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Cities Aviv

Cities Aviv

CITY: Memphis

As a teenager, Gavin Mays, a/k/a Memphis rapper Cities Aviv, played in a hardcore punk band, but he was always experimenting with rap and hip-hop on the side. Some of that work eventually surfaced in the form of Digital Lows, a 12-track album released about a year ago by Memphis label Fat Sandwich. The LP has the 22-year-old rapping over hazy, electro, experimental re-thinkings of tracks like Gil Scott-Heron’s “Winter in America” (on the song “Black Box”) and Depeche Mode’s “People Are People” (on “Die Young”). Mays’s strongest track to date is still his more laid-back single “Coastin,” which might also explain why we haven’t heard much new material from him: the song vaguely covers the concept of taking it slow in the rap game. Over a Shirley Bassey sample full of horns and strings, Mays raps, “Since ’89, I could never stay in the box/Since I hit 21 these niggas is done/And when I reach 22, I’m still going to shine/And by the time I’m 25, the world is mine.” We wouldn’t be surprised.

_Liz Pelly

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Record Label You Should Know: Infinity Cat Records

Mention “Nashville” to any indie music geek, and they’re likely to immediately bring up the home to JEFF the Brotherhood, Natural Child, Pujol, and more.


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