Organic is the Album We've Always Wanted from Casey Veggies
Evan Dale // June 11, 2019
For more than a decade (check his opening lines about uploading his music to Myspace), West Coast golden child, Casey Veggies has been working towards something as natural, as fluid, as whole, and as expected as Organic. It’s not to say it’s predictable. Even for Veggies whose spoon-fed, meditative cadence is nearly omnipresent, Organic is the kind of vibrant expression that fans have always wanted, have always expected, but have never quite gotten – at least not at this caliber.
The track’s opener breathes of the struggle to unearth that quintessence. After odes to Mac Miller and Nipsey Hussle, after an introduction speaking on how this album, Organic is his story, the story instantly begins, as does the hope that Organic will follow suit as the most hard-pressed, angsty, quality delivery of Casey’s very deep canon.
It does not disappoint.
Oftentimes, it’s hard to imagine that an artist who has already given so much will somehow find a new gear. Undoubtedly young, Casey Veggies is also undoubtedly seasoned and realistically, as nice as albums like Sleeping in Class, Live & Grow, and Life Changes have been, they’ve all come up short of his potential to deliver a thorough, complete, influential project. Organic changes that notion forever. It’s a master thesis on West Coast hip-hop the likes of which only a few names so fervently attached to their geographic subset could deliver. The other names, long-time mentor, Dom Kennedy, transcendent figure on West Coast experimentalism, YG, legend, E-40, and classic upper-echelon dynamo, The Game, all pay their cosigns to Veggies with appearances of their own. This symbolic passing of torch should say all that’s needed to be said about Casey’s importance to hip-hop. But if it somehow doesn’t, Organic as a whole absolutely does.
Only ten racks deep, there is no wasted space onthe album, mirroring his acclaimed collaborative project with Rockie Fresh, Fresh Veggies, in its length, its quality, and its nod to grocery store produce.
But Organic is a solo project. Sure, Veggies occasionally shares the stage with timeless features, but they all follow Casey’s greater vision for the project, and none of them, due to Casey’s vibrant stylistic growth, outshine Organic’s overarching protagonist. But they do bring their expected energies nonetheless. Stop Playin’ rides a simplistic beat expected and inviting for a Dom Kennedy verse, and his own permanently relaxed, spoon-fed cadence does nothing but compliment Veggies and display just how gracious the two have always been in collaboration. The track also does a great job of putting Casey’s knack for rap-sung choruses – a risk to many – a cake walk to him – on full display.
In accordance with the features on I Came Up, the track rides a very different bit of production. Explosive synths and powerful drum patterns make the track the most anthemic on Organic and allow YG and E-40 – both very much to thank for the high-energy, absurdist sphere of modern West Coast party anthems – to shine their classic deliveries. Yet, Veggies doesn’t fall behind, but in fact goes head to head with his idols, delivering an emphatic opening verse and setting the stage.
Candy rides a much darker, romantic beat that contradicts The Game’s signature harsh delivery, challenging him to find a way to make it work. True to his position as a legend, he does, and in tune, Candy emerges as a clear takeaway track from Organic with Veggies once again taking the reigns and driving home the track’s genuity and form.
And it’s in that atmosphere that Organic should be explored further. Seemingly every track, all for very different reasons, can be pulled from the album, examined, and enjoyed on their own. Every track is a standout for a different reason. Every track is probably someone’s favorite for a different reason. There are no subjective winners, and under that umbrella, Organic as a whole is a winner.
The real winner is, of course, Casey Veggies and his immense range within the hip-hop spectrum. Not only can he keep pace and shine in accompaniment with his idols; he can dance along his signature cadence while dropping gems (No Favors), he can dive headfirst into brutal, intense lyricism (Ceiling); he can explore meaningfulness and honesty, emerging a rare relatable figure in hip-hop (Dream$); he can slow it down and deliver thematic explorations of love (Candy), life (Mirage), and loss (Take It Slow).
Amongst a smattering of key, global hip-hop releases, Casey Veggies, a veteran that has never quite become the legend we’ve expected him to become steals the summer from Skepta, from YG, from GoldLink, and maybe ever from Tyler, The Creator. Organic and the unpredictability tied to its creator are the reasons why we love hip-hop: a success story more than a decade in the making.