Casey Veggies’ new mixtape exhibits a tighter production level than his previous works, an indication of the help and experience he’s amassed since his junior high days. The songs are all originals, making the mixtape worthy in title as an album, all except for the creative bottleneck of a big record company. Veggies listeners will find a wider variety of sound, from heavier, darker tracks that grab (‘Toe Tag’), to softer joints with an R&B shade (‘Garden’ and ‘Life Rhymes’). 

“Everybody ought to have a song about the girls” (‘I don’t know/skit’), has been a motto of Casey’s since his first Customized Greatly tape. ‘Life Rhymes’, featuring Jhene Aiko, might prove the more successful of this kind. A slightly more complicated rhyme scheme and staccato provide a dynamic vibe next to the plainer language of his sang chorus. The raps in ‘Garden’ are less sophisticated, and lay a bit bare over that sultry sax line. They also stray from the theme provided in the title and refrain, which weakens the connection with his stage name (garden, veggies, get it?).

‘You Got It/Fantasy’ has some golden moments as another “girl” narrative, though it veers toward R. Kelly-variety length with far less drama. What comes through is Veggies’ gift of gab, something he shares with the strongest of Veggies’ influences, one Kanye West. A master of his craft should be able to imitate the style of his favorite artists accurately, and Veggies has planted his status by doing this very well. The long runs and inflections of ‘Thoughts Weigh’ definitely have lucid Kanye moments, and any listener will pick up echoes of the Don’s lyrics throughout the mixtape.

In an interview with his partners in 2011, Casey explained his name choice as, “Lifestyle music, something you can use…There are things that are good for you, and there are things that are bad for you. Our music, it’s got a lot of good, and it’s got some bad, but it all makes sense at the end.” ‘Toe Tag’ is what Casey might have been thinking about when he diagnosed the “bad” in his work. The heavy beat, like a revving ignition, the dramatic minor key, and the murder motif that comes central to the track, hark back to that edgy sound Casey worked with as an original member of Odd Future. The hauling beat begs to be danced to, and the same goes for ‘Verified (Everything Official)’.

In ‘PNCINTNLOFDWGKTA,’ Veggies, Peas, Carrots, and four of OFWGKTA’s biggest wolves collaborate for what could be the biggest number on the album, though it is starkly alternative compared with the other tracks. This fact begs the question of whether Casey Veggies has done enough to hone his individual style. His selling point of “lifestyle music” contrasts the powerful scare sound of the Odd Future crew he was brought up in. Artistic direction aside, Customized Greatly Vol. 3 ensures a credit with a newer audience, despite the fact that he’s so young. We should see his stock continue to rise.

Eat Yo Veggies!  Download the mixtape here.