Joy, Void, Destroy EP

by Christopher Michael Jensen

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about

It has been over two years since the release of Christopher Michael Jensen's last project, the critically acclaimed album A New Age. Since then, the Minnesota emcee has been featured in Complex, appeared multiple times on Sway In The Morning, embarked on two national tours around the U.S., and played shows with a number of hip hop legends, including Raekwon, Elzhi, Apathy, Aceyalone, Jonwayne, and Sims. With nearly two decades of hip hop experience under his belt, C.M.J. has been a stalwart of the Twin Cities scene over the past several years. Most recently, he became the host of the Fifth Element Open Mic at Rhymesayers' official record store in Minneapolis, as well as co-host/curator of the popular Local Dope $#%T showcase in St. Paul. At long last, Chris returns with a batch of new tracks on the Joy, Void, Destroy EP. On the new outing, C.M.J. weaves his brand of dense, clever, and introspective lyricism over the imaginative and varied production stylings of Infinity ~ Suite who cooked up beats for the entire set of songs.

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released June 28, 2019

2019 © All Rights Reserved
Executive produced by Christopher Michael Jensen
All songs written and performed by Christopher Michael Jensen
All tracks produced by Infinity ~ Suite
All tracks mixed and mastered by Ice God The Macgyver & Christopher Michael Jensen
Photography and artwork design by Christopher Michael Jensen

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Christopher Michael Jensen Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis hip hop...and I don't stop.

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Track Name: Microphone Check
Yeah, Christopher Michael Jensen, C.M.J., I've had a lot on my mind and, I'm just gonna try to get it all out

Keep livin', and keep goin'
I keep spittin', and keep flowin'
Keep breathin', and keep lookin'
I keep dreamin', and keep pushin'
Microphone check, one, two, one, two
I said microphone check, one, two, one, two
Testing, yo, I'm ready, are you?
Well, if you're ready, then I'm ready to groove

I'm just lookin' for my inner peace, in a seat scribbling
Emotions over symphonies from Infinity
And infinity's how many possibilities
That I could live to see manifest here literally
I'm like a mix between Chuck D and Chun-Li
Usin' knowledge to fight battles and succeed
The next successor, been spittin' since grade seven
Yes, and the last name's Jensen, not Jetson
But I am the future like Elroy
Rappin' 'til I'm red in the face like Hellboy
Carry a legacy like luggage to a bellboy
And shoulder that responsibility on my deltoids
An aspiration of ascertainin' the accolades and
Gainin' press coverage, in love with the public's affirmation
An obsession with gettin' it and I have to make it
Ain't succumbin' to a dry spell, no evaporation
So I rinse my hands while I soak my feet
Divin' in head first, man, and I don't believe
In astrology but I'm probably Aquemini
Outcasted from the masses, tryin' to rectify
All my shortcomings as I fall down like a Thwomp
'Cause these worries got me bogged down like a swamp
Time's of the essence, stressin' as the clock's tickin'
I'm pickin' up the story, writin' as the plot thickens

Keep livin', and keep goin'
I keep spittin', and keep flowin'
Keep breathin', and keep lookin'
I keep dreamin', and keep pushin'
Microphone check, one, two, one, two
I said microphone check, one, two, one, two
Testing, yo, I'm ready, are you?
Well, if you're ready, then I'm ready to groove

I had that lyrical combustion, songs like butane
Found meaning underground, then I went and made two tapes
I'm CM Cool J, told you it's a new age
Crafted an EP to ignite a few flames
'Cause things are different since I started this
Had to find the fire to get the spark again like an arsonist
I'm an artisan who's buildin' like some architects
But never fuck with the fake shit or the artifice
So fuck the cars, fuck a mansion and a chandelier
I just wanna try to save the world like a Planeteer
Yeah, I got heart like Ma-Ti
With enough moxie to make moves at mach speed
'Cause I'm way ahead of your sound, I got thermal verbals
Since a juvenile, 400 degree inferno
Top o' the thermometer, the rest turn cold
While I'm gettin' rough and rugged as a dirt road
I'm like a gerbil to these rappers, 'round 'em runnin' circles
And stylin' on 'em like an animal, a fur coat
I'm in merk mode, I'm Angela Merkel
Leading everything, first place since the first note
Otherworldly, words flow through wormholes
But when worse comes to worse, though, I just work mo'
I came to reign in Minnesota like I'm purple
With lines so sick, germaphobes hate my journals

