Listen to any track by middle Tennessee-based rapper, singer and songwriter $avvy, and you can tell right off that it’s not his style to strive for the precision flows or athletic runs of classic emcees or R&B showmen. He’s attuned to vibe, spooling out his verses at an unhurried, casually knowing pace and singing his hooks with a cool, slouch that conveys the quality he chose as his moniker.
Vibe is just as central for $avvy when he’s assembling his POOR Radio playlists for his new DJ duo GAS with his producer friend and roommate Enxgmaa. Both are among the 15 art-obsessed, skateboarding and videogaming members of the creative collective The Dadabase.
“The whole way that we even started doing GAS or deejaying or whatever,” $avvy retells, “I went to New York last summer, my first time in New York, and the gatherings that I went to were just insane. Like, I went to this rooftop party and A$AP Rocky was there and the deejays aren’t these huge names, but people are coming to hear what they’re playing. I met at least seven different DJs, and every set was different and none of them sounded the same. But the reaction of the crowd and the people never changed. They were [enthusiastic about] all the music that was being played, whether it was EDM or whether it was Dancehall or whether it be rap or whatever. Everybody was [open to] all these different styles, and I was inspired by it.
“I was like, ‘I want Nashville to have that same kind of thing.’ Because you go down Broadway and you hear the same kind of songs. You hear Nelly’s ‘Hot in Herre.’ You hear the hip-hop hits from, like, 2000 or whatever. But are there spaces for people to go to find new music?
“Me and [Enigma] will scour the internet for new songs every week that we love and put them on our flash drive, and we’ll play those songs and that’ll be the POOR Radio playlist.”
The 12-song playlist that $avvy created for WNXP reflects his listening habits over the last month.
“I have this app that tracks the music that I listen to or the stuff that I love,” he explains, noting that that’s how a late ’70s hit from Scottish soft rocker Gerry Rafferty made the list. “I know ‘Right Down the Line’ was one of those. That was a song that I had heard when I was a kid, because my parents used to keep the radio on the oldies station, and I didn’t have a phone or a laptop or a TV or nothing. I love that song. So then I hear it in [the show] ‘Euphoria,’ and it’s just a feeling of nostalgia when you hear a song that you haven’t heard for the longest time and it still hits the same. I was 12 listening to that song, and now I’m 20 years later, still loving that song.”
$avvy says that his playlists, this one included, reflect not only his longtime faves, but also recent discoveries. Occasionally, he’ll intersperse tracks from music-makers in his inner circle among jams from more established names: “One thing that me and Enigma wanted to do with our take on deejaying is just be different, sometimes slipping songs in there that you haven’t heard or stuff from our friends that make music. I know that feeling of hearing a song for the first time and being like, ‘What is this?’ That’s a beautiful feeling, and it’s one of my favorite feelings. So I just want to reenact that over and over and over again.”