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Photographed by MICHAEL CASKER

Get inside the mind of upcoming artist Cities Aviv.

If you aren’t familiar with Gavin Mays, better known by his moniker “Cities Aviv,” take the next few moments to check out some of his music. (note: above, we’ve provided Mays’ track “REMNYC” for your tapping and listening pleasure.) The current state of Hip Hop — or rather, music in general — allows for resurgence, and for eclectic artists like Cities Aviv to create and  produce music without confinement from record labels. Instead of hitting the mainstream and being pigeonholed, artists can mercurially evolve in conjunction with their own personality. In this brief interview with Mays, it’s evident that his artistic dedication and integrity fits today’s “GarageBand” mindset. In the interview below, you’ll notice how the self-starter refuses to label himself “part of the Rap game” and how he won’t play favorites with his past work, which he finds non contemporary. Rap game or not, Mays plays hard when it comes to his art. He’s continuously moves forward and forces himself to reevaluate and recreate his material. — Ian Gold

SHK: ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS LISTENERS WILL NOTICE IS YOUR UNIQUE SAMPLES.TELL ME ABOUT THE PROCESS OF FINDING THOSE AND THEN KNOWING YOU CAN RHYME OVER THEM?

CITIES AVIV: For the most part, there really isn’t a process. Only when certain sounds have been internalized do I feel they are ready to be reworked. Words can influence this measure or vice versa.

DO YOU EVER FIND A GREAT SAMPLE THAT JUST DOESN’T WORK FOR YOU?

It’s not uncommon, as I don’t believe that everything should serve as a sample. Pretty basic, as your personal discretion should serve as the filter for your works.

TELL ME ABOUT HOW YOU FIRST GOT INTO THE RAP GAME. WHO INFLUENCED YOU TO START RECORDING ON YOUR OWN?

I’d rather not play a part in the rap game. For artists that truthfully pursue any medium I feel that the purest inspiration comes from within yourself and that amalgamation of emotions transcends genres and titles. I could name artists who I’ve shown an affection for in the past and present but in the end I don’t think it matters.

DO YOU WRITE YOUR LYRICS FIRST OR WAIT TO HEAR THE BEAT?
Whatever the soul decides.

TELL ME WHAT IT TOOK TO PUT TOGETHER YOUR ALBUM DIGITAL LOWS? THAT, AND WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TRACK OFF THE ALBUM, AND WHY?
A lot of weed and cracked programs. I don’t really have a favorite from that album, honestly. To think of that is like reminiscing on a favorite moment from a dead relationship.

IF YOU HAD TO BEST DESCRIBE YOUR LYRICAL STYLE WITH THREE WORDS WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
Deep. Soul. Sex.

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WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN IN 2013?
Total control. The dissolution of old ideals and industry strangleholds over creativity.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE CITIES TO PERFORM IN?
Bay Area— I appreciate the energies in the air.

IF YOU COULD DO A TRACK WITH ONE PERSON, ALIVE OR DEAD, WHO WOULD IT BE?

Future.

SEEN/HEARD/KNOWN— WHAT IS SOMETHING OUR READERS SHOULD SEE, HEAR AND KNOW?
SEE:
Nature.
HEAR: RPLDGHSTS (Repelled Ghosts).
KNOW: Yourself.

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 REMNYD ft. Maria Minerva

NOT THAT I’M ANYWHERE [prod. by rpld ghosts]

This feature is from our “Odyssey Issue” that is available now. Get all the goods here, for free.

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