Von Pea Pea's Gotta Have It

Von Pea Pea's Gotta Have It
From a crew clearly enamoured with the idea of the concept record, Tanya Morgan's Von Pea manages yet another in Pea's Gotta Have It, this time dedicating his energies to his high school years. Conceived as the disc the Brooklyn, NY-based MC would make were he 17 now, the record touches on a number of universal themes, from that heartbreaking diss from a high-school crush ("There U Were") to bad grades ("Open School") and general amateur debauchery ("Ahead of the Class"). Some of the record's most creative rhymes come via a mid-class snooze ("Dreams"), with the clever rapper constructing an entire scene in which each character is numbered rather than named. Meanwhile, "New Pair" finds Pea and fellow lyricist Josie Stingray delivering a sneaker head anthem over an obvious, yet well chosen, Fresh Prince sample. While the album isn't entirely faithful to any one period, with old school references and soul beats running alongside mentions of MySpace and Craigslist, the basic premise is never completely lost, making for an interesting listen throughout. (Interdependent)