By Isa Jones
By Mary Willson
By Brian Turk
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By Emerald O'Brien
"We started thinking about how we flip what we brought into our community, and a lot of times it takes beets — fresh juiced beets, you know? They need to have that vitality in their hand that they can taste and listen to at the same time. So when I do these workshops, we're always packed and over capacity because of the fact that they know we're bringing something that they won't be able to get the rest of the week."
Indeed: Cavem's brand of hip-hop is unique. While the MC grew up influenced by the Native Tongues era of consciousness, those cats were sleeping when compared to the strength of the messages he conveys. In theory, the heavy-handed nature of his approach would seem ill-fated, but in the capable hands of this OG — Organic Gardener, as opposed to what you might think that stands for; the MC is a bastion of double entendres (beets vs. beats, Gs up/hoes down) — it all works, largely due to the charisma and the unmistakable earnestness of Cavem himself.
"What I'm talking about is realistic," he notes. "I actually do garden. That's what The Produce Section itself is talking about — 'You see me in the produce section, with the collard greens and the roots, beans and greens.' Literally, I'm going to be deejaying at a farmers' market this Saturday. That's kind of like what we're promoting on this album: environmental awareness, sustainability, availability, that you can provide healthy food, that your food can be your medicine. You don't have to submit to corporate medicine."
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And you also don't have to do what everybody else is doing to gain recognition. Cavem has been internationally embraced and recognized for his musical efforts, by both fellow activists and educators, as well as an array of artists from Sticman of Dead Prez to Speech from Arrested Development. And that acclaim is likely to continue with the release of his new album, The Produce Section — The Harvest, his sixth and best yet.
Cavem's environmental activism has also been recognized. The rapper just received word that "Going Green, Living Bling: Redefining the Image of Wealth," the workshop he's been conducting in Denver Public Schools for the past few years with his wife, Neambe, was nominated for a Green for All Fellowship award.
Staying hungry, it seems, is the key to staying motivated.