After three years, the alternative hip-hop rock band Gym Class Heroes is back with their fourth album The Papercut Chronicles II. In the time since their last album The Quilt, the members of Gym Class Heroes have focused on other projects.
Frontman Travis “Travie” McCoy released his debut solo album Lazarus (2010) which was more hip-hop focused than the previous Gym Class recordings. Drummer Matt Ginley, worked on his side project Kill the Frontman and guitarist Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo worked
The name The Papercut Chronicles II is certainly appropriate for the album. This album can certainly be seen as a continuation of the band’s first album The Papercut Chronicles. They both have the balance of hip-hop and rock elements and even share the same opening track. Both albums begin with a track entitled “Za Intro” in which a robotic type voice introduces the listener to the album and rambles on
about seemingly unrelated topics.
While the band’s latest work may be a sequel, it is entirely original in terms of what Gym Class Heroes has previously released. The band seems to have put all their previous work experience into this album. Songs like “Life Goes On” (featuring Oh Land) and “The Fighter”
(featuring Ryan Tedder) would fit well on the band’s third album, The Quilt, which focused more on the hip-hop side of Gym Class Heroes and even
displayed reggae beats.
These two songs sound similar to “Live Forever (Fly With Me)” (featuring Daryl Hall) and “Coming Clean” from that same album.
However, the songs like “Martyrial Girl$” and “Lazarus, Ze Gitan” have more of a rock sound. The electric guitar is apparent in these two songs and similarities to the band’s second album As Cruel as School Children. Gym Class Heroes’ second album isn’t as intense as The Papercut Chronicles II, almost sounds like the band used this previous album as inspiration and took their latest release to the next level.
While some songs on this album lean more toward rock or hip-hop sound than others, Travis raps over all the tracks, perfectly marrying the two genres. For many bands, this fusion would be close to impossible, or at least difficult to balance.
The Papercut Chronicles II has taken elements from each of Gym Class Heroes’ albums and amplified them to show just how far they’ve come.
It’s like they have put all their favorite memories from each of the previous albums in a scrapbook for all to see. Gym Class has stayed true to their original concept of bringing together the rock and hip-hop worlds while allowing themselves to evolve and try new things. If the band were to end tomorrow, this would be the perfect goodbye.