The Faces of the Teen Swag Movement


Ronzo’s Word is a big fan of the “Teen Swag” movement.  Yes, this is a term that I came up with, but I can’t really think of a better way to describe the new young rappers rising up the ranks.  These guys are exuberant, confident, and ready to swag out all of the time.  Lifestyle raps at its finest.

Not that this is a new thing to happen to the music industry, as young artists have always pushed the creative bar and artistic movement forward.  The OG’s have consistently been trying to catch up to the flavor of the week, whether it was twenty years ago or yesterday.

But the thing is, this is our time.  I wasn’t grown enough to see a young Nas prosper with a groundbreaking lyrical masterpiece, and I especially was too young to see NWA’s brash, rebellious attitude shocking the nation.  While those experiences must have been brilliant to witness, it’s exciting to see the new waves of Hip-Hop evolution as they roll in.

Name’s like Sir Michael Rocks, Dizzy Wright, Vic Mensa, and Chance the Rapper all come to mind when trying to pinpoint this style, but don’t exclude many of these other artists following right along with them; And the best part is, all of these names listed vary in what their music sounds like, but come together through one idea: “hey we’re young, and it’s time to live it up before it’s too late”.  I say more power to them, what else are you supposed to do when you’re young and rich?

Over the next couple weeks I’ll be breaking down the previous work from all these artists, as well as what there is to look forward to in the near future!

Young Veggies

One name that stands out to me in particular is a man named Casey Veggies.  Casey is a very savvy, entertaining rapper from Inglewood, California.  Originally part of the highly eccentric OFWGKTA crew, Casey ventured off on his own path as a solo artist.  Often overlooked by casual Hip-Hop fans and radio tastemakers alike, it’s time to take a second look at this man’s music.

The collaboration Fresh Veggies was touched upon by me back in December, when I listed things I wanted to hear from the “Teen Swag” duo of Rockie Fresh and Casey Veggies.  The mixtape certainly did not disappoint, providing heavy spin records that go just as hard now as they did back when it first dropped in December.  Rockie and Casey have made excellent collaborations for years, as Rockie’s  laid-back style goes perfectly with the turn-up attitude of Casey Veggies.

2013 was a breakthrough year for Veggies.  Life Changes, a mixtape that basically was a debut album, made quite an impact.  As his style continues to change, the sound becomes more defined.  I don’t have much experience with pre-Life Changes Veggies, but his previous work on the mixtape Sleeping in Class was highly lauded among blogs and critics alike.

However, after listening to Sleeping in Class recently for the first time, it’s clear that the music is evolving at a very fast rate.  The delivery has become a little less aggressive, and the style is a little bit more about riding the beats, creating mood music.  Here’s a comparison of two songs, one from Sleeping in Class and one from Life Changes:

The thing is, this cut from Sleeping in Class is probably one of the songs that sound the most like some of his newer music.  There is a big difference, however, and you can hear it in the delivery.  His voice is powerful and spoken with a higher energy.  Almost like he’s attacking the microphone.  It’s clear that he was incredibly hungry, understandably so.  This is truly a banger, and definitely the gem of the mixtape.

Alas, it worked, and everyone across the underground Hip-Hop scene immediately took notice of the high school “Teen Swag” visionary (yeah I’m liking this term quite a bit).

“Everything Wavy” is most likely the highest energy track from Life Changes.  The looped sample, repeatable hook, and head bobbing drum beat all have significant similarities to “Ridin Roun Town”.  The difference is, as previously mentioned, mostly in the delivery.  Casey sounds comfortable with his sound over the highly sophisticated beats, there’s no denying it.  Life Changes has a significant beat quality improvement than any previous projects, from talented producers such as The Futuristiks, DJ Dahi, and Harry Fraud.  No need to attack the microphone anymore, creating the mood is most important.

Life Changes is a fantastic step in the right direction for Young Veggies, as he becomes a staple in the Hip-Hop world.  Plus, the fact that he recognizes the supreme talent of the artists around him in the same lane, and collabs with them, shows how business savvy he can be as a musician.  The rest of 2014 and beyond should be more than helpful for Casey Veggies.



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