Posted by: Necci – Apr 16, 2012
It wasn’t hard to tell when I met Casey Jones, better known as Casey Veggies, that I was with a perfect example of a self-made hip-hop artist. When you first listen to a Casey Veggies record, it’s surprising that that an 18-year-old can paint these vivid pictures with his lyrics. However, Casey makes it sound easy. Unlike many artists, he is not looking for a record deal. Instead, he has confidence that he and his two like-minded counterparts, Anwar Carrots and Joshton Peas, can continue building their Peas and Carrots International movement and leave their mark on the industry. This attitude that Casey has put into his short career has already led him to collaborations with Juicy J and OG Ron C as well as, more recently, an opening spot on fellow up-and-coming hip-hop artist Mac Miller’s Blue Slide tour. Just before Casey and his Peas and Carrots crew made their way to the stage of The National, I caught up with him to let RVA know a little bit about his past, and where Casey Veggies is headed.
So who is Casey Veggies?
Casey Veggies is a young and ambitious kid from Los Angeles, California who decided to do something when he was 12 or 13 and stuck with it. He’s a young guy who stands alone, does his own thing. He tries to bring something great in everything he does.
You mentioned that you moved around a lot. How did that influence you?
I went to middle school in the Fairfax area of Los Angeles, but I lived in Inglewood, which is like 20 minutes down. So I used to be in all different parts of the city. That’s really what motivated me as a full human being, just seeing all sides, seeing Asian people and black people. At that age it really helps you out, being diverse.
You started rapping around that time too?
Yeah, I started rapping when I was 12.
So, you are 18 years old now. In those six years, how did you grow?
I grew a ton, rapping-wise and person-wise. I think every project I put out, you can feel the growth. I learned a bunch on how to approach the music before I even did it. When I first started, I wasn't even doing hooks. I was just straight rapping, like 38 bars throughout the song. And then on Sleeping in Class, I learned how to make a full record.
So you graduated high school with a 3.5 GPA. Instead of going to college, how has the decision to stick it out doing what you've been doing since you were 13 been working out for you?
It was a great decision. At the end of the day, you’ve just got to take advantage of all opportunities in your face. I think going to college would be downplaying my music, and that's something I feel confident in. I felt like I’ve got a great shot at it.
So you met Jay-Z earlier this year?
Yeah, it was a few months ago. I played him like three songs. Which is crazy--we played each other songs. One of the songs I played is called “Hear Me Screaming.” The third verse is about my grandma, and when he heard that, he was like, “Yeah man, that really hit me.” I felt that, for sure, it was a great verse.
Is there anybody who helped shape the way you have this tunnel vision drive?
Definitely my parents. They raised me all the way right. My surroundings and what I saw early on--I saw a lot. It just motivated me to be this universal kid. My musical beginnings, I'll give a big shout out to Tyler, the Creator and Odd Future. We used to make music together, and creativity would flow. When you’re doing something with your homies, it’s way better.
Where do you see yourself in the whole New West movement?
The whole New West thing is cool, but I never want to block myself in. It’s a beautiful thing going on, but I just feel like I want to do something new and fresh and that hasn’t been done before, as a young artist.
You've also got the Peas And Carrots crew, with Joshton Peas and Anwar Carrots, and I know you met Anwar in middle school. Can you talk to me about how you got together with them?
In LA, we had cliques. A few years back, everybody was from a clique. Anwar, and a friend of mine named Dane, and Josh Peas, they were all from a clique called Priceless. It was a high school thing to be in a clique, and I was in middle school. But I knew about all of them, so I started my own little clique, because I wanted to be down with their shit too. And from the clique shit, we became friends. They were big homies to me when I was in middle school. I used to be spitting at parties and shit, and they started noticing and showing love, and we just built it up like that.
So where is Peas and Carrots now? You all have been going strong since '07?
Yeah, I met them like '06. We started Peas And Carrots in like '07. It started off as a blog. We’ve got a clothing line now [Peas And Carrots International, aka Arrogant Veggies].
You re-released Sleeping in Class, the Deluxe Edition, a few months ago, but we're at the top of the year, and you’ve been promising a new project. So, what’s up?
My new project, Customized Greatly Vol. 3, is dropping April 9th. I’m just carrying on tradition, showing people who were around when I dropped Vol. 1 when I was 13 pure growth and progress.
Words by Henry Soza
Top image by Chris Gottshalk