For Memphis rapper/producer Cities Aviv (born Gavin Mays), the internet–its busyness, its endless possibility, its boundless power to reproduce and imitate–is a metaphor for music. Just like the internet, Cities Aviv’s music performs Umberto Eco’s postmodern condition, reflecting Eco’s supposition that new creations are merely amalgamations of old things. Aviv, as a producer and a rapper, borrows from both hip-hop traditions and post-punk sensibilities.
This spirit of cross-pollination is most evident in Aviv’s third release, Come To Life.
It’s adventurous, unapologetic, abrasive, distorted and boisterous. It resists easy classification, so why try to name it? It doesn’t belong in the messy, reductive subgroups of “hipster rap” or “backpack rap”, or even “internet rap”.
It’thinks back and it looks forward.
The final track, “DON’T EVER LOOK BACK”, begins as something of a meditation but dissolves into the same cringing, obscure distortion that began the album.