New Cities Aviv – “Gallery Girlz” (Prod. Star Slinger)

Memphis (along with Houston and the Bay Area) are often mythologized as “street” hip hop meccas. Everyone knows about New York, Atlanta and LA, but if you’re down with Gangsta Boo and Playa Fly then you can run conversations among your hip hop head friends. The Memphis song is distinctly Southern, but far removed from Atlanta strip club culture and far more indebted to the city’s long history of racial tension and violence. It’s dark, often featuring John Carpenter horror score samples, and heavily based on a localized street realism. Gavin Mays aka Cities Aviv is a Memphis native, but is a square peg in the round hole of the Memphis prototype. For one, he’s just a lot more positive. That sounds cliche, but Memphis hip hop is fucking depressing. He shares a some sonic qualities with 90’s Memphis hip hop, but also samples the likes of Depeche Mode Steely Dan. That’s why it’s no surprise that his latest track features production from our favorite Mancunian Star Slinger. The production is a bit of sunny, cut-and-paste fare, belying Mays’ past as a member of a hardcore band. Mays sounds like he’s rapping from the next room over, yelling almost, with some slight reverb. Fast and chaste women is the topic of choice of course and the track sounds distinctly un-Memphis until the last 20 seconds or so when it devolves into trunk rattling choppiness. Stream below.

 

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