Keep livin', and keep goin'
I keep spittin', and keep flowin'
Keep breathin', and keep lookin'
I keep dreamin', and keep pushin'
Microphone check, one, two, one, two
I said microphone check, one, two, one, two
Testing, yo, I'm ready, are you?
Well, if you're ready, then I'm ready to groove
Track Name: Again And Again
"Gives me enormous pleasure tonight to kick off the show by introducin' a guy who works under the abbreviation C.M.J., but ladies and gentlemen, Christopher Michael Jensen"

Ohhhh, yo, we're just chillin' out, laying raps, yo

Yo, this is for my fans, all the vocal supporters
Even those never at shows 'cause of social disorders
A long time since recordin' on my parents' computer
To steppin' on stage with legends in a pair of my Pumas
Doin' tours cross country and heat it up like the Congo
Used to be an unknown name like John Doe
But I'm launchin' lyrics like a longbow
So that I can blow up like a bomb in the belly of Dodongo
'Cause I don't wanna flop like a bad diver
Put out o' work like Uber and Lyft did to cab drivers
And start bitterly succumbin' to misery
In an industry that screws more people than Glenn Quagmire
Need a place I can carve out and chisel
High stakes and my mind state's riddled with riddles
But I keep puttin' in time, though
Sniffin' out all the things that count with my nose to grindstones
Because

I go again and again, makin' music
Again and again and again and again
I go again and again, makin' music
Again and again, yo, you know
I go again and again, makin' music
Again and again and again and again
I go again and again, makin' music, again and again

Won't stop 'til I've written classics like Run-D.M.C.
Or episodes of The Simpsons in Season 3
A seasoned emcee like I'm covered in paprika
Ballers, put numbers on the boards like a math teacher
But I majored in English so when the song's on
I'm droppin' grammar like I let go of your mom's mom
That line was kind o' funny like a rom-com
And I got crowds cheerin' like they're wavin' pom-poms
From Minnesota, sayin' thangs like bangarang
Bangin' on my chest like I was an orangutan
Spent my life tryin' to make a name
That's synonymous with hip hop like Doug E. Fresh and Dana Dane
My lyrics stay on fleek like outdated slang
With greater flavor than the dipping sauce at Raising Cane's
I'll keep rappin' until I'm passin'
And then C.M.J. goes M.I.A. like “Paper Planes”
Because

I go again and again, makin' music
Again and again and again and again
I go again and again, makin' music
Again and again, yo, you know
I go again and again, makin' music
Again and again and again and again
I go again and again, makin' music, again and again

Even when distracted I'm glimpsin' goals in my peripheral
Never out o' sight, it's pivotal to get to the pinnacle
Keep my vision focused like LASIK
To do whatever it takes to make it
People used to clown me and doubt me and question my devotion
Then I hushed 'em up like a payment from Michael Cohen
What used to seem impossible becomin' plausible
Walkin' on the longest roads and hoppin' over obstacles
Gained strength from angst and what was hurtin' me
Slowly cuttin' out the adversity like a surgery
Takin' the bad and I'm makin' it good
'Cause there's a new day comin' like Xavier Woods, so
I'ma celebrate and let the confetti pop
Ready, go, never slow, green lights at every stop
And keep on droppin' cuts like when a machete chops
So make sure ya keep an eye out like Fetty Wap
Because

I go again and again, makin' music
Again and again and again and again
I go again and again, makin' music
Again and again, yo, you know
I go again and again, makin' music
Again and again and again and again
I go again and again, makin' music, again and again
Track Name: Cold Day In Hell
These amber waves of grain are stained with shame
The bloodshed that runs red and paved the way
A long shadow languishin' over the dawn's early light
Blackin' it out, but swarms o' TIKI torches are still burnin' bright
I don't believe in the devil, but if I did
He'd be a narcissistic super villain with a wig
A king with a crown that's red with white letterin'
Assaults women and flirts with alt-right rhetoric
Overly confident even though he's incompetent
And surrounds himself with grovelin' yes men who follow him
And Congressmen are worthless and turnin' into invertebrates
Ain't got a spine, beholden to dollar signs
How the gun lobbyists profit and help their bottom line
They don't care about Stoneman Douglas or Columbine
Demonize the poor but ignore white collar crime
And leave everybody fucked like concubines
No middle ground when morality's compromised
'Specially when the mess we're in is senseless and there's loss of lives
And the U.S. military budget's on the rise
It's greater than the next eleven countries all combined
A nation that's as mixed up as its priorities
Claim exceptionalism while shittin' on minorities
History repeatin' itself, screams are echoing
Fights under stars and stripes, due for a reckoning

'Cause it's a cold day in hell again
Unsettlin', feel it in your skeleton
So look alive, look alive
There's a war goin' on outside, no where to hide
I'm wakin' up to this cold day in hell again
Unsettlin', feel it in your skeleton
So look alive, look alive
There's a war goin' on outside, who will survive?

