Cities Aviv: 3D Themes

“This record was basically me saying, ‘Wake the fuck up!’

By Matt Heidkamp - Photos and video by Tamriko Bardadze

Cities Aviv: Come To Life from Citizen Brooklyn on Vimeo.

There’s a changing of the guard happening in hip-hop.

What was once a culture rooted in materialism is changing to a more open, conscious plane of existence thanks to the freedom of the Internet and a growing need to challenge the status quo. While some aren’t ready for the change, others are uniquely positioned to embrace and conquer. Among the latter is Gavin Mays, better known as Memphis transplant Cities Aviv.

Photo © Tamriko Bardadze

Photo © Tamriko Bardadze

“I feel like I can ramble for years,” laughs Mays beneath gold-rimmed glasses. He’ll be the first one to tell you he’s scatterbrained. Sipping chardonnay against a graffiti stained backdrop, he connects the dots on social issues and draws conclusions from far out revelations. He’s a part of the new guard of hip-hop; a sect that’s culturally aware and looking to ignite positive change with heady lyrical firepower.

“Let’s overthrow what’s really oppressing us: the old heads with money that have been in power forever, running the country. That’s what we need to be battling.
The government is shut down right now and fools are still rapping about ‘My money, my money!’ Fuck the money, straight up. None of that is real,” he belts out. “On some real shit, none of that is real.”

Photo © Tamriko Bardadze

Photo © Tamriko Bardadze

His tone is emphatic yet upbeat. He acknowledges the fallacies in the times we live and seems genuinely interested in being a part of the solution, or at the very least as positive force to bring some joy to peoples lives.

In the post-golden, pre-internet age of hip-hop, these ideas would have been brushed under the rug, left to rot while the masses consumed regurgitated rhymes of cash, money, hoes. “Three-dimensional themes” as Aviv calls it.

“What I’m doing now is what I’m always gonna do. I just wanna tell people that we’re all powerful beings of energy and light. We’re all important vessels, you know?”

Photo © Tamriko Bardadze

Photo © Tamriko Bardadze

In January, Mays is releasing a new Cities Aviv record called ‘Come To Life’, in which he plans on merging the nostalgic vibes of his first release, ‘Digital Lows’, with the darkness of his follow-up, ‘Black Pleasure.’
“When I was writing this record, my whole intent was to take the vocal intensity of ‘Digital Lows’ and mix it more with the production aspect of ‘Black Pleasure’ and I definitely feel like Come to Life is both of those. But it’s a lot heavier. It’s definitely a lot heavier, not as dark but it’s very to the point. It’s the dark and the light. You cant have one without the other and I feel like Black Pleasure was definitely a time in my life… it was like deep love but it was also like discontent with myself [and] with where I was in life. And then take coming to a place where it was like, ‘let me merge all these into one.’ It all has to make sense some how: ‘Come To Life.’”

Photo © Tamriko Bardadze

Photo © Tamriko Bardadze

He continues, “This record was basically me saying, ‘Wake the fuck up!’ It’s like looking into the eyes of your best friend before you dip into the portal. You’re about to just phase out of this reality and you’re grabbing your best friend and the tears are coming down your face and you’re just like, ‘Yo come to life.’ And you grab them with you and just dip out. That’s it.“

2 Responses to “Cities Aviv: 3D Themes”

  1. Michelle Gaines says:

    Gavin is amazing!!!

  2. Jacquelyn Mays says: