Travis McCoy is one of the busiest rappers in the business. Last week, the Gym Class Heroes frontman dropped by MTV's studios to show off his new documentary, "Travis McCoy's Unbeaten Track," and premier an accompanying charity single. During an interview with Billboard.com, he revealed that he's working on his debut solo record and a fourth Gym Class Heroes set.
The charity single, "One at a Time," shows a more serious side of the rapper, as it reflects McCoy's experiences traveling to South Africa, India and the Philippines with MTV's Staying Alive Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes HIV/AIDS prevention. But McCoy did not want this to be just another forgettable charity track.
"There was a lot of pressure," he said. "One, to make a song that people will want to download. Two, since it is a charity track, I wanted to keep the cheese factor to a bare minimum and make sure it's sincere and from the heart. Three, it needed to capture all the emotions I felt during the trip, and four, I needed to speak for all the inspirational people I met only my journey. So it was a lot of pressure."
On his forthcoming solo record, entitled "The Lazarus Project," expect to not only hear more of McCoy's singing voice, but also collaborations with friends like Cee-Lo (on "Dr. Feel Good") and Chester French.
"I tried to keep the guest appearances at a bare minimum because this is my first effort away from Gym Class Heroes, so I didn't want it to be super appearance-driven," says McCoy. "It's me showing another side of Travis. There's a lot more singing and a lot more melody, but I think the guests that are on the record are there for a reason and are meant to be on the record."
While the some of the songs on the solo set are produced by T-Pain, the auto-tune is turned off. "That's Pain's thing," says McCoy. Other producers include the up-and-coming Timbaland protégé Hannon, Detail and the Smeezingtons - who also produced "One at a Time."
"I feel like a lot of people in the hip hop world don't take me seriously as a rapper," said McCoy. "And I feel that first-and-foremost I came up as a rapper before I started singing. All a lot of people know from me is "Cupid's Chokehold," and they don't scratch the surface and see beyond that dude who sings the song about his girlfriend. With this record, I feel like people are going to take me more seriously as a rapper and hopefully, as a singer as well."
Still, McCoy has not forgotten about his close childhood friends and band, Gym Class Heroes. According to the frontman, the band's fourth album has seen the group going back to producing itself.
"The first record we put out on Fueled by Ramon, 'The Papercut Chronicles,' we had no idea what the term producer meant," McCoy said. "It was just us writing songs, and we are trying to go back to that - singing in a room and vibing off each other."
Coincidently, in more ways than one as McCoy playfully hints at the title of the new record.
"The new record is called 'P.P.C. 2,'" he chuckled. "I'm not saying that it's 'The Papercut Chronicles 2.' It can be an acronym for many things."
Aside from the solo project and the new Gym Class Heroes record, McCoy is also releasing a mixtape with Clinton Sparks called "The Death Comedy Jam: Vol. 1."
Expect McCoy's solo effort, "The Lazarus Project" sometime in spring 2010 and new Gym Class Heroes later next year. Meanwhile, the documentary, "Travis McCoy's Unbeaten Track," will air on MTV networks around the world on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1. McCoy's charity single "One at a Time" will be available as a digital download on iTunes starting the same day.