Big Lean couldn't have asked for a better welcome wagon in California than Nipsey Hussle, who shows up to turn up in the Toronto rapper's new video "California Water." The two rappers bask in the glow of the state's famous women and weather on a ride through that mixes grit with the glamour, much like the song itself. Boi-1da and Pro Logic flip a polished horn sample — a few seconds that could soundtrack an especially classy duel — into a punchy beat. It's the ideal foundation for Lean and Hussle to craft a tune for late afternoon, baked summertime cruising. Even when the instrumental veers into operatic trap, Lean doesn't lose course.
Big Lean told us via email how the song came during a spurt of creative energy fueled by a west coast visit:
I had just come back from L.A. after a month of being out there and was eager to get back into the studio to record. That night I recorded three songs and one of friends asked me 'What's going on with you tonight? You're going ham!" At that moment I replied "I guess it's something in the water, it's that California Water," then I went into the booth and recorded the track in one take.
The song is basically everything I was feeling when I first got back to Toronto from that L.A. trip. The energy out there is very different from the energy in the 6. ln my opinion there's nobody more California than Nipsey, and my brothers Pro Logic and Boi-1da are on the beat so it was like a perfect merge of L.A. and Toronto. It's an important song to me.
Big Lean's new album Enough Is Enough is out now.