Christopher Michael Jensen has no alias. He lacks a fake persona. His music tackles everyday struggles, relationships, politics, and his own personal demons. His songs are at times self-assured and confrontational, and at other times vulnerable and soul-searching. Through it all, however, he truly embodies the DIY philosophy and mantra of living hip hop 24/7. A student of the culture for more than half his life, Jensen began rapping in the year 2000 when he was just 13-years-old. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Chris has been an extremely active member of the highly renowned Twin Cities hip hop scene and has toured across the United States multiple times. He has shared the stage with national legends and vets like Raekwon The Chef, Slick Rick, R.A. The Rugged Man, Cage, Gift Of Gab, Joell Ortiz, Jonwayne, 2Mex, Sole, Robb Bank$, Milo, Sadistik, Ceschi, and Onry Ozzborn, as well as many local stars including P.O.S, DJ Abilities, Lizzo, Bobby Raps, deM atlaS, Kristoff Krane, Toki Wright, Carnage The Executioner, Kill The Vultures, No Bird Sing, Guante, Muja Messiah, St. Paul Slim, and Metasota. Music Emissions remarked that Chris is “‘true-school’ hip-hop in the vein of old school acts such as A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, The Pharcyde and the likes” and that he has “got the flow…the thought-provoking—often introspective—lyrics, and obvious passion.”
Immersing himself in the art form, the Minneapolis native spent years honing his skills as an emcee, performing at talent shows and school functions and making homemade CD’s for people in his younger years. In 2009, shortly before graduating from the University of Minnesota with an English degree, Christopher Michael Jensen released a lo-fi project to the Internet as a free download called Lyrical Combustion: The Mixtape. In 2010 he released his official debut album, entitled There’s Meaning Underground, in stores and online. 2011 saw the release of The Chris Tape, Volume One, before being followed up with The Chris Tape, Volume Two in 2012. Both projects were well-received, garnering praise from critics and fans alike, and rotation from stations like The Current, Radio K, and KFAI. Shortly after, Jensen forged together with fellow emcees Panash and .dB to form a group known as EQs-Men. Their debut release – The EQs-Men EP – came out in 2013. In 2014 Chris released his next album, CM Cool J. A day after releasing it, he got the surreal opportunity to rap on Sway Calloway’s “Sway In The Morning” show on Serius XM’s Shade 45 network to a worldwide audience (something he would do again the following year). In a review of the album, Reviler.org commented that “what’s great about Chris is that with each release, he raps with a bit more confidence, and vocally he raps very conversationally, with almost a cynic twist, which definitely sets him apart,” adding that CM Cool J is “a lot more than meets the eye on the surface.” RapReviews.com said at times on the album Jensen “sounds like the Twin Cities meets The Coup,” and during other moments “is a little bit Marshall Mathers.” Chris would also go on to release music videos for all 13 songs on the project.
In 2017 Christopher Michael Jensen finally released his latest album, entitled A New Age – a name that has many meanings. Having just turned 30, it literally describes a new age in life for its creator and all that comes with getting older: looking back at how he got here and the challenges to be faced ahead in the next chapter. It describes a new age in hip hop and is a statement of how an artist who began penning rhymes way back in Y2K fits into the current musical landscape. It also describes a new age of politics in the U.S.A. and the ever-increasing uncertainty and fear that grips the nation, all of which is heavily examined on record. The 16-track project features production and guest appearances from several of the finest Minnesota talents today and over an hour of brand new music. The album has also garnished critical acclaim and attention. Its lead single “Silence Into Sound” has gained repeated airplay on Minnesota’s premiere hip hop station Go 95.3. In highlighting the second single “Wilted Hopes,” City Pages noted that “Christopher Michael Jensen’s lyrics have always felt like free association, with an element of poetry to them that’s endeared the Minneapolis rapper to the Twin Cities’ conscious hip-hop fans.” RapReviews.com praised the writing on the album, calling Jensen “among the best rhyme writers that I’ve heard” and “a great example of why Hip Hop never died and never will.”
Christopher Michael Jensen has also been heavily involved with many charitable and activist-oriented endeavors. 2012 saw the beginning of “Rap For Life” – a benefit series spearheaded by Jensen and his friend Ashley Seeler that has raised thousands of dollars for many life-or-death causes including suicide prevention, chemical dependency awareness, domestic abuse awareness, mental health, and at-risk youth. Other causes Chris has been a part of include organized efforts for the homeless, stopping sexual violence, women’s health and Planned Parenthood, people diagnosed with AIDS, children with autism, Oxfam and the fight against the West African food crisis, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, socially conscious charter schooling, ending sex trafficking, the LGBTQ community, the troops, medical cannabis, and racial and economic justice.
Always full of surprises, C.M.J. continues to leave his unique mark on hip hop and the world of music, with lots more on the horizon.