The 19-year-old rapper Casey Veggies is a founding member of Odd Future, he built a considerable buzz with his 2010 release Sleeping In Class.
He put off college in favor of a three-month nationwide tour with Mac Miller, and went on to ink a management deal with Jay Z's Roc Nation soon after. His new mixtape is called Life Changes, and we spoke with the Inglewood native at NoHo's Pacifique Studios about music, merch, the machine and more.
Why release Life Changes as a mixtape instead of making it your debut album?
It is an album but I'm releasing it as a mixtape. I had to take a step back and think about what's actually important to me with this. I just felt like me earning my respect and showing my fans and new people that I'm here to embody good music. I just wanted to show people I'm an artist and I do it for the craft.
On the track off your previous project Customized Greatly Vol. 3 called “Nobody” Jhene Aiko sings, 'Life changes…things don't stay the same.' Did you build your new release around this sound?
Yeah I think there was definitely a connection. The vibe that I had on that song and just listening back to it inspired the concept for this release. That's really what I wanted to give people, musically. It touches the soul. And so the way it all came about was around that song.
Is this one more mellow than your other releases?
It's more vibed out. I wouldn't say mellow but the concept of the album is very soulful. That's the vibe I wanted to give. I think you can hear the change in the music. It's just the natural growth. I felt like every line was something I could really tell my Mom, like I mean this. It's something Grandma, rest in peace, is something she'd really appreciate it. She'd be like, 'Boy you got something.' The music is something to make them proud.
You mention your Mom. How instrumental has she been in your career decisions thus far?
She has supported me 100%. But I think definitely, on my behalf, I proved myself day in and day out to let her know that this is something I really want to do. Plus I had stuff coming up. The homey Mac Miller brought me out on his tour a few months after I graduated high school. So she saw I had a foundation, respected that and let me do my thing.
A lot of artists have merch. But you have full sweatsuits and mock jerseys.
Well, we started off with just shirts. The sweat stuff is something new for us and we're really expanding it. I want to give the fans something I'd rock you know. I'm real proud of the merch though. I don't want to just give music. So this is a great start. I'm not the type to mind anything or anyone around me. I just do me. I'm trying to make sure our brand is authentic as possible.
You signed a management deal with Roc Nation last year. Still no label deal?
No, there's a big difference. They won't be distributing the album. Roc Nation is going to be helping me along the way and making sure everything goes right as far as getting bigger opportunities go. Peas and Carrots [Veggies' managing partners Joshton Harris and Anwar Washington] operates as friends so nothing's different on that level. We're just bringing other elements to our grind. We're showing them how we hustle. And they're showing us how they hustle.
Roc Nation would be open to you releasing your debut album through another album?
Oh yeah, definitely. They'd be open to that. And we're building right now and there's a lot of stuff in store for 2013. I'm definitely seeking a distribution deal. I won't do it independently. It'll definitely be off a major deal. I just feel like that's something every artist should strive for; to be as big as possible. You should come in wanting to be one of the greats. And in order to do that, I think, you need the machine to push you to that next level. So every artist should get to a stage where they want to put something out on a label. We're going to release this project and put out some visuals to really push the story. Build the brand more. And we're trying to drop the album near the end of the year.