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 acts like Joell Ortiz of Slaughterhouse, 2Mex, Kosha Dillz, Sadistik, and Soulcrate Music, as well as many local veterans and legends, including Toki Wright, DJ Abilities, Kristoff Krane, Carnage The Executioner, Kill The Vultures, No Bird Sing, Guante, Ecid, Big Quarters, and Big Jess of Unknown Prophets, just to name a few. 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 finally released his latest solo 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.
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.”
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, and mental health. Other causes Chris has been involved with include assisting the homeless, helping those with AIDS, benefitting autistic children, charter schooling, the fight to end sex trafficking, and LGBTQ pride.
The future looks to bring even more exciting things for Christopher Michael Jensen, including new music, more high profile events, and other surprises. Stay tuned…