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Denver, Colorado, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2019 | SELF

Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2019
Solo Hip Hop Afropop


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DJ CAVEM MOETAVATION @ Paramount Theatre

Denver, Colorado, United States

Denver, Colorado, United States



We recently sat down with DJ Cavem.Moetavation — educator, MC, DJ, producer, filmmaker and activist, to name a few of the hats he wears — and discussed the direction he is trying to move in hip hop and how he sees that direction fitting into the history of the form.

Five Points-born and bred, he’s an internationally known artist who has performed in Africa, Europe and throughout the U.S. At 24, he just dropped his sixth and latest album this summer, “The Teacher’s Lounge.” And yet, the flourish of ideas he has makes one feel he’s just getting started. - By Sam DeLeo

We recently sat down with DJ Cavem.Moetavation — educator, MC, DJ, producer, filmmaker and activist, to name a few of the hats he wears — and discussed the direction he is trying to move in hip hop and how he sees that direction fitting into the history of the form.

Five Points-born and bred, he’s an internationally known artist who has performed in Africa, Europe and throughout the U.S. At 24, he just dropped his sixth and latest album this summer, “The Teacher’s Lounge.” And yet, the flourish of ideas he has makes one feel he’s just getting started. - By Sam DeLeo

Combining a passion for environmental advocacy, youth outreach, veganism and social activism with musical talent and a commitment to Hip Hop culture, Ietef Vita has performed internationally as DJ Cavem Moetavation. In 2010 he released his fifth album The Teachers Lounge – and he’s still only 24. He shares some of what drives him.
Elizabeth Usher.
- Elizabeth Usher.

DJ Cavem Moetavation (aka Ietef Vita) is out to green the 'hood, one hip-hop element at a time. Activist, b-boy, DJ, MC, graffiti artist, beat-boxer, film maker and journalist, Cavem plays many roles, all geared toward empowering the 'hood with tools that facilitate evolution of the mind. And musically, Cavem maintains space of wisdom and sustainability in all aspects of his culture. The self-proclaimed O.G. (organic gardener), manufactures music that feeds both the spirit of community and hunger for knowledge.

Traditionally, artists tell the story of society's ills and spills of change, and with his latest independent release, The Teacher's Lounge, Cavem bears this out with a poised and experienced tongue. rapping in dips and tones with lyrics that recall a young and revolutionary Tupac.

If KRS-One hip-hop's teacher, Cavem is his apprentice. We recently sat down with this homegrown Denver artist and discussed living well, the curriculum found in The Teacher's Lounge and what he's growing in his hip-hop garden.

Westword (Ru Johnson): In Denver, you're like the hip-hop community ambassador. How have you created such a strong connection with both music and community?

Cavem Moetivation: Mama Opalanga would say, "I am, because you are... We are, because they were... And so it is." Sometimes I do feel like I can speak for the 'hood, but most of the time, I manifest speaking through the ancestors.

I'm from the 'hood, from the Historic Five Points; I grew up in poetry venues, around art. I was that kid pouring libation for Kwanzaa. I was that kid doing Capoeira, doing kung-fu and b-boying in gangsta chucks. I used to walk past the youth penitentiary and the liquor store on my way to school.
I was that kid writing my name on everything, running from the police, another black man trying to survive on the East side. I got blessed with the right parents to take me to Africa. I gave up internalized oppression for kufis and cortezes... shotguns and dashikis.

Ww: You refer to yourself as the "OG" [Organic Gardener] -- we don't usually think of gardens when it comes to hip-hop.

CM: To the youth, I teach them about where they come from, and that their ancestors grew food, and lived with the Earth in harmony. I empower the youth, teaching them the power of being able to grow their own food, the power behind being self sufficient, how to eat fresh, so they can live fresh and have a healthy future.

It's not only about food; it's about reconnecting with the past, about balance, culture, respect and consumption in all parts of life. A brother like me will get down in the dirt, in some fly kicks and a phat chain. I call it "Going Green, Living Bling," meaning: Redefining the image of wealth in hip-hop culture.

Ww: Tell me about The Teacher's Lounge.

CM: By the time I finished my last album, Deep Rock, I was teaching youth, and realized that youth with warrior ancestors have been lacking direction. I really got into teaching young [gang] 'bangers how to grow greens last season. I knew they love to eat, but didn't have the focus or belief that they could grow food themselves. They have the knowledge, even now, to grow, but there is no support from the community.

I know they have elders alive, but the inter-generational tyranny is the reason why sustainability is not in our music, or a part of our everyday life. I took my beats and greens and came up with fresh vocals to redirect the energy and to remind us of our potential: To eat wisely so you don't need health care, to redefine wealth as physical and spiritual health, to keep that ass in the produce section, or [to] produce your own.

Ww: You have incorporated your spirituality into your music in such an accessible way. What is the ultimate understanding do you hope the listeners attain?

CM: Without Africa, there would be no hip-hop. Roots and culture are the essence. No tree grows without roots. Music is a tool that should touch your spirit. Our rituals should bring forth our ancestors, blessing and directing us. A lot of MCs have not been connected to the source of true universal energy. The light is within all of us; you just gotta pass the fire. As James Brown would say..."Soul Power!"

Ww: Who did you work with on The Teacher's Lounge?

CM: As far as producers, on this album, I chose to have my beats locally grown by Q-Knox and myself. Other artists on the album include Oveuos Maximus, Sticman of Dead Prez, Doodlebug of Digable Planets, KRS-1 and Brotha Jeff.

Ww: Would your music be a solid, liquid, or gas?