In this land of casualties, dyin' out like batteries
Frackin' every fragment of these purple mountains majesties
Oil's up inside of it and poison is the side effect
Leakin' into reservoirs, destroyin' the environment
Everything is burnin' down, goin' up in smoke, geez
While they sell it with a smile, hidin' behind smoke screens
Oppression goes beyond the surface, institutional
Another day in America, business as usual
I'm from the state where the cops murdered Philando
And then let his killer walk free, a perfect example
Police kill the innocent 'cause they have an irrational black fear
So fuck a pig like Black Mirror
This is a nation based on immigration
That still will try to vilify attempts at integration
Intimidation, trivializin' tribulations
Tear apart families and stick 'em with stipulations
Some hide in churches, livin' in the basement
So ICE agents don't raid 'em and then displace them
'Cause some aren't privy to privilege of pigmentation
That comes when you're white and they lighten the litigation
They fertilize minds, plant misinformation
And normalize lies by constant reiteration
Hilarious narratives, inserted in the teleprompter
Tellin' all their bullshit through manufactured melodrama

'Cause it's a cold day in hell again
Unsettlin', feel it in your skeleton
So look alive, look alive
There's a war goin' on outside, no where to hide
I'm wakin' up to this cold day in hell again
Unsettlin', feel it in your skeleton
So look alive, look alive
There's a war goin' on outside, who will survive?
Track Name: A Purpose To Find
Feelin' fatigued, full of exhaust like car fumes
When weary, livin's leery, look for light where dark looms
Fishin' for hope and harpin' on it with harpoons
But months get long and drawn out like cartoons
Painstakin' like makin' claymation
This stop and go life, these days I ain't patient
I think I got issues with defining happiness
As existing in the things that haven't happened yet
Follow photos of old friends in Facebook feeds
Married homeowners posin' with children, livin' their dreams
We're light years apart if lookin' at comparisons
Can't get my shit together, fuckin' embarrassin'
I'm single, 30-somethin', workin' in a warehouse
Keepin' to myself all day and tearin' my hair out
Makin' medical study money, injected with a drug
Givin' blood in a laboratory, pissin' in a cup
Check to check, checkin' amounts in bank accounts
Financial failures, fightin' for funds, fading out
No riches in music unless you're makin' major hits
Sellin' CD's goin' the same way as LaserDiscs
Creatin' success ain't based on creativeness
Craziness, the way we raise a fist just to make it limp
Haven't said a prayer since I became an atheist
Conversatin' with myself to maybe make some sense

Ya know, 'cause, like sometimes it's just hard and doesn't feel like it's ever gonna come together, but

If there's a will, there's a way
There's a path, there's a door, there's a spot, there's a place
If there's a will, there's a way
There's a breath, there's a peace, there's a world that can change
If there's a will, there's a way
There's a chance, there's a shot, there's a gleam, there's a flame
If there's a will, there's a way
There's a purpose to find and a song to be sang

Some cope with dope or get drunk from booze
But there's an emptiness in me I fill with comfort foods
And it goes way past the point of when hunger's soothed
Sharp sadness in my abdomen like puncture wounds
So my fat cranium's creasing a feather pillow
With urges to roll up in a ball like an armadillo
Sheltered in sheets, I grab o' hold of my knees
Anxiety turned anger, heated like macaronni and cheese
Glued to the news like Elmer's
America's divided with sparks flyin' like welders
Lyin' legislators passin' measures, screwin' things up
So depressin', never feelin' like I'm doin' enough
To fight back against these garbage politicians
I mean, I'm supposed to be an artist on a mission
But capitalism got me racin', tryin' to get by
Countin' out my hours, lookin' where I can invest time
Ambitions constricted by conditions
Constructin' our addictions to things that make us victims
People 'round me goin' nuts, chokin' up
Towels soaked in blood from self harm, their arms are showin' cuts
Hearts broken up, busted, disgusted, throwin' up
Teardrops and vomit swirl as toilet bowls are flushed
It's like your goals are just goin' down the drainpipe
And your shine gets reduced to a brake light, but

