As a young entrepreneur and rapper, Casey Veggies is a talented multitasker who refuses to settle for good enough. On top of managing his own streetwear brand, Peas & Carrots International, Casey is also collaborating with Puma and Footaction, as well as promoting his major label debut album, Live & Grow.

The 22-year-old from Inglewood, California, says he’s focused on being a positive role model for the youth and providing aspiring entrepreneurs with a blueprint on how to start their own brand. The former Odd Future MC is all grown up and more mature than your average young millennial. He believes his latest work will show listeners just how much he’s grown as an artist over the years.

While Casey was in New York City with Footaction for the first ever “Veggie Stoop” project, we caught up with him about the process of crafting his debut album, his first major radio hit, and representing for the youth.

EBONY: What can your fans expect to hear on Live & Grow?

Casey Veggies: On Live & Grow, I think my fans can expect a lot of new energy. I’m bringing my own sound to the game on this album. I’ve been building a lot and just learning about myself as an artist. On this project, I think I came into my own. You can expect to hear a lot of growth, a lot of inspiration. I’m a young kid speaking on his upbringing.

EBONY: How would you describe the overall sound of the album?

CV: It’s definitely West Coast-influenced, but I feel like it’s worldly. You can’t really put a tag on what it sounds like, and that’s what I love about it the most. It captures every element to where you can’t really depict the sound. You can’t put it in a box.

EBONY: Can you give us any details on features or production?

CV: I got DJ Mustard producing on there, Hit-Boy, THC out of L.A. They did about three records on there. Tyler, the Creator did a track on there. We got my homie Fresh Chuck out of Hawaii, Kane Beatz, a lot of my friends. I kept it real natural and worked with a lot of people that I was used to working with.

EBONY: As your major label debut, how did the process of making this album differ from previous work?

CV: It’s definitely a lot different, I ain’t even gonna front. It can get a little difficult if you let the pressure get to you. You gotta know how to navigate. It’s a new way of creating… not even. You keep that same feeling, but you have to elevate the way you create these songs, and you gotta take it to another level while keeping your same sound that fans love you for. It’s definitely like a science experiment when you’re creating your first album. Any album that you create is like a puzzle. I think I definitely figured out the puzzle on this one. It took me a little time, but I got it right.
EBONY: Why the title Live & Grow? What does that mean to you?

CV: Live & Grow means inspiration. It just means to push forward when you feel like the time is up. Live & Grow is that thing you tell yourself when you’re looking at life like “What do I do next? I don’t know what to do.” You just gotta stay positive: live and grow. That’s the space I was in on this album, coming after Life Changes. It was more like I was just trying to find myself and stay hungry. Live & Grow is just that perfect mold.

EBONY: How is this album different from your mixtapes such as Life Changes, Sleeping in Class, or the Customized Greatly series?  

CV: I don’t think they differ, because every project I put out is like an album to me. Every project I’ve put out to this day has been original content. For me, on this project I just took it up a step. I captured my sound and tried a couple new things. I think it’s my best body of work. It’s my most polished body of work all the way through. My other projects are super dope too, but on this one, I feel like I showed my growth. I showed my professionalism all the way through.

EBONY: You and Mac Miller have made some great music together in the past. Do you guys have more collaborations on the way?

CV: Mac Meezy?! Mac Miller? Yeah that’s my dawg. We actually have a few tracks we were working on that are in the stash but we gotta get back in the studio and keep working. His album is out. Make sure y’all go get that. We ’bout to bless the listeners. We gotta get back in the studio for sure.

EBONY: What did the success of your single Backflip with Iamsu! and YG do for you?

CV: The success of “Backflip” was very random. I love the record, man. We played that song on repeat before we dropped it. It’s one of those records we made when ’Su came out to L.A. and we were in Hollywood in the studio and the vibe… That was the first beat Iamsu! played for me. I didn’t hear no other beats from him. I was like, “Yo! That’s the one. Load that up.” Then we loaded it up and the vibe was so natural. We did the song in less than an hour.

I just knew there was something about it. I didn’t know what people would feel about it, but I just knew the energy of it was too real. We dropped it for my 21st birthday. We used to play it at all the clubs in L.A. and the song just organically blew up in the city. Then it started blowing up worldwide. It was definitely a great record for me.

It was my first real single that took off. It was a different stepping stone for me. I’m excited about the song. I think it opened me up to a new lane and showed the listeners that you can’t put me in a box. You can’t really predict what I’m gonna do because I might hit you with a fast one. I’m not saying I made it like, “Oh, this is gonna be a radio record.” I just created a song and I went with the vibe.

EBONY: How did you link up with Ty Dolla $ign for “Wonderful?”

CV: Me and Ty have a few records together. We’ve known each other since I was 13 years old. Ever since the “Toot It and Boot It” days, he was always talented and doing his thing. We did a few records. He always called on me to hop on some songs. I knew he rocked with my talent and what I did because he’d always be like, “Yo! Hop on this song.”

I was loving the songs he was making. He was asking me to get on records that I loved. I had to return that favor and put him on a record of mine that I loved. I called him up. I was like, “ ‘Wonderful,’ this record, I hear your voice on this.” I pulled up to his crib and we just got in the lab and got it done. Shoutout to Ty. He always looks out for me. That’s like my big bro. Shoutout to Hit-Boy, as well.

EBONY: Tell us about your company, Peas & Carrots International.

CV: That’s a brand. That’s my umbrella. That’s what we represent. It’s been a long time coming with that brand. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs. It’s just a brand that represents for the youth. I don’t even do it for me anymore. I do it for the kids. I do it for the youth, to see how it’s done to start a brand and be grassroots. That’s what it was always about and that’s what I’m gonna continue to keep in my mind when I’m doing it. The reason I’m doing this brand is to set a good example and push creativity.

EBONY: Any advice for young entrepreneurs trying to get in the game?

CV: I think you gotta be hands-on. Don’t give up. Take it to that next level. Push forward. You can’t sit still. You gotta push it through. You gotta knock the door down.

EBONY: Don’t you have some signature shoes or clothes that you’re working on with Puma?

CV: I’m definitely planning to have some collabs with Puma coming. We got some collabs with Ethika. Peas & Carrots x Ethika boxers are dropping soon. We got socks dropping soon. We’re just trying to expand. It’s all about expanding. I think we’re on a great path to doing that.

EBONY: How did the collaboration with Footaction come about?

CV: Footaction reached out to us about doing this campaign. I saw it as a great opportunity, especially with it being a brand that I’ve always been a fan of. I’ve always appreciated what they did for the kids and for the sport world, fashion culture and for the whole culture in general. It’s definitely dope that they’re reaching back out and expanding and embracing the youth. That’s what it’s all about.