at his spot. He had a studio in the back and he called me over to it so he could play a track for me, which turned out to be the beat for “California Love.”
The sample and the drums were already in place but he told me that he was going to have come musicians come over and replay the horns that were in the original sample. The musicians came through and did their part and afterwards I laid down the keyboard parts heard throughout the track. After the track was complete, Dre told me that he was keeping this beat for himself.
As the party went on at the house, Tupac ended up coming through and he kind of snuck up behind me, because he was stealth like that. We said hello and shook hands and then he left to enjoy the party — or so I thought. A short while went by and I went back in to the studio to see what was going on, and I saw Tupac in the booth recording a verse to the beat we had just made.
The entire process was about 20 minutes all-together and it was just amazing.
So Dr. Dre changed his mind quickly about his plans for the song?
The song was his for a period of about three hours, and once Tupac showed up to the party, it became theirs. I wish I had another opportunity to work with 'Pac but that night would be the only time that we were ever a part of project together.
He was just a great example of someone that was ready to work on the spot and because of that he could just show up to a party and record a classic hip-hop song that will be remembered for all time. After the session, Dre replayed the track about 50 times but 'Pac only stayed for a few playbacks and then he bounced and went off to the next thing – that’s how he was known to work.
Did Dre know that he had a classic on his hands when you guys finished?
When Dre makes a hit he knows it and he knew that song was a hit. With the addition of Tupac it became a classic, which is why we could listen to it repeatedly in the studio and not get tired of it. When you can get tired of it then you know that song isn’t going to hold up.