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The best kept secret in music



Awake Clique
This Berkeley rap group calls its music conscientious hip-hop, mixing an anti-war message in songs that strive to enlighten as well as entertain listeners

MC Joe Conifer -- a.k.a. Joe Con -- is the cockeyed dreamer of Berkeley rap group Awake Clique, speaking in beautiful abstractions. "Awake Clique is about self-annihilation to be reborn in a better way," he says, his blue eyes earnest, a straw hat slightly askew on his head, a harmonica in hand.

Dreadhead producer Dejah Fortune appears to have his feet more solidly on the ground, with a realistic perspective on life in the East Bay.

Young Caveman, a producer who, like Fortune, wears the more standard rap attire -- a black hoodie and beanie -- is quiet and deliberate when he speaks.

This trio makes up the center of Awake Clique, a 10-man music collective. Musically, the group refers to itself as "hard-core conscious hip-hop" because, as Fortune explains it, "Conscious hip-hop has a bad rap as being corny or soft. We want to say we're proud to be knowledgeable and smart without sacrificing our 'masculinity' or whatever you want to call it."

Joe Con, originally from Kentucky, grew up listening to Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan as well as Wu-Tang Clan, Nas and Dr. Dre. He says he's both a born-again Christian and a conscientious objector to the war in Iraq. "We're all about challenging the main perceptions people have about everything," he says. "You have to analyze everything, whether that be the newspaper, what you see on the TV, the words in the holy book."

"Find your own truth," agrees Fortune, who grew up in Oakland listening to Jimi Hendrix and Too Short.

At the Ivy Room, all the members of Awake Clique will perform in various configurations. The collective's first project, Joe Con's "Awake and Dreaming" CD, which recalls the down-tempo grooves of A Tribe Called Quest's "Low End Theory," is due out May 1. Movies, visual arts and perhaps even a clothing line are in the works.

In the Bay Area, the "hyphy" sound is all the rage in hip-hop, which is all about "going dumb" or dancing as though you're out of your mind. "I go smart, that's what I say," explains Fortune, who says he respects where the hyphy movement is coming from.

"We have to expose and enlighten people about bull -- patriotic fervor," pipes up Joe Con. "That's how I get hyphy. They want people to go dumb. But I don't go dumb. I get hyphy and I stay smart. That's why I'm dangerous. That's why Malcolm X was dangerous. That's why Martin L. King was dangerous."

Awake Clique: Ivy Room, 858 San Pablo Ave., Albany. Thu., 10 p.m. Free. 21+. (510) 524-9220.

Lisa Hix, - SF Chronicle


debut instrumental album
*avaliable at,,,, and iTUNES

SHADOW CASTE "Co-Pilot" 2005 Royal Ark Music

P.E.A.C.E. (Freestyle Fellowship) - "Twisted Tongue/Mimosa" double single - 2006 Mary Joy Recordings Inc.
with production by The Knocks (Shingo2 and Docmax), Caveman, and Dawgisht
*available at,

JOE CON - "AWAKE AND DREAMING" - 2006 Royal Ark Music
with production by Caveman, Deja Fortune, and guest mc appearance byShing02

AWAKE CLIQUE- "Live From the Apocalypse: Mixtape Vol. 1" - 2006 Royal Ark Music
mixed by Cave
featuring the entire Awake Clique: Joe Con, Davey Detail, Dejah Fortune, Grand Logic, Phantom 309, Caveman + guest appearances by JernEye of Lunar Heights and P.E.A.C.E. of the Freestyle Fellowship

Coming soon:

P.E.A.C.E. - "Pappa's Arcade" - 2006 Mary Joy Recordings
with production by Caveman, The Knocks (Shing02 + Doc Max), Elusive, Iceberg, and more...

AWAKE CLIQUE - "Live from the Apocalypse" - 2006 Royal Ark Music
With production by Caveman, Dejah Fortune, and more....
Featuring the entire Awake Clique


Feeling a bit camera shy


Caveman is the type of artist that reminds you why you got into hip hop in the first place. Coming with that raw knock that heads fiend for and delectable melodies that you can really sink your teeth into, Cave is working hard to become a true master of the craft.

After arriving in the Bay from Texas in 2003, Cave wasted no time in putting together his debut instrumental album “Sticks and Stones” during his first and second semesters at U.C. Berkeley, selling many copies by hand on Berkeley’s famous Telegraph Ave. Now, three years later, Cave has been blessed to work with some of the Bay area artists he used to revere back in high school such as Shing02, P.E.A.C.E. of the Freestyle Fellowship, and Bicasso of Living Legends. Just as electrifying was meeting and uniting with fellow members of the developing Awake Clique; Joe Con, Dejah Fortune, Davey Detail, Grand Logic, Phantom 309, Jai G, Improvidence, and JaiG. Cave has also worked with Bay Area artists L-Roneous, Seneca of Giving Tree, Flossafee of Forensic Science, Potna Deuce, Damian, and Stress. As for performances, the former Bay area hip hop group "Shadow Caste" which included Joe Con, Seneca, Dejah Fortune, and Cave, performed many shows in and around the Bay, and shared stages with artists such as Lunar Heights, Casual of Heiroglyphics, P.E.A.C.E., and the Sol Rebelz. Now that Joe Con’s album “Awake and Dreaming,” of which Cave produced about 85%, is finished, the duo, along with the rest of the Awake Clique, is ready to continue to perform and share their music with the world.
Currently Cave is working on full-length albums for the Awake Clique, P.E.A.C.E., and Concrete Hills.