Kelly dedicated this song to his mother Sadie who died in 1993 as well as friends and loved ones that had passed away. However, the singer explained to XXL magazine that this song was originally intended for Tupac Shakur as part of a collaborative effort before the rapper was murdered in September 1996. Said Kelly: "'I Wish' was basically about Tupac at first. I met Tupac in L.A.- the [Hotel Nikko], and he was rolling by in his drop-top whatever hot car. I seen him, and I yelled out, 'Pac! Pac!' He was driving by, rolling by himself. I'm like, 'This nigga got a lot of balls to be rolling by his self!' So we kicked it for a minute, I said 'Dude, we need to do an album.' See, [2002 collaborative album with Jay-Z], The Best Of Both Worlds was for me and Pac at first. 'I Wish' was gonna be the first song we were gonna do."