One of the founding members of Odd Future, Casey Veggies, a.ka. Casey Jones of Inglewood, California, left the group pretty much immediately after the first OF Tape and released his own mixtape, Customized Greatly, which later turned into a series of mixtapes. “It’s hard to explain really,” he says about leaving Odd Future, “but I just had more of a different version for my own rap career. I wanted to do my own thing.”
Despite being a founding member of Odd Future, his Customized Greatly trilogy, as well as Sleeping In Class, and Fresh Veggies mixtapes were more along the lines of the flow and style of radio rap at the time, while Tyler, the Creator and Odd Future were off making records like Bastard, EARL, and MellowHype, let alone Frank Ocean and Syd tha Kyd/The Internet’s careers. Casey on the other hand, after working with YG & Def Jam, opening for Mac Miller, and even still being a frequent collaborator on OF projects, just released his first major studio album, Live & Grow, under label Epic Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment.
Starting the record off with a school bell, Casey seems to want to play the epitomized character of high school-class skipping cool-guy-turned-rapper who all the girls fall for because of his “I don’t give a fuck” attitude and his overtly bragged about prowess in the sack. However, this vastly overplayed character really brings nothing to the table to make him seem original to the role and stand out amidst every other 20-something rapper playing the same part. The album opener, titled “I’m the King,” has kind of a “December 4th” by Jay-Z vibe to it, where his father speaks about his upbringing, but it doesn’t have as much of the warm and heartfelt feeling that “December 4th” had for Jay. Maybe it was because Casey sounds like he’s emulating that of a non-existent 3rd Audio Push member that was never as good as Price or Oktane.
Most of the dull moments of Live & Grow don’t stem from his rap ability however, but instead from his over-comfort in end rhymes and the seeming lack of a true narrative. With an album title like Live & Grow, I thought it was going to have something more along the lines of a rising story, youth metamorphosis to maturity and wisdom on past mistakes, trials & tribulations kind of layout. Instead, most of the tracks are about girls going crazy for him solely based off of his career as a rapper, which for 13 tracks doesn’t really leave him with a lot of room for originality or story-telling. It also mulls-over potential heart-felt tracks like “Sincerely Casey,” “I’m the King,” “Life Song,” or “Blessed.” It’s not like he doesn’t possess the ability to put out a good album, it’s just that he hasn’t found his place or the story he wants to tell just yet.