This funk jam track was inspired by a life-changing trip bassist Flea and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer took to Ethiopia. Flea recalled to UK newspaper The Sun: "I got lost in a city called Harar. It was a really amazing experience that really changed everything. Damon Albarn [Blur, Gorillaz] had started African Express, basically a bunch of musicians go to a different country in Africa to jam with Africans, listen to African music and trip around. It was f---ing amazing. So we decided we'd go to Ethiopia. One day we got the bus and I got off the bus, walked down the little street, turned around and the bus was gone! I was lost. I walked around this little town for about an hour. No one speaks English and it's kind of crazy. I started getting scared. People were coming up to me and speaking to me but I didn't understand. Then one guy came up to me and he started speaking in broken English. He found my friends and helped me. So when I came home, I told the story to Anthony [Kiedis, vocals] and he wrote the song. It's very special to me."
Kiedis spoke about the song in an interview with an Italian magazine: "It reflects the new spirituality of the band. Instead of drugs and alcohol, meditation, and injections of ozone, not heroin. Love for children and family. Respect and hope."
Since the release of the Chili Peppers' Stadium Arcadium in 2006, Kiedis has had new responsibilities in the form of a son, Everly. He told UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph that fatherhood has changed him. "That energy of, 'I'd die for you in a second if that would help,' creeps into the song Ethiopia," he said. He added that the track is actually "about three or four things, creating a quadruple helix of ideas forming one lyrical notion."