Single Review: Dr. Dre f. Eminem & Skylar Grey – I Need A Doctor

January 31, 2011

You know, we always forget to realize that musicians and entertainers in general are people too.  I completely forgot that Dr. Dre’s son died until it was mentioned in this song, and now I feel a little bit worse about bitching about Detox when Dre was going through some obvious personal problems.  So here, we have Eminem pleading to Dre to let Em help him because Dr. Dre “literally saved his life*” many years ago and Em feels like he owes him.  And a part of me likes this song, because few rappers are as candid as Eminem and there’s something riveting about music when you know the artist is being completely open and honest about their life.

This candidness (or lack thereof) is precisely the reason I didn’t like Recovery.  I felt that while Relapse had its flaws, it was an intensely personal experience that Recovery traded in for recurring apologies and empty stadium-rap anthems.  Em always thrived in being open about his life and featured these same emotions on the new album, except those emotions weren’t his.  Instead of continuing his diary, Em filled out the skeleton of a “comeback rap album” perfected by the marketing geniuses at Interscope.  And geniuses they were, because Recovery was arguably the most successful album of his career.

SO, it’s nice to hear a song where Eminem and Dr. Dre are talking about their own lives.  Everything seems right on the surface.  Then you realize that Dre’s verse was obviously written by Eminem.  And then you listen to the chorus and realize that it’s pandering and melodramatic.  And then you listen to the compressed drums and guitar wailing and realize that Alex da Kid** did everything he could to make a Boi-1da beat.  How can the song sound so corny when the subject matter is so genuine?  When you listen to this song you hear two things: two of the biggest personalities of an entire culture talking about their personal and professional relationship and an obvious attempt at a crossover radio hit.  You can’t hear one without hearing the other.

I really do want Detox to be good.  I thought 2001 was awesome.  But I think that Dr. Dre feels such pressure to release a classic that he’s making an album that he knows will get him at least guaranteed commercial recognition.  Even if the album fails critically, it will be a huge hit commercially and thus will not be considered a failure, even though almost every single fan who waited 11+ years for this album will be undoubtedly disappointed.  Better a Recovery than a Chinese Democracy I suppose.  And we lose another legend to mediocrity.  So it goes…


DL:  Dr. Dre f. Eminem & Skylar Grey – I Need A Doctor (320 kbps)

*  From “Like Toy Soldiers” not this song…but still!

**  Because Dr. Dre is really known for his rapping ability



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