Casey Veggies Talks Debut Album: "Every Song Is Expressing Something Different"

Casey Veggies has been releasing mixtapes since he was 14.
Casey Veggies has been releasing mixtapes since he was 14.
Courtesy of Epic Records

UPDATE: Casey Veggies is no longer on the bill for Saturday's Dom Kennedy show. 

Casey Veggies is not a new name. The 22-year-old rapper popped up on radars as a member of the Odd Future crew in 2007. According to math, he was 14 when he began releasing mixtapes, and he stayed heavy buzzing through 2013, releasing seven hot tapes.

In 2014, he made inroads on national radio. His single "Backflip," featuring fellow Californians YG and Iamsu!, exposed him to a broader mainstream audience. His followup with Dej Loaf, "Tied Up," saw him take new territory on the U.S. R&B charts.

Now he celebrates his greatest accomplishment to date: the release of his first official album, Live & Grow.

"It feels good to put something out for sale," he says. "It's been a lot of love, and I'm appreciating all the response... I've been working on it for a long time. I just did it for my fans that've been supporting me, and I think they're feeling it, so that's all that matters."

Live & Grow builds on Casey's near-decade of experience, with 13 tracks that capture a range of feelings and styles. It's a perfect debut in the sense that it introduces the listener to the artist's ideals, essence, and overall story. It begins with a school bell, an homage to Casey's early days ditching class in favor of recording sessions. It ends with his appeal to others to chase their dreams and a round of applause, no doubt something Casey is getting used to.

In between is a myriad of smart clips, funky flows, and booty beats. He raps about the importance of following one's dreams, and he bemoans the fake and fickle world of fame. One minute, he's starting the party with a track about strippers; the next, he's waxing poetic about lives lost through police brutality.

"I think I'm a well-balanced person," he says. "That's why I have records like 'Backflip' and 'Actin' Up'; then I got songs like 'Aw Man.' I just got different elements to me as a person, so I just want that to come across in the music. I want people to get everything. I think as a rapper, as an artist, you should be able to give the listener every element, every emotion. That's what I wanted to do on this album, just express myself, and every song is expressing something different."

Casey snagged guest verses from Dom Kennedy, BJ the Chicago Kid, and Tyler, the Creator, plus a shout-out from Cali god Snoop Dogg, though the most memorable and meaningful moments on the album are when Casey's parents get on the mike.

"My dad was around me the most on this album, and I got his opinion on a lot of songs," Casey says. "He's a real visionary kind of guy. He was able to express himself and how he felt, and I think it took the album to a whole 'nother level."

Just like his mixtapes, Live & Grow was recorded in Casey's home studio behind his dad's house. It's a clear driving force for the rapper, who regularly mentions family as an inspiration, and the kind words from his dad and mom that bookend the LP only reinforce those messages. It's clear Casey is a man with a strong personal vision, though he's fast to recognize the efforts others have made to help him see his vision through.

"I got a lot of things from people along the way, and everybody knows who they are," he says. "Shout out to all the homies and all the positive people I met, whether you gave me a ride to the studio or gave me $20; whatever it was, I appreciate everything."

Upcoming Events

Live & Grow is a strong start, even for a man who's been in the game for years, but Casey knows it's not the start that matters — it's the future.

"I just want to make sure everybody gives the album a chance. Take it. Listen to it. Don't believe the hype. Give real music a chance," he says. "It really is dope, and I appreciate the whole journey. It has a real story to it. I just want to keep it going."

Casey Veggies With Dom Kennedy and Jay 305. 7 p.m. Saturday, October 17, at the Hangar 305, 60 NE 11th St., Miami; 305-902-7697; hangar305.com. Tickets cost $25 plus fees via ticketweb.com.

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The Hangar

60 NE 11th St.
Miami, FL 33132

305-702-3257

hangar305.com


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