Inglewood-born Casey Veggies, 21, is one of the brightest and most prolific young stars of Los Angeles’s hip hop scene. The entrepreneurial emcee released his first mixed tape at age 14, and, among other achievements, co-founded the sensational Odd Future and co-owns his record label and clothing line, Peas & Carrots. He just released a new single, “Backflip” featuring Iamsu! and YG, and is planning on releasing a new album, Live & Grow, sometime this year. I spoke with Veggies about growing up, the Internet, and the new age of hip hop.
How’s 2015 going so far? I feeling good man, I’m just super excited for the new journey. I’ve been through a lot of growing process, trials, and tribulations. People changing, life changing, getting used to the different changes that life brings you from the lifestyle you enter. Sometimes when you jump into something, you don’t realize all the things that come with it. I was blessed enough to get what I dreamed of and get those opportunities. It’s a gift and a curse, and you have to deal with all the things that come with it.
Any strategies on dealing with change? I think it’s all about strength. Staying afloat. Staying self-confident. Just focusing on the future.
You’ve had quite a busy year already, and a busy one coming ahead–new album, new movie. Is it tiring being your own brand? It is tiring, but it is part of the grind you know? A lot of people don’t think about a lot of the things an artist really gotta do for himself. People think it’s glitz and glamour, but you gotta do your dirty work.
How is Peas & Carrots going?
Peas & Carrots company is gonna continue, but we’re changing it up a little bit, switching up how we are presenting a little bit. Just tightening up a couple aspects of it, know what I mean? Just want to do it different, expand it a little bit, do different things, and open my store back in L.A. and it’s gonna be dope.
Do people from your youth ever come visit you at the store? Yeah, and that is always dope, people coming to check out the stores, people telling me how proud of me they are, seeing me grow up in middle school and high school, just like a regular kid, you know? Now we’re taking it to a point where we’re making our journey a reality, we got our own store, we’re putting out albums, putting it on MTV… It makes it all worth it, all the hard work you put in early pays off in the long run.
You released your first mixed tape when you were 14. Do you ever think back on the person you were then? Yeah, I was a young kid. In business I was just so innocent, I didn’t know what I was getting into. I just rapped cause I loved to do it. It was a hobby. That innocence I had back then, before I really saw a lot of different things that opened my eyes. It was a different time, I was doing something without even thinking. You grow up and begin to think about things too much. Back then, I had a young, wild, and free mindset.
You and Odd Future were pioneering in the way you used social media. How’s the Internet been for you as an artist? Oh yeah definitely. I think we created an entire brand off the Internet, an entire lifestyle. I originated off the streets, people spreading music through the city, word of mouth, but the Internet definitely played a big role in spreading it to a whole cult of people. The Odd Future phenomenon played a big role in just taking things to another level. Odd Future was one of the first sensations I rocked off Internet. It shows people this is a new age in hip hop.
We’re definitely in a new age now — there’s a movie coming out this year about NWA. I feel like everything’s coming full circle. The creative project is like another golden era in hip hop, and there’s new creativity in film…It’s time for everybody to step it up and push the bar so we can get everything back to how it was creatively.
Anything you’re listening to now? Any music outside of hip hop that is inspiring to you? I listen to a lot of my peers, but I’m inspired by different genres. I’m inspired by every aspect — I can get inspired by one sound. Tyler the Creator dropped a new album, and I feel he’s pushing the bar creatively.
You’re on Roc Nation. What do you think of Jay-Z’s new music service Tidal? I think Tidal’s dope, but I don’t have much of an opinion yet, I gotta really check it out. They just asked me to create my own playlist actually. That should be dope. To my knowledge they have “Backflip” on there.
Can you do a backflip? No. No.
Last question, Casey Veggies: What’s your spirit vegetable? Spirit vegetable. I’m gonna go with broccoli. Seems like broccolis are just shaped like a person. They seem like strong and sturdy.