If there's a will, there's a way
There's a path, there's a door, there's a spot, there's a place
If there's a will, there's a way
There's a breath, there's a peace, there's a world that can change
If there's a will, there's a way
There's a chance, there's a shot, there's a gleam, there's a flame
If there's a will, there's a way
There's a purpose to find and a song to be sang
Track Name: To Dream Or Be Aimless
I'm tellin' ya'll it's a self-sabotage that's sappin' my energy
I don't need to get lit, I am my own worst enemy
I'm tryin' to find a balance between planning longterm
And livin' in the moment because hopelessness does not work
Sometimes I feel like I'm writin' the same tracks
'Cause the same problems keep repeatin' and play back
Humiliated 'cause those close just give the same advice
And I keep procrastinatin' but need to make it right
Some suggesting vegan diets and yoga
Or therapy to unpack my mind on a sofa
'Cause I've had a lot o' history and learned a lot o' lessons
But still I'm second guessin' and assessin' several questions
There's different definitions of success and how it's measured
So I'm stressin' on gettin' to where I want, an obsession
But my best friend told me that I'm overthinkin' it
'Cause I'm weighing solutions with excuses and they're infinite

I contemplate my days and lay inside my home
But I still feel like I've yet to even come into my own
I see brand new constellations, but things keep on oscillatin'
So I'm caught between a constant dream or staying lost and aimless

Some evenings in this cramped bedroom are like solitary confinement
Frequent frustrations buried inside me
I'm adulting now, youthfulness slowly stalling out
Put my all into my callin' as a means to calm me down
It's 2 A.M., one of those no sleep nights
Baskin' in the glow of my iPhone screen's light
Notepad app opened as I concentrate
To document my thoughts again but haven't wrote a song for days
And when you're at a loss for the right words to say
You run the risk of a bunch o' tired cliches
Get nothin' done, wake up in the afternoon
Overwhelmed by the day and all the things I have to do
But it's a new attempt to uproot the monotony
Become another author of an augmented odyssey
And honestly, I just wanna be the kind o' guy
That my younger self would look up to and be inspired by

I contemplate my days and lay inside my home
But I still feel like I've yet to even come into my own
I see brand new constellations, but things keep on oscillatin'
So I'm caught between a constant dream or staying lost and aimless

Yeah, I got a lot o' crushes on girls I'll never ask out
Ironic insecurity has got me trapped now
Always felt out of place in the dating scene
Not used to lockin' lips or smearin' someone's Maybelline
I take long walks while everyone is catchin' z's
Or snugglin' their lover, type o' shit I never see
Burnt out while I'm dining at Noodles & Company
Alone with my anxiety, the usual fuckery
But I'm tryin' to look at problems with a practical view
A lot o' people say they don't give a fuck but they actually do
Vulnerabilities with vacuous vibrations
Revamp my vessel, unveil the vivacious
Airin' out my dirty laundry like a clothesline
'Cause there's inspiration in the pain, it's like a goldmine
We can recontextualize the pieces of our lives
Frame a different picture and give it another side

I contemplate my days and lay inside my home
But I still feel like I've yet to even come into my own
I see brand new constellations, but things keep on oscillatin'
So I'm caught between a constant dream or staying lost and aimless
Track Name: Give Me Somethin'
Infinity ~ Suite on the beat, it's a keeper
Energized, I'm charged like VISA
Ain't got a Bentley, ain't got a Beamer
Ain't that rich but I got me a Kia
I rock a lot o' spots like cheetahs
Blazin' the stage but I don't smoke cheebah
I'm a monster, growin' like Rita
You, you're a jobber, me, I'm like Cena
Storm in and there ain't no FEMA
Respect, put it on me like Vita
DJ, cut it up like pizza
'Cause this here everybody want a piece of
Let's heat up like a fever
I found a gem like an egg on Easter
To hatch me a plan for the jam in your speakers
Swing hips and shake that keister

And give me somethin' I can really move to
Yeah, give me somethin' I can really move to
Give me somethin', give me somethin' I can really move to
'Cause this ain't somethin' that you're used to
(Give me somethin' I can really move to?)
Yeah, give me somethin' I can really move to
Give me somethin', give me somethin' I can really move to
Out with the old and we're in with the new new

