Take a trip down memory lane with Dr. Dre in the stunning clip for “I Need a Doctor.”
The video, directed by Allen Hughes (“Menace II Society,” “Book of Eli”), is an 7:30 minute mini-movie that opens with flashbacks of Dre’s life starting on Feb. 18, 2001 (his 36th birthday). Dre is reflecting back—through excellent archival footage—on his career with N.W.A., the early days of Eminem’s nascent professional life and times with Tupac, as well as his personal life. He seems trouble, so it’s not clear if the dreadful accident that follows when he drives his Porsche over a cliff is truly an accident.
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Flash forward and Eminem enters a room where a spectral image sings the ethereal “I Need a Doctor” refrain hovers over a comatose Dre, who remains in a vegetative state (granted an extremely cool looking one) following the accident from years before.
Eminem does the heavy lifting in the video as he raps his heart out, spilling out his life story (as spelled out in the song’s verses) in an effort to bring Dre back to life. There’s also a phalanx of doctors attending to Dre, shifting his lifeless body from a hovering form out of a number sci-fi flicks to water tanks.
He’s revived just in time for his part of the song and begins a long rehabilitative stint that serves as a way to show off just how incredibly buff he is. No atrophying for Dr. Dre.
The video ends, touchingly, with Dr. Dre at the real graveside of Eric Wright, aka Eazy-E, his partner in N.W.A., who dies in 1995 from AIDS. It’s a reminder that, sadly, we can’t bring everything back to life as easily as it happens in the video.
Following its performance on Feb. 13’s Grammy Awards, “I Need a Doctor” has shot back up the Billboard Hot 100, leaping 32-4 this week. It is the second single from Dre’s third and final solo album, “Detox.”
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