Lyrically, the song is largely about Dr. Dre and Eminem's close friendship, and how they have often needed and inspired each other in the past. Due to the song being leaked onto the Internet several months in advance to its release, it was a significant commercial success on its official release, particularly in the United States, where it peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Dr. Dre's second highest peaking song on the chart ever, and also peaking in the upper regions of many national charts. As of July 2011, it has sold over 2,051,000 digital copies in the United States alone, making it Dr. Dre's first song to reach the landmark. An unmastered version of the song was originally leaked on the internet in September 2010, by Studio Leaks's Koolo. A version of the song not featuring Skylar Grey was released in 2004. A newer version was made featuring Skylar Grey in 2010.
Dr. Dre "I Need A Doctor" Song Ft Eminem, Skylar GreyThe official version premiered through Dre's official website. It was produced by English producer Alex da Kid, who is known for co-writing Eminem's hit single "Love the Way You Lie". Kid told MTV News about the experience of working with Dre. "That was amazing. He's one of my favorite producers of all time. Everybody knows how much of a perfectionist he is: He's been working on his album for 11 years. For him to bring me in, trust me, not micro-manage me, and let me bring what I do to the table, I can't even describe how that makes me feel." In an interview with WiLD 94.9, Skylar Grey revealed that the genesis of the song's recording was when Eminem invited her and Alex da Kid to Detroit to work on Detox with him and Dr. Dre. She said that they came to the studio with the hook and "the track" prepared and they loved it and Eminem went in the backroom and two hours later came out and said that he was done writing his verses. Skylar Grey also said that she was in tears when she heard Eminem's verses for the first time and that Alex da Kid initially proposed featuring Lady Gaga on the hook, but Eminem supported the idea of having Skylar's voice and said that they were not taking her voice off the track. The song contains the rapper Eminem rapping two verses about his mentor, thanking Dre for believing in him in his early days and returning the favor, before Dre delivers the song's final verse.
The video was shot with Allen Hughes, the director behind Menace II Society and The Book of Eli. The video premiered on February 24, 2011. The video begins with an introduction of his music career, such as when he and fellow N.W.A. member DJ Yella were in the 80's funk group World Class Wreckin' Cru. There are also scenes of Dr. Dre and his family, such as him hugging his daughter and son and getting married.There are also snippets from past music videos. It includes many rappers such as 2Pac, Eazy-E, The D.O.C, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Xzibit and all the rest of the members from N.W.A.
The video then features Dr. Dre driving down Pacific Coast Highway in a Ferrari 360, with flashbacks of his life, crashing his car and the last thing heard was his daughter say "Good night Daddy." Then he is transported to a medical facility. The date at the beginning of the video is February 18, 2001 (his 36th birthday). They fast-forward to present day ten years later, where he has been hospitalized and is on life support. The Marin County Civic Center stands in for the medical facility. Eminem raps next to him as he is floating in an isolation tank, during which the figure of The Pythia (played by Canadian actress Estella Warren) is singing as a hologram behind and over Dre, mouthing the words to Skylar Grey's vocal part in the song. Skylar Grey herself appears as one of the doctors in the video, but never actually appears singing her part. Dre eventually wakes up and goes through rehab, and the video ends with him standing next to the grave of Eazy-E, a rapper who had launched Dre's music career by founding N.W.A and was also a member along with Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella. Through the video, a clock ticking is heard midway through the video. The music video received complaints of being an "act of advertising" for a variety of products from a Ferrari, a G-Shock, HP, Gatorade, and Dr. Dre's signature headphones, Beats by Dr. Dre.
Dr. Dre, Eminem and Skylar Grey performed the song at the 2011 Grammy Awards as part of a medley with "Love the Way You Lie (Part II)" performed by Rihanna, Adam Levine and Eminem.Nick Levine of Digital Spy gave the song a very positive review - rating the song five stars out of five; "Why is 'I Need A Doctor' such a brilliant single? Well, first of all there's the production from British knob-twiddling whizz Alex da Kid, which has a similar gravitas and bone-rattling bombast to his work on 'Love the Way You Lie' and 'Airplanes'. Then there's the haunting chorus, delivered by Diddy's 'Coming Home' bud Skylar Grey, which inhabits you from first listen.
However, what elevates 'I Need A Doctor' from "very good" to "a little bit special" are the performances of Dre and Em. That single manly tear dribbling down your cheek? Entirely, entirely justified."The track first appeared on the UK Singles Chart, at number 21 on February 6, 2011—being Dr. Dre's sixth highest-charting single in the UK and his ninth Top 40 single. It has since peaked at #8 as of March 27, 2011. It debuted at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 with sales of 226,000, becoming his first top-ten single as lead artist on the chart in 16 years, since "Keep Their Heads Ringin" reached #10 in 1995. It is also his second highest peak on the chart ever as lead artist, behind only "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang" which peaked at #2 in 1993. It has since peaked at #4 after selling 283,000 in its third week on the charts, the resurgence in sales seemingly due to its performance at the 2011 Grammy Awards.