This week, Travie McCoy joined Chris DeMakes of Less Than Jake for an episode of his podcast. During the interview, the duo discusses all of the behind-the-scenes secrets surrounding Gym Class Heroes‘ hit “Cupid’s Chokehold.”
As it turns, one of the song’s most iconic parts came from an unexpected place.
Gym Class Heroes’ “Cupid’s Chokehold” truly defined a distinct era in emo music. As one of their most popular songs to date, the mid-2000s hit has accumulated over 98 million streams on Spotify. This feat further proves that “Cupid’s Chokehold” is still prevalent on listeners’ playlists and in their streaming habits over a decade after its release.
Now, Travie McCoy is opening up about just how “Cupid’s Chokehold” was created. Along with detailing the past relationship that inspired the song, he reveals why Gym Class Heroes ended up releasing two versions of the hit.
Once Gym Class Heroes landed at Atlantic Records, the label decided they wanted to release a new version of the song that sounded “bigger.” After a few production and editing changes, “Cupid’s Chokehold” became the song we are familiar with today. However, it turns out the inspiration for the “girlfriend” notes in the chorus came from a surprising place.
“So that’s actually Pebbles,” McCoy says. “She had a song called ‘Girlfriend.’ So L.A. Reid‘s wife Pebbles was an R&B artist back in the day. She had a song called ‘Girlfriend’ and that’s where the girlfriends [in the chorus] come from on the second version.”
Both McCoy and one of the song’s co-writers Sam Hollander are big fans of ’90s R&B. So, when it came time to create the new radio edit for “Cupid’s Chokehold,” they took direct inspiration from the Pebbles song.
“Sam and I also had a huge love for ’90s R&B,” he says. “He was like, ‘why don’t we add some elements from that [Pebbles’ “Girlfriend”]’ and I was like, ‘Okay cool.’ So that’s where the ‘girlfriend girlfriend’ comes from. I thought [the sample] was going to make shit way more troublesome because [of] like [song] clearance.”
Travie McCoy’s full interview on the Chris DeMakes A Podcast, Pebbles’ “Girlfriend” and Gym Class Heroes’ “Cupid’s Chokehold” are available to stream below.
Is “Cupid’s Chokehold” still one of your favorite Gym Class Heroes songs? Let us know in the comments below.