In 2009 Travie McCoy broke-up with singer Katy Perry, after they had dated for several years. This moody song, in which McCoy revisits his emo roots, is about the healing process after the emotionally wounding ending of their relationship. He explained to Alternative Press: "'Need You' is about how when you get out of a long relationship, you're kind of like bruised fruit for a while. This is about me trying to explain to someone that as much as I would love to start a relationship, or as much as I would love to take things further with this particular person, I'm still kind of a little f--ked up from my last relationship. Basically, I'm saying there are a lot of issues and other things that I need to clear up with myself before I can give you what you need. The hook is, 'That's why I need time.' I mean, after a long relationship, you need time to heal and reassess what it takes to make a relationship work. I think it's all a learning process. 'Need You' is explaining the space in-between relationships when you're trying to figure things out. This song has gotten such a great response at shows because, for as sad as it sounds, it's an up-tempo song and when it gets to the chorus, it explodes. Everyone is jumping up and down and having a good time."
McCoy explained the song's music video to MTV News: "The concept of the song is basically me explaining to a girl that I'm not in a position to give her what she needs, and that's always tough, especially when you have feelings for someone," he said. "So the video is definitely relationship [based.] But, in this situation, she doesn't take it too well. Let's just say that."
The song's music video was directed by Luga Podesta and shot in Chinatown in Los Angeles. McCoy told MTV News: "I'd equate it to, kind of like Michael Jackson's 'The Way You Make Me Feel
' video. You know, I'm kind of pursuing this chick. But, take out Michael Jackson and add Shrek. In Chinatown."
Shooting music videos isn't all glamour. McCoy told MTV News: "There's a scene we shot with rain. It was about 6 in the morning, it was freezing, and we had to do it about three times, and I was soaking wet in this fake rain. I had this in-ear monitor that was wireless, and it was getting wet and shorting out, so there's a part where I couldn't hear the words, and I probably was pretty close to getting electrocuted, but, overall, it was a fun time, man."