Casey Veggies is still striving to be the best. Earlier this year, Young Veggies impressed everyone with his Life Changes mixtape that proved he’s grown as an artist exponentially. Since then, the 20-year-old has had a great year so far; appearing on Earl Sweatshirt’s Doris and making waves as a must-see act of CMJ 2013. XXL got the phone with CV while he was chilling in his L.A. crib to talk about his “She In My Car” video, entering adulthood and the state of hip-hop in the West now.—Eric Diep
XXL: You posted on your Instagram about the “She In My Car” video. What’s it about so far?
Casey Veggies: It’s a story of a young west side hustler. It’s a story of me and Dom. It’s a quick excerpt of just what comes from being a local celebrity on the west side. The way I look at it is me and Dom and even other west side rappers like Kendrick and Nipsey, we came from the same city. We came from the same shit. It’s like we all got our niche. We all do different things, but when it comes to how we all came up from the same city and the same area. We all just regular kids just like everybody else, just like all them other dudes. You get that opportunity to do something with your life and get a little shine. All the attention comes to you. That’s what “She In My Car” is about, just having that control. You know, she in my car. Being that swag individual. Do your thing and shine. Shine in the midst of everything that’s going on. Obviously it’s about having a girl in your car, having somebody that’s rocking with you. I just wanted to bring all that shit together. I feel like me and Dom created a little short film because I just what I look at it as.
Being that you’re a local celebrity now, is there a lot of pressure?
Hey, being famous is pressure. Being a local celebrity that’s basically what I was trying to get at. Being a celebrity is kind of fun. Not being too famous, but being big where you from. That’s what is fun. That’s when you can ride around the city with a chick and people notice you. You can just show love and you can go to the movies and see these young kids. “Yo, that’s Casey or that’s Dom.” It’s more of a west side thing, staying the same and taking it to another level. In the video, you’ll see me later on in life as a more successful Casey. I got Dom, he coming through the crib. I got my own house. My big house is in Beverly Hills at this point of my life. It’s kind of showing people what comes from the normal grind we’ve been putting in how you can stay normal with it. And have fun with it.
What are your new goals now? You’ve said it yourself that you are always growing and progressing.
I feel like I’ve made great music, but I haven’t made that focused project to where I am like, “You know what? This is the project that I just killed y’all.” Every project that I have dropped has been a learning experience for me so to speak. My goals really as an artist is to drop that shit that where before I even drop it. With all my projects before I drop it, I believe in it 110 percent. But at the same time, I was always aware [that] I’m young. [I’m] still young on this one. I’m giving it to ‘em and I am still growing. I want to give to them the youngest, most polished body of work. And just stand for all the young kids, the youth. That’s my goal right now. Make the youth look good and just work hard.
Sometimes the youth doesn’t look so great, so it’s good to see you are staying positive.
People look at us all type of ways. Just like people look at you for your skin color. People look at you for your age. What if people look at you a certain way for your age and your skin color? It’s really like a thing where you gotta grind and put yourself in a position where you don’t gotta get profiled. You don’t gotta get that box thrown at you. You can be out the box. I think that’s what I represent for another young kid anywhere, not just in L.A. Anywhere in the world. I appreciate that. People tell me that: “You know what? You inspire me. You show young kids that you can do something at a young age.” That’s all I stood for then that’s enough, but it’s definitely a lot more to me. The album will speak high levels. I just want to open up to the fans and really show what’s in my head. I think this whole time I’ve been giving people little by little.
What do you think is the biggest difference from releasing Life Changes until now?
I would have to say Customized Greatly Vol. 3. Before I released Vol. 3, I was doing ok, but I didn’t really have fans. I didn’t have people who really rocked with Casey Veggies, for Casey Veggies. By the time I dropped Vol. 3, by the time I got to Life Changes, at this point I created a household situation for myself. I think before that I didn’t know what I was headed to do. Yeah, I could have been further along by now, but its just no matter what, I look at it I just created something for myself. We got our store, the Peas & Carrots store. We got our brand. We stand for something. There’s people that just rock with us for us. They don’t rock with us because of the next man.
You’re starting to enter adulthood. What are some things that you’ve learned?
I’m learning a lot about myself. A lot of small things I would say. A lot of people can agree, even being 20 and going 22. Those two years you learn a lot. You change a lot. I think I am just going through that metamorphosis, even from 19 to 20 when I created Life Changes. I was just going through a lot man, a lot of mental changes. That’s how it helped the whole album came to place anyway. Right now, just learning about myself which is why I am taking my time with it. I am just trying to grow with the music. I always use Nas has an example, how he dropped at 19. I wanted to meet those standards. I want to debut, come out the gate, 19, 20. That was always my goal, which I am on my way to doing that. But, at the same time, I just want to make sure I am most polished when I come out.
Dom Kennedy said this in a recent interview, “L.A. is a mixture of so many eras and styles; culturally it just turned out good people.” How do you feel about the West now?
I think he was saying that we’re so well-grounded. We are so diverse. We had seen all this shit. We been through so many different styles of people, cultures and eras that so much game that has been passed down. So much knowledge. So much real experiences. When I was working on Life Changes, we was in the lab, Dom was there. Nip was there. DJ Quik was in and out. It was kind of unreal. We the new artists on the West, but all that game we got right now [is] in our backyard. It’s like being a basketball player and having a basketball court in your backyard. You are going to be a good basketball player. You got all the shit you need. I feel like being an artist and being an LA. Being around the scene. Growing up. Really, going through shit and experiencing shit. That’s what makes or breaks you as a person. I think that’s what we got the upper hand on.
What motivates you to stay consistent?
Dom just dropped that Get Home Safely. Nip just dropped that Crenshaw. Kendrick, he went platinum on that good kid, m.A.A.d city. For me, knowing that I was here in the beginning. Knowing that I was here to see all this shit happen before it even happened. That’s what tells me, “You got it Case. You was here. You damn near helped this shit come together. You contributed to it, so you might as well reap the benefits. You might as well live that to the fullest. There’s no point if you are starting it for no reason.” That’s what I tell myself.