Casey Veggies Discusses ‘Live & Grow’ Album, New Song With Tyler the Creator and ‘Dope’ Movie Role [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]
At 21, Casey Veggies has accomplished more than most young men his age. Rapping since he was a teen, he hit the ground running when he graduated high school. He co-founded the hip-hop collective Odd Future, went on to open up for Mac Miller on his Blue Slide Park tour and helped establish the indie record label and store Peas & Carrots. That's quite the resume for a guy under 25.
The Inglewood, Calif., native also has a loyal following despite never releasing an official album. His Twitter supporters are close to 229,000 while his Instagram game is on point with over 125,000 followers. Just listen to his catalog of mixtapes, including ‘Leanin' in Class,' the ‘Customized Greatly’ trilogy, ‘Fresh Veggies’ or ‘Life Changes' to understand why he has a solid fan base.
Vested in Culture, a boutique label founded by record label executive Sylvia Rhone, and Epic Records noticed his movement and is supporting the rapper with his major label debut, ‘Live & Grow.’ Casey spoke to The Boombox about working with Tyler the Creator on the album, his collaboration with Iamsu! and YG on ‘Backflip’ and expanding his empire to include fashion and film. Get involved in the conversation below.
The Boombox: What was it like linking up with your fellow Cali natives YG and Iamsu! on 'Backflip'? How did that come about?
Casey Veggies: It was very fun; it was a great experience. I am glad I did that being that we are all from the West. Su comes from the Bay Area, and I noticed what he was doing for the Bay -- putting on for his culture just like I have been trying to do for L.A. and YG has been doing for Compton. I felt like it was just dope to bring us all together to give the world something to turn up to because that’s what YG and Su are known for.
The video looked like fun. Take us inside the studio session or video set. How was it?
It was dope. We shot it all in downtown L.A. I started off shooting early then YG came in and Su was after that. We really did just try to have fun. I wanted to give it an effect to where it’s like a movie and it feels like we are doing something. I wanted to bring back that rap video aspect. I think we definitely captured what we needed to capture and I had a great time out there.
Watch Casey Veggies, IamSu! & YG in 'Backflip'
Before you had the mixtape ‘Life Changes,' now we're about to witness how things have changed on 'Live & Grow.'
Exactly! That’s what this album is; the next step of ‘Life Changes.’ What comes from the different things that happens when ‘Life Changes’? Whether it is good or bad or you have to experience the bad to get to the good.
What's your relationship like with Odd Future now? You guys support each other a lot. Any features from them on the album?
Yeah, man. I love Odd Future; they are my brothers. We always continue to stay in touch and stay connected. But I have a record with Tyler that it is crazy. It’s a crazy song. We haven’t finished it yet, but it’s almost done. It’s slated to be on the new album -- well, I hope and wish it would make it. But we have like three or four songs that we have been working on, but it’s one that I am really in love with, so we are just going to keep building on that.
So the album is not finished yet?
The songs are complete, but you know… it’s like when you are dressing yourself up. There are different things you need to put on. You might wear a jacket and a shirt underneath. So there can be a few changes and a few tweaks. We are just tightening everything up.
Let’s get into the Sundance film ‘Dope.’ The film differs from showing the conventional gang banging of teens growing up in Inglewood and L.A. and focuses on young black men rising in the music industry. Why was it important for you to be a part of it?
Shout out to Rick [Famuyiwa], the writer. He wrote the screenplay for ‘The Wood’ too. He’s a super dope person. Him and my dad were friends growing up, so it’s a small world. But when I got the opportunity to be in the film, I was just super excited because growing up in Inglewood, ‘The Wood’ is one of my favorite movies. The scene I did was super fun. They had me play myself as an artist performing in a scene at a party. That was my first time really being in a real film, like a short film. I had a great time doing it. My song ‘The Boy’ with Hit-Boy was featured in the film.
Listen to Casey Veggies' ‘The Boy’
Any chance we will see more of Casey Veggies on the big screen soon?
Definitely. I think it’s only right for me, especially because I took drama classes in middle school. But I want to tackle the music all the way like I know I can and then I definitely put some time and effort into doing a movie.
What did you think of YG’s short film?
It was awesome. YG killed it. I talked to him about it before it came it. He was telling me how he got it done. He has a crazy imagination. But really it’s not his imagination because he’s just talking about the stuff he sees. When I watched it, there was a lot of stuff that hit home. He talks about the culture of L.A. and what is going on there.
About a year ago LA Weekly released an interview with you talking about signing on with Roc Nation to combine hustles and build your brand. How has it worked out and what are some things you learned from joining forces with Roc Nation?
One of the main things I’ve learned since signing with the Roc is that you have to step up to the plate. You have to treat your career as if you were your on boss. Represent yourself as if you don’t have anybody behind you. Even though it is a blessing to have a team and to have Roc Nation and Epic Records behind me, I have to operate and move as if Casey Veggies didn’t have anyone. I have to boss up and rise to the occasion. That’s one thing my mom always taught me -- to rise to the occasion. I am maturing and learning to approach the business with a dope business mind.
Besides your own project, which artist's album are you looking forward to dropping this year?
I am looking forward to Kendrick Lamar’s album, Ty Dolla $ign, and Travi$ Scott -- that’s my dog. I know also Dom Kennedy is going to drop a new album too. I am looking forward to all my homies because I am excited to see what they do.
You're a major sneaker head. What do you think of Meek's new Puma collection. You happen to have the gold high-top joints on now.
Yeah, [laughs]. I have them on early. I ain’t gonna lie these s---s are hard. People f--- with them heavy, I mean I like them. I don’t really do shiny shoes like that, but they are dope.
Are you seeking to do another Puma collaboration soon?
Yeah. That’s all I been thinking about right now. I ain’t gonna be the only one without my own shoe [laughs]. I’ve been thinking about that a lot, but I was just focused more on the album.
At 21, you have achieved a lot. What do you want your legacy in music to be? What do you want people to know Casey Veggies for?
I want to be remembered as that young kid who stood up to his dreams. I want to be known as that young kid who inspired a whole world full of other young kids to be something. For all the kids who don’t have that sense of urgency or sense of ambition that I was blessed to have, I want to show them it’s possible. I always wanted to represent for the youth in a big way. I like to have fun and have good time, but I want people to be like, "He always made me think," because I am always thinking about my next move. I am just a child of God who inspires the youth.
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