You’re forgiven if you thought Gym Class Heroes used programmed drums for their songs. Unlike many bands loosely categorized as hip-hop, the band wisely chose to use live musicians to man the instruments. From the sound of it, there may be some triggering, sound replacement, or drastic EQ being used to give a more machine-like quality to some of the drum sounds. Matt McGinley has a deep sense of groove and plays some very tasty beats behind the band’s hook-ridden songs that give them the human quality they need.
“Drnk Txt Rmeo”
Rap meets reggae on this song, where McGinley uses a sparse yet funky groove throughout the verses. He adds occasional open hi-hats and even a nice sextuplet at one point to grab our attention. The chorus pattern is set up with another sextuplet fill on the snare that was probably played with a six-stroke roll sticking of RllrrL – though it sounds a bit mushy, so his snares may have been fairly loose. For the chorus, he appears to play a two-handed RLR sticking to create the hi-hat and snare pattern. His bass drum plays on counts 2 and 4 and also the & of 4 for the cymbal crashes. He occasionally substitutes a triplet on the hi-hat that probably uses a RRLR sticking. This selection ends with a very hip fill that takes us into the next verse.
“Guilty As Charged”
This catchy hip-hop song has a tasty funk groove that’s always in the pocket. The intro features a syncopated ride-cymbal pattern that’s punctuated with upbeat cymbal crashes. For the verse, McGinley’s bass drum stays in perfect sync with the bass guitar, creating a deep groove. At 2:37 there’s a nice four-bar drum feature that shows his taste and sense of what’s hip, without needing to overplay.