Gym Class Heroes’ Travie McCoy on Surprise TikTok Resurgence: ‘It’s F—ing Awesome’
It’s been 10 years since Gym Class Heroes released a new album, and the group has been completely inactive since wrapping up a 2018 summer tour with the Offspring and 311 — so frontman Travie McCoy was more than a little surprised to learn recently that their song “Cupid’s Chokehold” has become a TikTok mega-hit, with a substantial number of fans who weren’t even born when it came out back in 2005.
“Cupid’s Chokehold,” which features Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump singing a hook interpolated from the 1979 Supertramp classic “Breakfast in America” (“Take a look at my girlfriend/She’s the only one I got…”), appears in over 350,000 TikTok videos. In March alone, the song was streamed more than 12 million times, an increase of 800% over February, propelling Gym Class Heroes to a career-high 388 on the Rolling Stone Artists 500 chart.
we got a secret handshake
♬ Cupid’s Chokehold / Breakfast in America – Gym Class Heroes
“About a week and a half ago, I knew nothing about TikTok,” McCoy admits. “But I had to check it out and see what people think of the song. The lyrics encourage people to shout-out their partners. It’s an overall positive message, so it’s great to see people spreading the love…It’s fucking awesome, man.”
Most of the TikTok videos focus on the lyrics “I mean, she even cooks me pancakes/And Alka Seltzer when my tummy aches/If that ain’t love, then I don’t know what love is,” and center around lovestruck teenage couples. But the song has also been used in clips about people dying their hair new colors, showing off new dance moves, or even cooking crepes or grilled cheese and soup.
It’s possible that many of these TikTok users are missing the broader point of the song, which is really about McCoy’s short attention span in relationships and his wandering eye (as evidenced by the video featuring his then-girlfriend, Katy Perry), but the musician says he’s unbothered by that.
“There have been so many fans that have reached out or approached me and told me how much this song means to them,” he says, “and there’s been so many people who tell me that it’s ‘their song.’ I’ve actually had a few people come onstage during that song and propose to their significant other. So there’s not really much I can complain about.”
The renewed attention has caused McCoy to finally start a TikTok channel of his own. “I’m brand new to all of these apps, but I’ve been taking time to understand them more as of late,” he says. “It’s a great platform to get shit poppin’, but on the flip, I feel like the human attention span has shortened substantially over the years, so people want sound bites, instead of songs. That’s a hard concept for me to wrap my head around, but I’ll figure it out at some point and utilize it. I promise!”
His favorite “Cupid’s Chokehold” TikTok reunites the child actor who played Cupid in the original music video with his female counterpart. “They were babies when this video was shot, and since they’ve both gone on to do big things,” says McCoy. “Jacob [Perez] was in a group called Mindless Behavior after the video and was better off known as Princeton. And Avion, the female Cupid, has grown into a beautiful and talented artist since as well. So to see them 13 years later connect and do a duet TikTok was super heart-warming! Shouts to my little angel babies!”
Might this unexpected boost from TikTok lead to a Gym Class Heroes reunion? “Gym Class Heroes is taking a nap and having fever dreams,” McCoy says. “But I know in my heart the Heroes will reconvene on some Avengers shit and snatch the Infinity Gauntlet back from the industrial Thanos and continue what we set out to do.”