In Hip-Hop, many rappers have careers that span over a decade, but few before the artist reaches the age of 30. At only 26, Casey Veggies has maintained a consistent career, releasing mixtapes, EPs, guest verses and albums all at his own pace delivering a personal and honest message.
The Los Angeles-bred rapper started out as a founding member of Odd Future before branching off to explore his own style and sound. Casey Veggies, born, Casey Jones, can attribute some of his success to the late Mac Miller. While still in high school, Casey Veggies toured with Mac Miller and the pair became close through music. Their relationship produced multiple collaborations and a lifelong bond. Casey Veggies dedicates Organic to Mac Miller, along with the late Nipsey Hussle.
On Organic, Casey Veggies takes the approach of expressing his point-of-view on his life changes, fame, and society. Back in June 2019, Casey Veggie’s released Organic as his first new project since departing from Epic Records. Now in November, Casey Veggies, adds five new tracks to the original ten, completing Organic Deluxe Edition.
While sticking to his familiar formula, Casey Veggies manages to plant and harvest his musical crops at a personal gestation period not applicable to the growth rate of other artists. Instead of keeping up with trends, and free of stress caused by a record label, Casey Veggies cultivates a new sound on Organic Deluxe, familiar in flavor to fans yet fresh enough to invite new listeners to taste.
We caught up with Casey Veggies and discussed Organic, the new deluxe edition, being an independent artist, hip-hop legacies and the next steps in his career. Read the interview below:
You dropped Organic Deluxe recently (November 22, 2019). Does the project seem more complete now to you?
The project was 10 songs so I know it was like, pretty short. A lot of my fans wanted a longer album so I just wanted to give them what they wanted. I got so much new music that I’ve been working on that I just wanted to give people new music. It was kind of following in the footsteps of how I did Sleeping In Class and followed up with Sleeping In Class Deluxe back when I was in high school. I wanted to try that formula again, and give people new music before I drop my new album.
“I wanted to make sure it showed people the growth to where I’m at now, just camp back and sit in Casey Veggies town, that was the process of creating that album.”
A constant theme on Organic is vulnerability and being open about the different stages in your personal life and your career. In a recent interview, you call it “an answer to everyone who doubted you.” before the project dropped. Now that it’s here, do you think the message was received?
I was happy with the response from the album. I think a lot of people took notice to it but I also think it definitely went over some people’s heads. Some people probably never gave it a chance but, a lot of people did. A lot of people took notice of what I was trying to say, and what I’m doing and the greatness of me as an artist. Not comparing me to anyone else, just recognizing my strengths as an artist and what I do.
An interesting thing about your career is, you’ve been doing this for a long time. You and your fans, myself included, almost got to grow up and mature together listening to your music because you did start out at an early age. We’ve gotten to experience your art as teens while you were also a teen and we are still listening to your music now as young adults navigating through a very different world. Do you think your evolution and transformation from adolescence to adulthood, from Odd Future and Customized Greatly to now, Organic can be accurately measured through the music?
Most definitely, I think you definitely can hear growth, and I think that’s something I’m always trying to show the listeners. I’ve only [recently] gave people one project but I have so much more to show the evolution to where my head is at now. Finishing Organic, I wanted to make sure it showed people the growth to where I’m at now, just camp back and sit in Casey Veggies town, that was the process of creating that album.
And you’ve got to see the industry evolve in real-time from behind the scenes as an artist and as a consumer. What’s the biggest difference in preparing and releasing a project in say 2009 to now in 2019?
Back then, I feel like, it was less pressure. I wasn’t worried about what a label had to say. I was kind of doing my own thing. Sometimes you create your best music in that box. Then, I got signed. I got out of my deal and Organic was me getting back to myself, creating music under no pressure, under my own circumstances. That’s always the best music and the best time in the studio. It feels good to do it independently. You create your own vibe, your own energy and get back all the way in the game.
So would you say the bigger difference is not in the years but being independent, then signed, then back independent? Do those two tie hand-in-hand or do they stand separately as their own individual experiences?
It’s a big difference depending on who you’re working with at the label and who’s on your team. I think it holds a lot of weight doing it independently. Showing that you can get out there and get yourself heard on your own, create your own market plan, hire your own team. I think every great artist needs a chance to get their music heard on a worldwide platform and I think some labels are great at doing that, so you have to give them their props too.
On Organic Deluxe, you added five tracks including “I Be Over Shit Pt. 2”, a second installment of “I Be Over Shit” from Sleeping In Class (Deluxe Edition) released back in 2011. Can we expect more “part two versions of old songs? Will any of your other new tracks directly follow up some of your past work?
