This song features Dr Dre's one-time protégé Eminem whilst Skylar Grey sings the hook. Grey, who was formerly known as Holly Brook, sang on the Fort Minor song "Where'd You Go" and co-wrote Eminem's song "Love the Way You Lie."
The song finds Eminem delivering grateful lyrics about his mentor believing in him in his early days and now returning the favor, before Dre delivers the song's final verse. Dre and Eminem have shared a friendship and musical bond throughout Eminem's career. Not only has Dre produced much of Slim Shady's work, but the two label-mates have also collaborated on a series of hit songs, including "Forgot About Dre" from Dre's album 2001, and "Crack a Bottle from Eminem's Relapse.
Directed by acclaimed film director Allen Hughes (Menace II Society, Book of Eli), the seven and a half minute video includes private home video footage from Dr. Dre in a retrospective of his life and career. The promo shows Dr. Dre crashing his Ferrari Modena and being transported to a medical facility. The February 18th 2001 date at the beginning of the video is the same day as when NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt was killed in a crash during the Daytona 500 race. Eminem raps next to the unconscious Dre in the hospital spitting his two verses in which he expresses his loyalty to his mentor. Skylar Grey can be spotted 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 at the grave of his late N.W.A partner Eric "Eazy-E" Wright. Dre and Easy had a big feud when N.W.A. broke up, which was reconciled shortly before Easy died of AIDS in 1995. "This is a very unique song, very personal and groundbreaking so when I first heard the track I knew it was something I had to do because I like to do things that are different and innovative," said Allen Hughes. "Besides knowing Dre for 20 years, I felt compelled to do this as a fan and as a connoisseur of popular culture I wanted to be a part of this event because it's from the last album that a large amount of people will listen to from beginning to end."
The song was co-produced British producer Alex Da Kid, who is best known for co-writing both Eminem's hit single "Love The Way You Lie" and Rihanna's sequel, "Love The Way You Lie (Part II)." "That was amazing," ADK told MTV News about the experience of working with Dre. "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."
The song debuted at #5 on the Hot 100 before plunging to #32 in its second week. Following a performance of the tune at the 2011 Grammy Awards, "Doctor" rebounded to #4 in its third week on the chart. In doing so it became the first single ever to drop from the Hot 100's Top 5 to outside the Top 30 and return to the Top 5 in consecutive weeks.
When Skylar Grey came up with this song's hook, it was suggested by Alex Da Kid that they get Lady Gaga to sing it. Eminem shot it down at once, saying that if they didn't use Skylar's voice, they weren't doing it at all.