With a major deal in the works and after putting on a great show in New Orleans with Big KRIT and special guests Mannie Fresh and T.I., Casey Veggies chatted with @donbleek88 while driving to Mississippi for a show. The 19-year-old Cali native talked about his new management deal with Roc Nation, leaving Odd Future to pursue his solo career & touring with KRIT.
Your birth name is Casey Jones, how did you come up with Casey Veggies?
It comes from the whole peas and carrot brand we came up with, the clothing line, the website and we all decided to push the vegetable thing all the way. We just came up with these vegetable last names. Vegetable is also good for your body and health.
You are from Inglewood, CA, how was it growing up there, as far as the Hip-Hop scene?
The Los Angeles Hip Hop scene was always a building thing in process. Inglewood, we didn’t have that many big artists. I’m originally from Los Angeles but I lived in Inglewood. I definitely represent it in my music. The last 5 -6 years, Los Angeles had a building rap scene, now we are all kind of getting our chance.
Speaking of Cali, how do you feel about the new generation of West coast artists like Tyga, YG, Nipsey Hu$$le and Kendrick Lamar?
I think it’s great! Everybody got their own niche and that’s the reason everybody getting the shine they are getting. Everybody got their own lane. There is no competition, we’re all homies and doing our thing. We all represent the same thing.
What are you doing to keep the West coast relevant?
What I’m trying to do musically is just push the bar. A lot of people listens to my music but they can’t depict where I’m from or what I represent because it is a universal thing and I’m just trying to make universal music for every walk of life, for everybody to relate too. I don’t want to be boxed in Los Angeles or Inglewood. I want to make music for everybody.
I read somewhere that you were originally one of the founding members of Odd Future and you appeared on the group’s first effort, The Odd Future Tape, why did you decide to leave the group?
It was just one of those life things! Every time somebody asked me that question, I can never give a true explanation. I tell people everyday that Odd Future is family and that start meant a lot to my career and me as a person, having them as friends. With that being said, the only reason why I left was me doing my own thing and having my own vision as an artist and you grow-up. People and friends grow-up all the time and go their separate ways.
Are you still in contact with Odd Future?
Yeah, it’s all love.
Was it easier or harder for you to define yourself as an artist after leaving Odd Future?
The whole thing with Odd Future is we were all homies just starting out. So we didn’t look at ourselves as rappers, artists or people in the industry. We looked at ourselves as young kids trying to find ourselves. Really, we didn’t care about trying to find ourselves. We were just putting out what came to our mines and using our imagination. Right now we are all trying to find ourselves as artists, find our true sound and niche. Back then we didn’t know what we were doing. We were just having a good time.
Speaking of defining yourself as an artist, you are now signed to Roc Nation management, do you think it will be much easier for you to go mainstream because you have such as strong support system or do you think you still have to define yourself as an artist regardless who’s backing you?
Yeah, that’s how everything works in life. If you have someone strong backing you, it makes everything easier and smoother.
What exactly is Peas & Carrots?
Peas & Carrots is my brand so basically I was managing myself in the beginning. We started from the ground and just kept pushing it. Peas & Carrots is still the brand and everything. Roc Nation is backing us 100% and using their fire power to push everything overboard.
How did you linked up with Roc Nation?
I’ve put out a couple of projects and people took notice and from there Jay-Z flew me out to New York probably a year or a year and a half ago and we talked. He let me know that he was interested in me and respect what I was doing. I was just shocked that he took noticed and took the time to meet me.
What is the greatest advice that Jay-Z ever gave you?
Honestly, we only had a couple of conversations. We are in the building stages, it is all new. People probably assume that everything is so far ahead but we are really just starting. But to answer your question, probably what he had told me before. We were talking about ‘Watch The Throne’ and he was telling me how you have to know the idea all the way through. He asked me “what my story was” and I didn’t really know what to say. I was kind of nervous. He asked me that out of nowhere. I will say that was something that I learned. To always have your full idea and know what your story is and what you represent. Not to say that I didn’t know what it was, it was just random that Jay-Z asked me that out of nowhere. My story is being a young ambition kid from Cali. I started off rapping when I was 12-years-old and that’s exactly what I told Jay.
When did you officially sign to Roc Nation Management?
We officially made everything happen recently. I’m about to go back to L.A. to sign the paperwork. I’ve been on tour with Big K.R.I.T for like the last month so when I get home, I’m going to finalized it.
How is Big K.R.I.T.’s ‘Live from the Underground’ tour and how is everything going so far?
It’s going great! To see all these people come out for real honest Hip-Hop is great. Me and K.R.I.T. represent the same type of music from different regions of the world. I’m happy to be a part of it. I am happy to be a part of it because I respect his music. I also did a tour with Mac Miller and it was real dope. This time, I feel like me and K.R.I.T. is doing a great job.
You basically been all over, what is your favorite cities/states and why?
I really like San Francisco, Houston, Arizona and Seattle. Just seeing the fans come out and people’s reaction is great.
What have been the craziest experiences you’ve had so far while on tour?
We got into a car accident while on tour. That was a pretty crazy experience. It wasn’t on this tour it was on another tour.
How do you prepare for a show?
It is just a straight mental thing. Just staying focus and looking forward to doing what I got to do.
Do you have any label deals in the works?
Yeah, we do have something in the works. Something is definitely in the works. I can’t really speak on it right now though. I’m not trying to be independent anymore.
So it is definitely a major deal in the work?
Would you sign to the label Roc Nation?
I wouldn’t mine but in my situation I don’t think I will. They definitely did a great job, especially with J Cole.
What will be you ideal label situation?
Just a fair situation, I get to live out my dreams and make a classic album.
So what’s next for you and what projects are you currently working on?
I’m working on an album and a new mixtape. I want to give the fans some new music.
Are we going to get an album from you by the end of the year or sometime next year?
Around the third or fourth quarter of next year (2013).
Who would you like to work with on your album?
I want to work with Mannie Fresh, Salaam Remi and No I.D. on my album.
Words by Donovan “Don Bleek” Moore/Follow me @donbleek88