As artists grow and evolve the greatest subconsciously add the best elements of their previous work to their new efforts. ‘City For Sale‘ takes the neighborhood concept of ‘Brooklynati‘ into reality if only as a background concept as opposed to a full foreground concept album. ‘Here Come The Neighborhood’ opens the LP, a title packed with the innate subtle wit Von Pea is known for. “I’ve only been a part of one Minstrel Show/ that’s why we still are slept on” – lyrics referring to Von Pea’s skit appearance on Little Brother’s 2005 LP- rolls into the groove heavy ‘Pity Party’. The raw Soul and Funk loops of the opening tracks mask the melancholy, a catchy hook over a dance-able bassline and break-beat, combine the mood and content of his ‘Duly Noted.‘ EP with the up beat sample Soul chops of ‘Moonlighting‘.
Fully self-produced -and credited to ‘The Von Pea Ubiquity”- “City For Sale” boasts a producer whose ear for samples rivals the best, the lush Jazzy Soul of ‘Doorbell’ not only flows like a rare Q-Tip found loop on the hook but transitions into chops in the verse akin to 9th Wonder or Alchemist. Von Pea’s signature bat crack is only heard once on the album, perhaps to emphasize that every track here is laced by the MC. ‘Well As I Should’ eases in like a Pete Rock instrumental interlude with stuttering needle-drop loops of Funk featuring the underground legend Homeboy Sandman. ‘Let’s Be F’real’ has a dusty groove of gritty guitar riff chops and a crunchy drum break with live instrumentation sneaking into the hook. Coupled with ‘Round The Way Girl’ Von tells the tale of chick whose home situation meshes a little to much into his current situation. The transition of similar subject matter unfolding from one track to the next is a subtle effect rarely used on LP’s that aren’t as thought out as ‘City For Sale‘, an element first spawned on his debut solo LP ‘Peas Gotta Have It’- another positive feat subconsciously carried over.
The Flex bomb-worthy ‘Frenzy’ comes in boasting nods to the late great Tupac and Notorious BIG jam packed with witty lyrics, humor, punchlines and an instrumental made for such lyrical slaughter. If Little Brother is the little brother of A Tribe Called Quest and the whole Native Tongue collective then Von Pea is their even younger cousin, ‘The Norm’ taking a sample from the vault of ATCQ and covering content much needed in an era of mass gentrification is a stand out lead single. Tanya Morgan counterpart Donwill shows up on ‘Wild’ and a dance heavy House-like outro concludes the instrumental to this track. ‘City For Sale‘ ends with ‘No Aware For The First” a lyrical clinic, Pea displays bars that will be dissected over numerous listens, a great victory lap for an LP with no missteps in 11 self-produced tracks.