A.Y.E. 90 Now

A.Y.E. 90 Now
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According to Dragon Fli Empire rapper Teekay, "Ice Cube, good days, yeah the people want more/ So we're bringing back that Golden Era vibe, encore." Both he and his group, Dragon Fli Empire, along with the label they own and operate, Make Believe, are well-known for their 90s-style throwback sound. The quote is from Teekay's show-stealing verse on posse cut "Get Down," off the debut album from newest label mate A Young Extraordinaire, who trumps them all with an album that sounds like it could have come from that era, paying further homage with references to '90s artists and phrases, even dusting off the diggity Das EFX style of delivery in a few spots.

But don't expect any g-funk; the emphasis is strictly on NYC, with songs recalling the early music of artists such as Nas and the Native Tongues collective. Calls to "keep it real" and "represent" sit comfortably alongside songs about love and positivity, social ills and weird words used as anthems for posse cuts. "Represent" and "Shooby Do" capture the sound best, with guests Ayoo Angie and Jazzlib Collective, respectively, fully embracing the concept. Plus, the beat on the latter is perfect for a '90s-era posse cut. Overall, 90 Now is definitely a suitable substitute for those listeners nostalgic for the good old days of rap. (Make Believe)