CM: All three. First of all, I'm ancient, like space ice that gets melted by the solar rays, that drip into the atmosphere and become clouds, that rain down on Babylon, while nourishing the plants and animals, as I evaporate off the everyday concrete jungle, still visible in the streets.

Ww: Got it. If your sound could be a number, what number would it be?

CM: Seven. Peace. - By Ru Johnson @

Hip Hop - Rap: Green Music: Higher Inner Peace Helping Other People with
DJ Cavem

LinkTo URL:

Tuesday, June 01, 2010 )
by Marissa Gavel

DJ Cavem carries a businessman’s briefcase to events. Complete with gold combination locks on the outside it sits open, with its contents strewn about next to a bag full of vinyl. The bag’s stitching is ripping and the records are fit snuggly next to each other – James Brown next to Kool Moe D. and Bob Marley. He is all of 23 years old, but has the soul and world knowledge of a man more than twice his age.

Along with his taste for old school tracks comes a devote love all things green. He is a devout vegan, an organic gardener and traveled the world droppin knowledge on everyone from politicians to high school students about what it means to live a sustainable lifestyle. Cavem, who also goes by Ietef Vita, wasn’t always passionate about providing organic food and information to the people. He was raised in Five Points and lived the lifestyle that was commonly accepted as normal for his surroundings and situation. He ate corner-store food, acted out in school and tagged up as much property as a spray-can would allow.

If the story stopped here he could have gone on to be another gangster rapper, reppin Colo. and telling the same story as every other kid from the hood. Instead, he got angry; angry at his situation, angry about the corner stores that still stand in place of a real grocery store, and angry at the state of his life. “Acquiring knowledge pissed me off because of where I lived,” he said.
His anger along with a strong support system and wealth of investigative resources surrounding him led him from NWA-style flows to a mix of music that showcases his DJ and production talents, and a knack for making serious issues sound good on a hook. “My 10-year plan is to use my music to promote activism and community gardens, internationally,” he said.

His upcoming project and album-titled single, “Tha Teachers Lounge,” is one of many products in his quest to grow Hip-Hop and “living green” into a new movement: “Going Green, Living Bling.” It’s not quite what it sounds like, as Cavem explains it, “Bling is less like diamonds and more like light and brain power. It’s redefining the image of wealth and inspiring ancient agricultural wisdom as an OG (Organic Gardener), while maintaining "freshness.”
- colorado music buzz


2012 - The Produce Section - The Harvest. ( Album )

2018 - Sage Up (feat. Stic of dead prez, Matene Strikes-First & DJ Cavem Moetavation) ( Singel )

2019 - Biomimicz EP ( Ep )




When DJ Cavem coined the term eco-hip hop in 2007, he didn't know it would sprout into a global movement. His mission to rap about climate change, food justice and plant-based foods spread far beyond his Denver hometown. Having performed at the Obama White House and been featured in Oprah Magazine and on the Rachael Ray Show, Dr. Ietef "DJ Cavem" Vita became known as more than just a rapper -- but an activist, educator and vegan chef. Now, several years after the release of The Produce Section, his award-winning album that fused hip hop with lessons on eco-friendliness, Cavem has shifted his focus to new material. His latest project BIOMIMICZ is being released as an album/seed pack to get people involved and spur listeners into action.

"I wanted this album to become an experience," he explained. "I want people to understand that one of the best ways to make an impact on the environment is being more conscious of what we eat and understanding that our everyday food choices impact the environment in a positive or negative way." 

From an early age Cavem has had a deep connection to environmental activism and food justice. Raised in Denver's Five Points district, often referred to as the Harlem of the West, his interest for gardening and hip hop helped him resist the snares of gang lifestyle. Becoming vegan at age 14, he said he felt a calling to speak about these issues in his songs, "especially since most of the neighborhoods considered food deserts were people of color." His 2007 debut single "Wheatgrass" with rapper Stic.Man of Dead Prez hit top ten on the charts in Spain and introduced him to the public as an OG (Organic Gardener). It led to his 2010 debut album The Teacher's Lounge, followed by 2012's The Produce Section, which featured collaborations with Speech from Arrested Development, Drummi Zeb from The Wailers, and Sa-Roc. Part album, part curriculum, The Produce Section offered lessons on organic gardening, plant-based recipes and alternate uses of energy. 

Since then Cavem has traveled the world as both a performing artist and an educator. He's shared the stage with Nick Jonas, Public Enemy, 2 Chains, Questlove, Wyclef Jean, among others. Offstage he's involved with numerous organizations and projects dedicated to promoting wellness, eating healthy and environmental awareness. With his wife and collaborator Arasia "Alkemia" Earth, the pair inspire and educate around the world including communities in countries such as Azerbaijan through workshops and speaking engagements. They formed a non-profit organization called the Vita Earth Foundation, which hosts health and wellness summer camps, Culinary Concerts, and their Recipes for Resistance workshops, which focuses on culinary climate action.

Traveling the globe has given Cavem a fresh perspective with BIOMIMICZ. Released during International Compost Week, the EP is a precursor to a full-length album. It's being issued as a seed pack -- kale, arugula and beets -- to be planted right away. Come harvest, the full-length album will be packed with recipes on how to prepare meals with those vegetables. According to Cavem, BIOMIMICZ is about getting back to basics with a sense of urgency. 

"Factory farms have destroyed the Amazon rainforest. Pesticides and herbicides have destroyed our soil and microorganisms and contaminated our water. Our oceans are becoming acidic and we are losing the coral reefs. I hope my lyrics will inspire and educate. And I hope the seeds will be planted, literally."

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