Full of images from Dre’s early days with N.W.A., it metaphorically imagines the life, death and rebirth of the elder statesman of West Coast hip-hop. “I Need a Doctor” begins with Dre standing atop a cliff, staring out at an ocean Inception-style, before cutting to fleeting, impressionistic snapshots of his earlier videos, spanning from N.W.A. to his Death Row days up to the Aftermath era with his protégé Eminem. After Dre endures a horrific car crash and finds himself on life support, Eminem raps about how he’d never have made it without the Good Doctor’s help and guidance. At one point, Dre even seems to appear in a bacta tank, the recuperative fluid-chamber Luke Skywalker takes a dive in in The Empire Strikes Back. (See Lady Gaga’s not the only artist who includes Star Wars references in her videos!)
Visually, “I Need a Doctor” is something of Dre’s “Paparazzi,” full of rage against those who sell out the ones they supposedly love. As with most rap mythology, he’s clearly overstating his case—working hard producing and signing new talent doesn’t mean you’re down and out. And the video clearly devolves into shameless flaunting of his hard body near the end. But this definitely makes us hungry for an N.W.A. movie. Especially with that final close-up shot of Eric Wright’s (a.k.a “Eazy-E”), his Ruthless colleague and N.W.A. partner whose falling out with Dre involved allegations of kidnapping and even the intervention of the Jewish Defense League, before they reconciled shortly before his death from AIDS in 1995.
Also, this marks the video debut of Skylar Grey, the mystery gal who memorably had her coming out party performing the Grand Guignol chorus of “I Need a Doctor” at the Grammys Feb. 13—and who spoke to EW earlier this week. For those itching to get a glimpse of her face then, her ethereal, angelic form here shouldn’t disappoint.