VH1 Hip Hop Honors 2009: Def Jam

 |  October 14, 2009
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When their debut album, Papercut Chronicles, dropped way back in 2003, Gym Class Heroes were the most promising rock/hip-hop crossover act to hit the scene. Half a decade and a whole load of shit songs later, that potential has quickly disappeared and long-time fans just don’t know how much longer to hold on to GCH’s golden age.

The first album was made when the quartet was young, hungry, different and contemplative (even if it was the drugs forcing the thinking). Travis McCoy, the lyricist and songwriter, was a witty wordsmith and delved into interesting high-school related topics that hadn’t really been tackled in the laid-back-yet-edgy style GCH made so popular. The second album, As Cruel as School Children, proved to cause a huge falling out with their fans – mostly because of the tacky lyrics and sappy choice of song themes.

GCH’s latest, The Quilt, has been anticipated for a long time, as fans and haters alike wanted to see if Gym Class would complete the rare artist turnaround or become, for lack of a less cliché word, sellouts. Sadly, Gym Class threw away most of what their fans adored most – passion – and they ended up falling to sellout status.

The new album features guest appearances from unlikely collaborators Busta Rhymes, The-Dream and Cool & Dre, which exemplifies GCH’s transition to hip-hop as of late. Even with some Cool & Dre production, the album’s production seems to all sound the same, thus causing songs that aren’t even related, to fall into a bucket of forgettable lyrics by Travis.

Trust me on this – it’s hard to hate GCH, because they have this certain appeal that you just want to root for them, but their new album truly makes it hard. Whether its their transition into the radio realm with tracks like “Peace Up/Index Down” and “Cookie Jar,” or Travie’s growing lack of creativity, they just don’t seem to be doing this thing for the right reasons anymore. A perfect example is an interview done with the other three band members (besides Trav) during the cliché club shoot for their video for “Cookie Jar,” when one is asked what they think of the video concept – and he says “It’s…(5 second pause)…fun!”

Whether it’s the money or the lack of drugs in their system, the GCH we once knew have fallen off in a big way. But, if you’re looking for some mindless happy jams, check out “Cookie Jar,” “Home” and “Drnk Txt Rmeo” from The Quilt.