If you've been sleeping on Casey Veggies, you're getting more than just a tongue-lashing and detention slip; You need to be exiled from planet hip-hop. The recent high school graduate and West Coast lyricist recently hit New York City for the first time, and was warmly welcolmed by faithfull followers. With "already" fans rocking to his debut, it was necessary for VIBE to tap the blossoming star for his raw talent alone. All equipped with the vegetable crew (Peas and Carrots), Mr. Veggies talked about the homies Tyler The Creator and Hit-Boy, his message and still being inspired by Nas' Illmatic. -Niki McGloster
VIBE: Well first, as an introduction, I definitely wanna know where your name comes from.
CASEY VEGGIES: Yeah, Casey Veggies – the vegetables, it comes from our brand "Peas and Carrots." We got our whole little lifestyle brand, clothing brand. It’s me and two others, and we all got vegetable last names so it just goes with the theme. Another thing is vegetables are good for you, so our music and everything I have to offer is gonna be good for you in different ways.
Definitely. So it’s just kind of like a running theme.
Yeah. There’s really a lot of different reasons I could tell you, but those are like the two main ones.
Dope! Now I know you got a lot of recognition from your Sleeping In Class mixtape, and you recently graduated from high school – congrats – tell me about the beginning process, how you got into rapping and dropping the mixtape. Tell me about the back story of you becoming Casey Veggies.
When I was 12, I was writing raps and just wanted to be a rapper. At 13, I started recording, and by that time I put out a mixtape at 13 years old. We used MySpace and stuff to like start generating it to our people. I finished that mixtape in a few months and just put it out and I got a good response from my friends and family and people on the internet and stuff like that. At that time, I was rocking with Tyler the Creator, and we just had all our little online stuff going and we built a cool following. From there, I just bounced off that, and did another tape when I was 15. That tape really started to spread for me. By that time, I put out Sleeping In Class at 17.
You’ve been blazing through this hip-hop shit to be so young. What do you say to the people who are like, “Yo, he’s a young lyricist,” maybe they hype it up because you’re young or maybe they even put you down. How do you feel about being so young in the game?
I think I’m in one of the best positions, at the end of the day. I’m gonna just keep continuing to go cause people don’t realize that – some people that say negative things don’t realize where I came from and how far I have to go, you know what I’m saying? So I just keep on going straight and I know I’m in a good position and I just try not to use the age as an excuse. I just try to stay above what I’m doing and keep on going with it.
I definitely respect that. Has the relationship between you and Hit-Boy changed at all since he signed to G.O.O.D. Music?
Me and him, it’s the same.We got a record – my next single off the Sleeping in Class re-release, which I’m doing, it’s gonna be on iTunes, [and] it's produced by Hit-Boy, so it’s a real crazy song. And I think it’s gonna be like an anthem. So yeah, me and Hitboy are still good, and I’m so excited for him. Kanye’s one of my favorite artists, so just to work with a producer that’s signed to him is pretty ironic.
Do you think there will be collaborations with you and G.O.O.D. Music beyond Hit-Boy?
Who knows; I’m just working. I’m not really like thinking about anything. If it happens, it will happen.
I feel you. It seems like a lot of people have been talking about Tyler taking shots at Dom Kennedy. How do you feel about that?
I wouldn’t say Tyler takes shots at Dom Kennedy. Tyler just has different ways of doing things to where people think it’s a shot, but really it’s just him paying homage or showing respect. At the end of the day, Dom is a staple in L.A. He’s been doing this shit since we were younger, I’ve been rocking with Tyler, and at the end of the day, we all respect what each other are doing, just on different paths, so it’s no shots. I’m pretty sure it’s not shots.
You said you’ve been cool with Tyler for a minute now – what are your affiliations with Odd Future?
When we first started out, I was one of the original members. We started off together, and then from there we just all went different ways.
And what do you feel about what they’re doing now – their movement? Frank, he’s in the limelight. You got Tyler in the limelight. So much shine and attention is on them. OF recently signed their deal. How are you feeling about all of that?
It’s like a big form of inspiration. For one, I’m real happy for what everybody’s doing. We’re all friends and we all got our own things going. I wouldn’t say I’m not a part of the movement; We’re still homies to the extent where I got the full co-sign from them and they got the full support from me, so it doesn’t even work like I’m not down with Odd Future. I’m just a rapper that feels like I got my own message. I got a particular thing I wanna say on my own now; therefore, I’m doing that but they respect what I’m doing. Tyler knows it’s all love, and we gon’ continue to work in the future, so it’s still the same thing.
Definitely. You’re talking about your message – what do you want your message to be? I mean I know some people may feel like, “Oh he’s young; he’s new,” but what do you want to be to this hip-hop shit?
At the end of the day I think that’s something the people are gonna like come up with on their own. I’ma put in the music everything I know how. That’s what I’ve been doing since I was 13, so I’ma just continue to create the music organically like I’ve been doing. You know, I haven’t been trying hard to do this stuff at all. It’s just been coming out; It’s me. So I’ma just continue to do that and whatever the people feel like my message is, that’s what it’s gon’ be, but I’ma make sure I give what I know how to give. Which is basically a young kid with a lot of ambition, but at the end of the day you can’t just have ambition in this world you gotta have ambition and you gotta have the drive and you gotta have the creativity then you gotta have the imagination. I just feel like I can use all that to show people that y’all can do it, too. Other young kids, they can do this shit, too. At the end of the day, I’m just a form of inspiration.