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. He has shared the stage with national legends and vets like Slick Rick, R.A. The Rugged Man, Cage, Joell Ortiz, 2Mex, Sole, DJ Pain 1, A-F-R-O, Robb Bank$, Milo, Sadistik, Ceschi, Onry Ozzborn, Sapient, Kosha Dillz, and Soulcrate Music, as well as many local stars including P.O.S., DJ Abilities, Lizzo, Dem Atlas, Bobby Raps, DJ Tiiiiiiiiiip, Toki Wright, Kristoff Krane, Carnage The Executioner, Kill The Vultures, No Bird Sing, Guante, Muja Messiah, Metasota, Finding Novyon, and Sean Anonymous. In 2015 he also toured the midwest on the Ain’t No Hold Up Tour. 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. The latter also featured break-out song “Tie-Dye Sky” with a music video made by Elliot Malcolm of dharmaHYPE that received wide-spread attention. 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 finally released his latest 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).
CM Cool J is Christopher Michael Jensen’s most fully realized and focused work to date. Each of the 13 tracks on the album contain production from a different Minnesota beatsmith, with features from recent Rhymesayers signee Dem Atlas, as well as Liz Harper, Ashley Seeler, North Star Wisdom, and Lydia Liza of Bomba de Luz. In a review, 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 make music videos for every song on the project, working with renowned videographers Common Culture, EJ Films, PCP, and Adam J. Dunn to bring the visuals to life.
Christopher Michael Jensen has also been heavily involved with several charitable endeavors, playing a benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in 2011, and the following year performing in support of international organization Oxfam and their fight against the West African food crisis. 2012 also 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 involved with include benefits for the homeless, stopping sexual violence, people diagnosed with AIDS, children with autism, socially conscious charter schooling, ending sex trafficking, the LGBTQ community, the troops, 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.