Hands high, put 'em up top
'Cause when I rap, man, I snap like a mugshot
Too many rappers, but not enough hot
And they can't flow like a vein with a blood clot
Turn up 'til the mic gets shut off
Shut down every town that I come across
Because I'm the one like Chubb Rock
That you have been waitin' for like a bus stop
I'ma jazz things up like Sun Ra
To go feed what ya need like a lunchbox
It's like Em said, only one shot
So yo, I'm ready to blow like a gun cocked
But enough of the tough talk
Ain't got time for the fake, no love lost
Key to success and it's unlocked
While I get down to the sound as the drums knock

So give me somethin' I can really move to
Yeah, give me somethin' I can really move to
Give me somethin', give me somethin' I can really move to
'Cause this ain't somethin' that you're used to
(Give me somethin' I can really move to?)
Yeah, give me somethin' I can really move to
Give me somethin', give me somethin' I can really move to
Out with the old and we're in with the new new

Yeah, give me somethin'
Get up on the floor
Yeah, give me somethin'
I got a lot in store
Yeah, give me somethin'
Just give me somethin' more
Yeah, give me somethin'
Yeah, yo, just go

And give me somethin' I can really move to
Yeah, give me somethin' I can really move to
Give me somethin', give me somethin' I can really move to
'Cause this ain't somethin' that you're used to
(Give me somethin' I can really move to?)
Yeah, give me somethin' I can really move to
Give me somethin', give me somethin' I can really move to
Out with the old and we're in with the new new

Give me somethin' I can really move to
Yeah, give me somethin' I can really move to
Give me somethin', give me somethin' I can really move to
'Cause this ain't somethin' that you're used to
(Give me somethin' I can really move to?)
Yeah, give me somethin' I can really move to
Give me somethin', give me somethin' I can really move to
Out with the old and we're in with the new new
Track Name: Borrowed Time
Days fleeting, hearts beating but we're livin' to die
Any time, we could all be gone in the blink of an eye
Gunned down, poisoned, hit by a vehicle
Maybe diagnosed with a disease that's untreatable
Paranoid demeanor, live cautious
This life's fragile as a Ming vase is
And when it falls and smashes
Wonder what they'd say within earshot of my casket
Loved ones talkin' of things I accomplished
While I'm layin' lifeless, embalmed with arms crossin'
Will they speak of great feats to aspire to
Or just be like
(He was kind o' cool, it was nice we knew)?
A legacy is not easily made and
It can get snuffed out if ya get too complacent
Heavy thoughts to carry
But a reminder of what I still gotta do before that box is buried

Takin' off from the starting line
We ain't got a lot here, just borrowed time
Gotta make it count, gotta make it last
Gotta do everything you can before they take it back
Takin' off from the starting line
We ain't got a lot here, just borrowed time
Gotta make it count, gotta make it last
Gotta do everything you can, now take it back

In yesteryear friends nearly met their demise
But resisted the reaper who kept 'em alive
I guess it wasn't their time, but then I think about mine
The reality of mortality makin' me sigh
Every breath's a gift I can't devalue
The last thing will be the next thing I outdo
No need to speculate and estimate my fate
Can't waste time with an expiration date
But some break, wishin' for a quick release
Got demons beatin' down their doors with no peace
Even names with fame camouflage their pain
'Til they hang like Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain
But sometimes art we make is the difference between
A life lost too soon or rekindling dreams
Somethin' so powerful it can intervene
To stop someone from puttin' their head in the guillotine

Takin' off from the starting line
We ain't got a lot here, just borrowed time
Gotta make it count, gotta make it last
Gotta do everything you can before they take it back
Takin' off from the starting line
We ain't got a lot here, just borrowed time
Gotta make it count, gotta make it last
Gotta do everything you can, now take it back

Two deaths every second, twice as many births
Might never cause the second, terrified to see the first
And the gloom and shade doesn't illuminate
No return, reachin' the rubicon as I ruminate
What a wild world, our future lookin' dystopian
Truth's hard to swallow, we're gaggin' as we choke on it
Kids can't cope with this, consumin' copious
Amounts of opiates to wall themselves off like Soviets
And I'm seein' my nieces
In a planet that's literally sinkin' and swimmin' through shrinkin' beaches
And there's no bleachin' the blemishes, the bleakness
Is a leadin' reason so many seem to be goin' seedless
A myriad of mirrors, mortified by the reflection
Neurological pathways gettin' congested
Tunin' out the static for reception
To do everything I can before my exit

Takin' off from the starting line
We ain't got a lot here, just borrowed time
Gotta make it count, gotta make it last
Gotta do everything you can before they take it back
Takin' off from the starting line
We ain't got a lot here, just borrowed time
Gotta make it count, gotta make it last
Gotta do everything you can, now take it back

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