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Review written by Brad W. (@Brad_C_Williams).

One of the most promising emcees to emerge from California in the last couple of years, Casey Veggies is most likely not a stranger to many of those who have been following UPC over the years. In the last five years, Casey Veggies has released five mixtapes independently, and he’s only 19 years old. Although he first emerged through his affiliation with the Odd Future collective, his distinctly confident and inventive vocal delivery caters to a young audience that aspires to the luxurious lifestyle he embodies within his music. Both Sleeping in Class and Customized Greatly Vol. 3 not only illustrated his immense creativity but also demonstrated a consistent artistic progression as he entered adulthood. Now with his latest free offering entitled Life Changes, Casey disappointedly fails to prove to us all that the deluxe lifestyle he has taken on matches his growth as a hip-hop artist.

Growing up from childhood to adulthood through his music, Casey Veggies has accomplished a great deal through the past two years and has much to deservedly celebrate. Consistently prevalent through the mixtape is a sense of calm and collected triumph over life’s numerous adversities. “Young Winners” boasts a conquering piano melody complimented by a string orchestra that beckons for respect. Lyrically CV is dominant with his celebration of life and reflective of the moves he made to achieve what he has so far. While “The Team” is a simplistic ode to the bad women who surround him on the rode, his tonality meshes well with the Futuristiks produced backgrounds. Songs such as “Everything Wavy” exemplifies his toughness and tenacity with still keeping his positive demeanor, a moment where his versatility and ability to flip flows shines through. Even on an album that is characteristically composedly brash, there are momentary flashes of contemplation, such as the swan song “Take My Life” where he proclaims that no extravagances he has are worth losing his identity. These songs are the most notable and enjoyable to listen to by far.

Conceptually, nothing truly changes on life changes. His consumer lifestyle, extravagant womanizing, and youthful attitude resurfaces over and over throughout every song to a point where it becomes monotonous. Pick just about any song on the entire album, I promise you that you will find that Casey addresses the same concepts listed above without developing or critically analyzing them. For example: while “She in My Car” features Dom Kennedy, who matches Casey’s style flawlessly, the bluntness of his lyricism is underwhelming compared to Dom (plus the ending of his verse with “Times are real, but the lord he protect me” outshines anything CV says within the song).

Even when he delivers on a specific verse or chorus within a particular track, the following verse or chorus undermines what he was previously discussing. Particularly, “Whip It” delivers with a great first verses discussing the difficulties and pressures to consistently grow to appease his fan base and the toll it takes on his loved one. The chorus, however, regresses into him telling them to “whip it, put it in a pot, then… make it stir.” Also, the combination of  “Love=Hate, Ulterior Motives” as two separate songs, is hard to follow and does not have any cohesiveness whatsoever. His singing on Harry Fraud’s beautifully produced “I Love Me Some You” is off at best. I’m not expect every artist to be lyrically complex and thought-provoking or appealing to the ear (as I clearly outline in my review of Long.Live.A$AP). When songs tend to ramble from track to track, though, it becomes disengaging for the listener.

The production choices on Life Changes compared to Customized Greatly Vol. 3: Simply put, it did not work for him. Both the title track “Life Changes” and “My Visions” are strong beats independently but are not fitting to Casey’s individualized and distinctive sound, beginning the mixtape somewhat uncomfortably. Similar story with the following tracks “Faces” and “Life.”

The criticism of Life Changes that I have portrayed is not because I harbor a bias toward Casey Veggies. Admittedly, I have been a huge supporter of Casey Veggies since Sleeping in Class in 2010 and will be continue to be after this project. Life Changes is still decent compared to the majority of the mixtapes released. However, Veggies is one defining project away from becoming immensely successful, quite possibly even with a mainstream audience. Chalk this one up as Casey Veggies’ experimentation with new sounds and new flow that is momentarily unsuccessful but needed for his musical growth.

Download Casey Veggies Life Changes here on UPC. Agree or disagree, let us know what you think in the comments!