Dr. Dre’s Back, and It’s Business As Usual

Our long national Dre-deprived nightmare is over! “Kush,” the first single off Dr. Dre’s forthcoming album Detox, was released today. It features guest appearances by Snoop Dogg and Akon, and was directed by Joseph Kahn (of Eminem’s “Without Me” and Britney Spears’ “Toxic” fame). This video acts as a tantalizing teaser for the record, which will be released in February; fans have waited nearly a decade for a follow-up to 2001.

For a song that’s sort of a paean to ganja, there’s a bewildering lack of shots related to the actual drug, or people smoking—only Snoop Dogg takes a few hits. Rather, we get scenes of clubs, abundant liquor (including a less-than-subtle product placement for Ciroc), women and wheels. Where Dre deviates from the formulaic rap video is in the use of freeze frame: everyone in these lavish settings seem to be put on pause except for the three rappers, which makes for some pretty cool visual effects. We especially like the splashy scenes in a helicopter (perhaps a subtle allusion to being “high”) and on motorcycles. As they meander around exposed thighs and crystallized droplets of spilled liquor, Dre, Snoop and Akon are the only people with powers of mobility. A statement about individuality and agency in the opulent world of A-list celebrity, maybe? Lest we take our interpretations too far, Dre finally flips his Zippo at a fire sprinkler, which somehow reactivates motion for titillating scenes of gyrating hips, and a motorcycle chase.