The old adage is, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Well, in music this adage is changed to, “If you don’t have anything interesting to say, don’t say it at all.” Somebody should have relayed this message to Gym Class Heroes frontman Travie McCoy before he released his solo album, Lazarus, a couple of weeks ago.
The reason this album is such a let down is because of the talent that McCoy clearly has. He has a naturally gifted voice and an ear for good backing tracks. The problem here is that McCoy failed miserably with the writing of this album. Even bringing hip-hop veteran Cee Lo Green in for a track couldn’t save it.
Lazarus was either meant to be played strictly on the radio to get McCoy his first ever #1 single as a solo artist, or to display Travie’s ability to write music. I hope it was the former. Lyrics from the single “Billionaire”, “I wanna be a billionaire so f@#!ing bad, buy all of the things I never had,” show his immaturity as a songwriter. The beat behind this song is great, it is reminiscent of Sublime or comparative to the new hit band The Dirty Heads, it’s just that the lyrics are very juvenile and not thoroughly thought through. Who wants to hear a millionaire bitch and moan about not being a billionaire? Think Nickelback releasing a song about wanting to be a rock star. There is no thought put into the song and no connection can be made with the audience. Sure, we as a casual music fans want to be a billionaire, but we aren’t crying about not being on the cover of Forbes like Mr. McCoy the multimillionaire.
The rest of the album doesn’t get much better. The song “Akidagain” appears to be his attempt at being sentimental of his childhood. Throughout the song McCoy attempts to act a little bit “ghetto” but then tells the story of trading Garbage Pale Kids cards and playing wiffle ball while listening to Wu Tang Clan. It’s hard to get behind this song and see it as an emotional story. In all honesty it’s a vapid attempt at recreating R. Kelly’s hit single “I Wish.”
McCoy still possesses the talent to become a legitimate name in music despite the pathetic try at songwriting, mindless efforts to fool fans into getting behind him and his all too emotional memories of an extremely typical childhood. He needs to quit writing the songs he thinks people want to hear and write what he’s really feeling. Add these thoughts and expressions to the beats he is so keen and adept to making, and hopefully his next album will cause a little bit more of a stir. His audience knows what he’s capable of after hearing his work with Gym Class Heroes, now he just needs to accept his talent and stop trying to be someone he’s not.
By Mitch Inkrott