Fresh off the release of his long awaited debut album, Live & Grow, Casey Veggies recently talked with Music Times, opening up about the process of putting the LP together and learning about the music industry. He also discussed his upcoming tour with fellow Los Angeles rapper, Dom Kennedy.
Full of maturation and reflection on personal experiences, Veggies released his album on Friday (Sept. 25) via Epic Records. A project he certainly sounds proud of, Veggies called the album the finest release of his discography since dropping his first mixtape, Customized Greatly Vol. 1, back in 2007 at the ripe age of 14.
"This project was a slightly different approach," he said. "I think as a whole, the production value of it is - it’s definitely on another level. I love all of my mixtapes, but I just think this is one of the best bodies of work when it comes to the lyrical quality of it and also the production value, the mixing and everything."
Throughout the year and a half process of putting the album together, Veggies revealed that he gained a world of knowledge about himself, staying true to his craft and how to maneuver through the music world. Accustomed to doing things his way, Live & Grow marks the 22-year-old rapper's first release under a major label.
"I learned a lot while working on this and even starting before like with my previous projects. I just used everything that I learned along the way so that’s why I feel like it just shows the growth. It definitely tells that story that I was trying to get across and I still did it, no matter all the politics - you can't use this song or you have to have this many songs on the album - I still told the story I wanted to tell."
From the cover art, a spin on Time-Life Books' "March of Progress" photo, to the title choice, it's obvious that Veggies is eager to show the world how he has advanced as an artist. The cohesive theme of the project is evolution and the trials and tribulations of growing from a boy to a man.
On many of the album's tracks, the founding member of Odd Future finds himself weighing in on people and life events that have helped or hindered him in his career. Live & Grow's opening track includes vocals from Veggies' father who chronicles his son's determination to make it in the rap game and on "Sincerely Casey" he reflects on his hardworking mother and her devotion to her family. Elsewhere Veggies addresses his doubters and solidifies himself as a force to be reckoned with among his hip-hop counterparts. Veggies revealed that "A Little Time," a song which appears midway through the project, is his favorite of the 13 tracks.
"Every record is dope for different reasons but 'A Little Time' depicts where my head is at in the perfect way. That’s what I love about music, being able to express yourself. On that record that was one of the ones where I just took it there and expressed a lot of things about how I felt."
It's safe to say that Veggies' album has a direct correlation to the old adage that art imitates life. While incorporating buzzworthy tracks like "Backflip" featuring Iamsu! and YG and "Tied Up" with Dej Loaf, he made sure to tap in on situations that have effected him as an artist, such as the pressures of the industry and handling expectations brought on by others.
Live & Grow includes guest spots from BJ The Chicago Kid and OF rapper Tyler, The Creator. Dom Kennedy makes an appearance as well. Ty Dolla $ign is also featured on Veggies' next single "Wonderful," which can expect to get video treatment soon.
Aside from promoting his album, Veggies is slated to hit the road with Dom Kennedy on a nationwide tour kicking off Oct. 17 in Miami. Veggies is precisely anxious to stop in his hometown of L.A., New York and San Francisco. He and Kennedy will be joined by Jay 305 for a majority of the dates. Prior to the tour opener, Veggies will perform as a part of Snoop Dogg's second-annual How The West Was Won concert in Mountain View, California. ScHoolboy Q, Nef The Pharaoh, E-40, Ty Dolla $ign, Too $hort and The Luniz will also hit the stage. The show is slated to take place at the Shoreline Amphitheatre on Friday, Oct. 9. Once that tour wraps, he will embark on a trek of his own while continuing to push his clothing line, Peas & Carats.
Although this is just the beginning for Casey Veggies, he said that he's already learned two important lessons as an artist: do what you do and stay original.
Stream Live & Grow below and check out Casey Veggies' complete tour itinerary with Dom Kennedy here.