Tuesday, February 22, 2011

TBG Beats: "I Need a Doctor" -- Dr. Dre featuring Eminem and Skylar Grey

M'man Sean the Accountant writes:

"What do you think of the new Dr. Dre single? Has any musician in any genre achieved greater longevity by riding the coattails of so many more talented associates? Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Tupac, Eminem, Jay-Z, Xzibit. Dre's barely on his own song!"

Yeah, I'm not feelin' it, either.

Skylar Grey's melancholy hook is very good, but too much of this track is covered with Eminem's egocentric fingerprints. Em gets the first two verses -- his familiar lyrical lamentation as the victimized white rapper -- before turning the mic over to his mentor, Dr. Dre.

Dre's enormous shortcomings as an MC are a matter of public record, but in the hands of a good ghostwriter, he carries enough charisma to make
someone else's words work. Eminem is the obvious ventriloquist for Dre's verse here, however the Doctor seems overtly uncomfortable as he lifts Em's staccato flow.

And, is Dre still calling out his doubters and threatening them with the "wrath of Aftermath"? He left Death Row Records in 1996! Tupac was still alive!

I think you won that war, Dre.


Other Joe said...

My favorite part is when he accuses other rappers he has worked with of being backstabbing friends that just left... it's not like they left because their albums never came out. Here's the list off the top of my head and I'm sure there's more:

- The Helter/Skelter Album with Cube (around the "Natural Born Killas" days)
- Chairman of the Boards (Dre/Aftermath with Timbo/Beat Club)
- Rakim
- Joell Ortiz (now on Shady after jumping multiple labels)
- Hittman (his actually leaked to the net and it's not half bad)
- Bishop Lamont
- Stat Quo
- Last Emperor
- King Tee

Did I miss any?

And now apparently he won't have 50on Detox because he's mad that 50 is coming out with his own set of headphones?

that mexican guy said...

Other Joe makes my exact same point.

Dre can't be serious. He cut his own deal with Interscope while he was still on Death Row Records. Yes, Death Row was a sinking ship, but that was still pretty messed up to leave everyone else to sink with it.

Joe's list of artists Dre screwed is pretty comprehensive, but I'd add Eve (who still had some star power when she signed with Aftermath) who languished for a year or so before she left. Dre also lured Dawn Robinson from En Vogue and did nothing with her before she left for Lucy Pearl.

And we all know The Game is legitimately batshit insane, but the way Dre abandoned him was pretty skeevy, too.

Other Joe said...

@mex - I can't really fault him for leaving. He stated many times that he wanted to start/own his own production company, and gave up his masters to Death Row from the old albums to do it. Suge's even said that in interviews before.

I'm kind of surprised how badly Dre flowed on Em's obviously ghost-written verse, since he managed to do it without stumbling over words on "Forgot About Dre"

Most ironic part? Dre using gay slurs towards others, when he was the one that used to get called those names from Eazy & Death Row post-Dre.

NY Jon said...

I'm with Sean on the "coattails" argument as it relates to Dre/Snoop or Dre/Eminem. But...Tupac was the one who boosted a pair of Dre tracks ("California Love" and "Can't C Me") that were intended for Dre's Chronic 2 album.

And Jay-Z famously ghostwrote "Still DRE" but it's lyrically lacking and full of dumbed down west coast cliches. The stars of that song are the beat and Snoop's "sticky icky icky" line. As for Xzibit...he was in the right place at the right time. Tracks like "Bitch Please" and "X" did a LOT more for him than they did for Dre.

thai said...

"melancholy hook"? nice touch. :-D

Other Joe said...

@NY Jon - the "boosted" tracks were part of Dre having to leave the masters of pretty much whatever he had done at that point with Suge to get off Death Row.

I remember reading in an interview that when Jay first ghostwrote that song, it had no lyrics that referenced California, and Dre asked him to rewrite it with those cliches.

Seeing how much Dre procrastinates, I'm reminded of hiphopsite.com's joke article of the week... I think one week the headline was "Dr. Dre vows to finish Detox, just as soon as he finishes this game of Tetris."

Aaron C. said...

@ O. Joe -- Is that the right timeline, though? Dre was still on the label when Pac joined it in October 1995 and, of course, appeared on "California Love" with him. You're right about the masters, but that didn't become a negotiating point until the spring of 96 -- after All Eyez on me was already in stores.

@ Jon -- I can't disagree with you more. Dre's reputation was on life support by early 1999. His involvement with Xzibit, just as X was breaking through, created a lot of the buzz that filtered over to Dre's "2001" album. This point deserves a longer post, me thinks.

nicka Dre said...

This new song sucks and sounds like everything on Recovery. Clearly this was made recetly..where's the 400 tracks he's supposedly made in the last 12 years? Where's Hoe Hopper? The Original Next Episode, etc? Death row masters still held hostage!

If I can add to the comments... "Bitch Please" simultaneously resurrected the careers of Xzibit, Snoop and Dre which were all on life support at that point.

For additional careers ruined, you can go ahead and throw Busta rhymes in there for good measure, although his one album on aftermath wasn't horrible, trying to turn him into a drug kingpin murderer after playing hip hops clown for 12 years did some irreparable damage.

Similar he also "signed" Raekwon and then dropped him after doing two tracks that ended up on OBFCL2.

Other Joe said...

@Cam - I may have been thinking of the album that came out the same day as "Tha Aftermath" on Death Row. I can't remember what it was called, but I believe it had lots of Dre production.

@Nicka - I actually liked the Busta songs on Aftermath. It was nice for someone to slow Busta down sometimes.

Snoop's album, No Limit Top Dogg, did wonders for resurrecting his career after the mess that was The Game is To Be Sold. I'd prefer to forget most of his No Limit career as well as the last couple of albums he's put out. Speaking of Snoop, have you seen the new T-Mobile commercial staring Snoop Dogggg (that's 4Gs)? I think you need to do another AiAA column on that.

I think most people agree that just as much as Dre started Em's career, Em saved Dre's. Before Eminem, nobody was checking for Dr. Dre anymore after two failed releases (Tha Aftermath, and The Firm).

Dre is one of many artist that you know will have millions of unreleased songs come out after their passing. I predict he'll have more albums come out than 2Pac.