On Casey Veggies‘ solid 2011 debut full-length Sleeping in Class, the young rapper from Los Angeles was still an identity in the works. The album positioned him as somewhat of a thoughtful goofball with a tiny bit of street cred and the occasional introspective epiphany. Not quite backpack rap but certainly not hood either. At just 17, Veggies landed somewhere between Big K.R.I.T. and a less nutty OFWGKTA (whom he was once a member of).The first-person account of his young and small world on Sleeping in Class showcased promise from the California MC and hinted at more to come.
With the release of Veggies new mixtape Life Changes, the rapper is now the ripe age of 19 but continues to show a maturity well beyond his age without sacrificing any of his youthful vigor. For the most part, Veggies walks the same line he did on his debut full-length but with a dark, more assured swagger and a grittier voice in tow. The upbeat production and loose fun of Sleeping in Class is now gone and has been replaced by dimly minimal beats and a new, more worldly seriousness from Veggies.
Whereas on Sleeping in Class he admitted to having never been to New York City, he now brags about worldwide travels on the Cardiak-produced “Life$tyle”. “My Vision” confirms that Veggies is well out of the classroom as he seamlessly transitions from women to second-guessing his choice to trade in college for “cocaine knowledge” over the soulful bass-heavy production collaboration between the Futuristiks and 1500 or Nothin. “Young Winners” spotlights this same malleability with the occasional double-time delivery over piano loops and strings courtesy of Dynamic Duo. The slightly heavy-handed closer “Take My Life” finds Veggies at his most introspective, reflecting on his 19 years of life through love for an unnamed lady.
The varied topics covered often times within a single verse hint at a complexity to Veggies personality but it never quite makes a full appearance. Every line of self-reflection is met two-fold with money, weed and women. The “contemplative rapper meets shots of Patron” move is the same one that everyone from Drake to Kendrick Lamar are pulling so it’s probably a smart move for Veggies’ career. But on Life Changes it sometimes lacks conviction. And while the mixtape starts off promising, it finds itself muddled at times in the minimal production and half-hearted Meek Mill impressions.
Not to worry, though. Life Changes is likely more growing pains than anything for the young rapper. And tunes like the opening cut or the short but sweet “She in My Car” featuring Dom Kennedy are some of the better tracks Veggies has dropped in his short career. Life Changes isn’t quite the coming out party that we might have hoped for but seeing how Veggies is still a teen, your patience shouldn’t wane with this promising young MC.