Plenty has already been said (both locally and nationally) about Dr. Dre’s new video for “I Need A Doctor,” but as I watched the clip for the first time yesterday, I couldn’t resist writing down some of my own thoughts. Here they are, in stream-of-conscious fashion, with time stamps affixed to each. Say what you will about this new (in both body and musical style) D-R-E, one thing is for certain: this song really, truly, royally…sucks.
0:25 Split-screen closeup of the good Doctor. And the first hint that something is amiss with his physical being. He looks like Thing from the Fantastic Four.
0:42 Damn, I really miss SoCal gangsta rap from the early 90’s. I wonder if this new track will be anything like the good ole’ days? (Foreshadowing…)
1:05 One thing I will never be comfortable with is the thought of either Dr. Dre or Ice Cube as family men. I mean, I know it happens and it’s probably all for the better, but how am I supposed to ever reconcile the disparity between this and this?
1:30 I stumbled upon this internet oddity the other day. It’s since been disproved (I think), but remains a funny notion. If Dre were indeed the mastermind behind the commodification of Burning Man, it would prove that the universe does in fact bend toward justice. (At least in a subversively funny sort of way.)
2:10 Dr. Dre: Em?…What’d I do? Eminem: You killed the car. (John Hughes heads stand up.)
2:37 Ah yes, the “Eminem Face.” A mix between anguish, rage and genuine curiosity. Remember all of the critical acclaim Em received for his poignant portrayal of his quasi-self in 8 Mile? Turns out that Face didn’t have as much mileage in Hollywood as we originally thought. It does get him seven quality minutes in this music video, however.
2:50 Remember the thought I had at the 0:42 mark? Yeah, kind of like Dre in this video, that wish is dead on arrival.
3:30 It’s widely known that Dre was the main person responsible for getting the most out of Slim Shady in the studio. He was the dude who taught Em how to enunciate properly and use good breathing techniques. In 1999, Em sounded like this. And today he raps like he does on “I Need A Doctor” and “Love The Way You Lie.” I think he was a more effective (and genuinely disturbing) presence in the early days as an on-the-low rap nihilist. You may disagree and it’s a matter of personal preference, I suppose. I just know I don’t like to be yelled at when I’m listening to my pop music.
3:55 Em: “I don’t think you realize what you mean to me/Not the slightest clue…” Aw, this is the sweetest rap bromance since Jay-Z and Memphis Bleek. Judd Apatow should make a movie about it.
4:30 Oh, good! Dre has been taken to the same hospital Han Solo brought Luke to after his unfortunate incident on the ice planet Hoth. Things are looking up as they have Dre suspended in the familiar “recovery tank,” filled with what we can only hope is a mixture of Old English Malt Liquor and Ciroc Vodka, the only solution that will guarantee the fully-recovered Doctor remains relevant to both his rapidly aging fan base and the attention-deficit addled kids of the new millennium.
5:18 Dre (after finally waking from his multi-year slumber): Uhh, Em, about all that stuff you was sayin’… Eminem: Oh. Sh*t. You heard all that? Uhh, yeah. I was just playin’, dawg! Psyche!
5:50 At this point in the video, I’ve already decided I don’t like this song for so many reasons, not least of which is the crappy nu metal-pop chorus sung by
the chick from Evanescence Skylar Grey. This is so not keeping it real. No, really, it’s not real! That’s model Estella Warren floating around in the hospital, not singer Skylar Grey. It’s true that video killed the radio star, but that only applies to Christopher Cross. Skylar Grey is a very attractive woman!
6:07 And now it’s finally time for Dre to rap. Too bad I’m so distracted by the egregious product placement in this clip. Ferrari, Hewlett Packard, Adidas, Beats By Dre, Gatorade…and on and on…
6:20 Alright, Dre is rapping and…good Lord! Dude is absolutely jacked! It would be awesome and not so hilarious if he weren’t dressed like Hanz and Franz.
6:38 Dre is still rapping and, for added emphasis, he throws in a homophobic slur. Right after he’s done showing us his bulging biceps and erect nipples poking through his workout shirt. WTF, we weren’t supposed to look?! Sorry homie, you can’t have it both ways.
7:24 After a hot workout (and a forgettable verse), Dre goes to pay his respects to the late Eric “Eazy-E” Wright. It’s a nice sentiment and bittersweet way to end the video, but regrettably summarizes every unfortunate thing about the clip. While it’s a relief to hear the mythical Detox is maybe, possibly, hopefully, dropping soon, it’s also a reminder that perhaps too much time has elapsed between now and the last time Dre was steering pop music’s ship. There’s a gaping interval between the video’s formative year flashbacks and Dre pumping iron on planet Hoth. If the remainder of Detox fails to capture at least a modicum of that reckless Compton spirit — in the fashion of someone exactly like Eazy — a section of the Doctor’s more discerning fans will be left wishing the album had remained a mere fantasy and not an unfortunate closing chapter at the twilight of a storied career.