Yeah. It’s strange you actually brought that up but I ended up working with Hit-Boy again. A lot of people don’t know this but Hit-Boy produced the first I Be Over Shit. We worked on that at his crib, in his bedroom in Pomona. That song was always special to me and bro. We always talk about how we worked on it in the beginning stages of both of our careers and we ended up working with each other again on I Be Over Shit Pt 2. It was a special moment to be able to work with bro 8-years later on part two. The first “I Be Over Shit” was released on the Sleeping In Class Deluxe Edition so I wanted to keep that camaraderie going for Organic Deluxe and incorporate Hit-Boy on the track.
It [I Be Over Shit Part 2] really just came natural. I wasn’t really planning on doing many part-twos. I always did part-twos in my music like on my projects you’ll hear a few different part twos and I always enjoy doing that. Whenever I hear a beat and it captures that same energy, I like to do that. It always depends, so we might hear some more part twos. I just like to continue the story. I feel like I Be Over Shit Part Two, when I was making the song, it reminded me of the first one so I brought it back. I wanted to keep the energy going.
Another new track introduced on the Deluxe version of is “Neva Switched” featuring Larry June, a fellow California rapper. YG, E-40, Dom Kennedy and others are also featured on the project. Atlanta is often championed as the region that really holds each other down but the same can be said about the West Coast as far support. How important is the community to you guys and how deep does it go beyond the music?
It really just happens naturally. I’m affiliated with a lot of these dudes. Even with Larry June, a lot of these features I didn’t have to ask twice, they just came naturally. It was just me working on music and it coming together. That’s pretty much the whole concept behind Organic. Everything that happened with this album, it was nothing forced. With Larry June, his brand does a lot of organic stuff and he’s always saying organic and has the orange juice and everything. It made perfect sense for the whole concept of the album. A lot of the fans wanted to see us working together and I was happy to put that together on this project. This is the first time me and bro did a song together. Organic Deluxe definitely has a lot of special moments on there. It’s dope there are a lot of California artists working together. It was not really planned to be like that but it played out like that.
Words from Jay-Z (No Favors) Nipsey Hussle (End Of Dreams) and Mac Miller (Take It Slow) are featured on Organic. I think I can say all three rappers have had different impacts on you and your career. Would you say it is your responsibility as an artist to preserve it throughout your music? Do you think that is an important duty of all artists?
It’s definitely a duty to keep their legacy alive. When I was finishing the album, I feel like it was only right to have their [Nipsey Hussle, Mac Miller] voices on the album. If they were still here, they probably would have been on the album. The things they were saying matched up with the message of the project and what I was trying to say so, I just felt like it was necessary to have them talking on the album. It is going to continue to be necessary to always keep Mac Miller and Nipsey Hussle’s legacies alive no matter what and I think no matter what they’re going to live on. They’re already legends, but me as a friend, I’m always going represent for them.
On Mirage you call yourself a “spokesman for the unknown” can we get more into that. Who do you consider the unknown? Is this speaking on artistry and music or society or both?
(Casey begins to recite lyrics)
Basically, I’m saying that I’m the spokesman for the people who have something to say but don’t really have the voice to get it out. You know what I’m saying? People who really have something worth listening to, to say, but people don’t give them the chance because they’re kind of like the underdog. I feel like I was referring to myself as the underdog. I’m standing up for all the underdogs that might not have the confidence to speak up. I’m saying I’m the spokesman for all of y’all.
Organic Deluxe closes with Banners, which reflects on your past and more. Is this you hanging up a metaphorical banner, closing this chapter and marking its significance to prepare for things to come?
That’s definitely what it was saying, that’s why I felt like it was a great song for the end of the deluxe edition. I thought it matched up perfectly. I think that song speaks volumes. I didn’t even write that song down when I recorded it. I just pretty much freestyled it. The beat just brought out the different emotions and I ran with it. I think it definitely tells that story and ends the album perfectly.
In (the same interview I mentioned earlier), you spoke on working on four albums at once to continue the storyline. What can fans expect to hear? Are you working with any new artists or producers? How do you plan on dropping these as far as time-span?
I’m trynna go on a run, we going back to back for sure. Me and Rockie Fresh have an album coming out. I’m also working on a project with MIKE & KEYS, they’re some of the dopest producers out of LA. They did a lot of work on Nipsey Hussle’s Victory Lap and Get Home Safely for Dom [Kennedy], and Life Changes for me. We’re going to work on a whole project together at the top of the year. Me and Rockie Fresh’s album, and me and MIKE & KEYS album are definitely coming soon. Then, I have my solo album right after that.
What can fans expect beyond the new music?
We’re doing Rolling Loud in December and then, I’m going to have some shows coming up right after that. I want to do my own show in LA, we’re going to do it in 2020.
What other goals or plans do you have for 2020 both careerwise and life-wise?
I’m definitely about to buy up some property and get into real estate. I’m going to just keep pushing the brand. My Peas And Carrots brand, I took a break from it, the fashion side, but I want to really take it a step up on the branding side. And just focusing on and putting out quality music for the people.
Be sure to check out Organic Deluxe Edition below: