When an MC explodes on the scene as forcefully as Diverse did back in 2001 with his “Move” EP, observers usually want to check the credentials. Who was this little jit? Why as a new artist getting so much shine for a debut EP?
Well, Kenny "Diverse" Jenkins is from Chicago, baby. For most of the '90s, the 27¬year-old was rocking shows and working on an unreleased album, “Starving Masses.” But he was also working at the post office, trying to make ends meet. "It wasn't a priority of mine to put music out," he says.
Enter Chocolate Industries impresario Seven, who was introduced to Diverse during a performance. Seven thrust the young MC into deeper waters by releasing his “Move” EP in 2001 and introducing him to "Hotlanta" producer Prefuse 73, Later, he enlisted Diverse for a recording session with Mos Def and Prefuse at El-P's Brooklyn apartment that yielded "Wylin' Out," one of the best singles of 2002.
Now comes Diverse's
full-length debut “One A.M.” On the LP he bangs out tracks with
Prefuse and RJD2, lacing the beats with his trademark flurry of
run-on sentences and stop-start rhyme schemes. The music proves
that Diverse is an experienced MC capable of writing engaging
songs with solid hooks. "There's not a lot of professions where
you do what you consider your life's work and then you turn it
over to somebody else for them to judge it,” he notes with a wary
eye towards the heads checking for “One A.M.” "But I appreciate
By: Mosi Reeves
Photo: Chris Eichenseer