Jenko, Belizean MC to the bone! Officially came on the scene as one third of the Belizean hip hop group called the Henchmob in the late 90’s, opening shows for international artists like Lady Saw, Beenie Man, Mr. Vegas and Sean Paul that were headlining in Belize. He’s also known for the hit with Aziatic “Chatty Chatty”. Currently, Jenko spits socially conscious lyrics as the lead vocalist in the NYC hip hop metal band called A Broken Code which was reviewed by www.reverbnation.com as “A BROKEN CODE – RAP METAL OUTFIT: Finally, a band with the intensity of those who did this genre best, Rage Against The Machine. Front man Jenko spits socially conscious lyrics over dope drum beats, wicked metal riffs and roaring baselines, a must see live. Their forefathers Anthrax and Public Enemy would be proud to see these guys bring the noise.”
A Broken Code has shared the stage with the likes of Ninjasonik, Bazaar Royale, Keith Murray, Cornel West, Viva Mayday, Lil’ Cease, Mirk and Game Rebellion to name a few. They have also been featured in the Ghetto Metal section of The Source Magazine. Their album “Retribution for the afflicted” is available digitally through itunes. Recent projects for Jenko as a solo artist include the local release of his “Anthology” album which is a collection of the songs he’s made from through 1999 to brand new songs of present day… But lets back track a bit….Who is Jenko…
I first met the shy boy with ‘puss eye’ while helping out as an organizer with the Young Artist Association sometime in the late 1990… 98 I think.. A haven for talented youths back in the late 90’s to early 2000 and headed by William Neal, Neil Hall and Arthur Usher, this organization was where Jenko started; rapping with the group Optimistic Views, then The Henchmob which also featured fellow artists Andazi & G-Kidd. The Henchmob was instrumental for Jenko in many ways, one of which was, it was the vehicle he used to launch a fully ‘local talent’ concert.
With hits like Oxygen which chronicled the struggles, frustrations and hopes of a young Belizean, Jenko spoke of the frustration he felt ‘seeing my people struggling for their whole lives…until they die’ he urged those who believed in their dreams to ‘get up, get outside and see opportunities …’ echoing that they should throw their hands up in the ‘Oxygen’ and grab these opportunities. A very mature view for the soft spoken, playful young man who at the time was just in 6th form. But you see, Jenko or Jenko Veli as he is also known, was one of those people who were always ahead of the curb; ahead of his time. As a young artist, he didn’t do ‘typical Belizean music’ but that didn’t make his music any less Belizean. Even though, there was no Calypso or Punta beat or even a good soca rhythm, Jenko rides his hip hip and metal rhythms with a lyrical flow that rivals anyone in the music industry locally or internationally; transitioning smoothly from, Kriol to English to patwar and back again with the ease of a seasoned professional.
Language aside, he kept it conscious and focused on issues that affected not just him but all Belizeans, that is still true as is echoed in his single Black Guayabera. Speaking on issues like violence, unemployment and just about everything else, Jenko does it in a way you’ve just never heard before. When you meet him in person, the persona presented on stage is a stalk contrast to the humble soft spoken young man that he is, I’ll refrain from using his ‘government name’ as he calls it as he says he is not a fan of it…we’ll stick to Jenko as that was the nick name given to him as a child by one of his brothers who has since passed on to the next life…
Definitely not a one trick pony, he keeps coming up with ways to get not only himself noticed on the local music scene, but to help other artists as well. With the formation of his Text Request army he would notify fans through facebook posts when the radio stations are playing local music and which ones to text your requests to giving equal attention to not just his music, but to that of his brothers and sisters in the struggle to get equal air play like international artists.
Speaking of Black Guayabera, working together with Youth Voices & Global Parish, Jenko launched the Strong Youth Tour in the summer of 2012. Through the Strong Youth Tour, Jenko along with fellow artist Nello Player joined forces to do a series of free concerts for various Belize City high schools with the purpose of contributing to the empowerment of youth by promoting the value life despite the increasing loss of due to violent crimes;that the voice of local talents can counter the negative messages being imported through popular music and media and that youth and young artists have extraordinary talent and can participate in the cultural sector at a level comparable to international artists. The concert series culminated on September 1st, 2012 with the Black Guayabera Concert which also featured artists Denise Castillo & Jackie Castillo, backed by the rock band The Remaining.
Q: Who are some of your artistic inspirations?
A: Sade (my wife) and Bob Marley for their creation of timeless music.
Q: Do you always know what you’re going to create when you begin, or do
you sometimes just wing it?
A: For the most part, I create songs knowing exactly what I’d like the music
to sound like as well as the direction I want the lyrics to take
Q: Do you have a most personal piece that you created?
A: My most personal piece is called “beyond malice” by my NYC band A Broken Code
Q: If a kitchen appliance replaced one of your arms, which arm would
be replaced by what appliance?
A: My right arm (I’m a lefty) cause I don’t use it much. I’d replace it with a
pot spoon sized spork cause its about as capable as my right hand is. lol
Q: What’s your favorite fashion trend or item of clothing?
A: Mi khakis cargo kamo pants and mi clarks. I midi wear clarks before Vybz
Kartel made it popular.
Q: Who would you most want to buy your work?
A: At a stage now where i think music should be free.
Q: If you could control the thermostat in your life, what temperature
would your world be?
A: A cool sixty degrees.
Q: If you could dance with one celebrity, who would you dance with?
A: Ciara. That girl could dance!!! I could learn some moves.
Q: Who is your biggest personal influence in your life?
A: Martin Luther King Jr. because of his use of a non violent method in
fighting injustice. His not using the same force his enemies used against
him. His grasp of the bigger picture. His persistence. His public speaking
Q: If you could create a piece for one person, who would it be?
A: Already did one for Sade. Part 2 will be for Aaliyah.
Q: What was the last song you listened to this morning?
A: Actually just listened to a battle rap tournament between Canibus &
Dizaster. Can you believe Canibus lost?
Q: What is the one thing that you wished everyone knew about you?
A: I wish everybody knew that in my former life i was a rogue Samurai
going village to village helping good people and slashing though evil
doers with surgical preciseness.