JenRO is a recognizable figure in her South San Francisco neighborhood: navy-blue bandana folded over her forehead, tattoo of the Golden Gate Bridge scrawled across her right forearm, pants baggy enough to hide her slight, 5'3" frame. She answers her cell phone with the sharpness and urgency of a numbers runner, spitting her habitual greeting three times in a row: "What's the deal, what's the deal, what's the deal?"
"Typical San Francisco-reared gangstress" might be your first impression of JenRO, until you see the random collection of objects scattered around her bedroom: a furry zebra-striped bedspread, a Pride calendar with dates scribbled in permanent marker, a desk cluttered with cologne, amps, lava lamps, empty Pueblo Viejo bottles, CDs from Jen's favorite artists in rap, merengue, and reggaeton. Most noticeable of all, though, are the baby-blue walls covered with images of the standard-bearers of West Coast gangsta rap: Equipto, Snoop Dogg, Playa Rae, Tupac, San Quinn, Messy Marv, Killa Tay, and – larger than all of them – her name spray-painted in black graffiti letters.
It's not unusual for a 21-year-old newbie MC to situate herself in a pantheon of big names. What's striking about JenRO, though, is her inclination to mix the different sides of her personality, making the seemingly disparate worlds she inhabits – queer, Latina, gangsta – all of a piece. On her debut album, "Hate it or Love it," which is dropping the end of July 2006, she spits lyrics about everything from street hustles to hooking up with fly girls. Watching her take the stage in settings as far removed from each other as San Francisco Pride and San Quentin prison – where Jen has performed with the nonprofit anti-gang organization United Playaz – you wonder how easy it is for a queer female artist to embrace the contradictions of her sexuality and her gangsta consciousness, and express them in a genre whose penchant for misogynistic and homophobic lyrics seems like a prohibition against women in general, and queer women in particular. But JenRO enjoys pushing the limits of the medium, and she looks at the labels others might use to describe her with a blend of ambivalence and disregard. Ultimately, she insists, "I choose to say who I really am." And if her honesty means she can't front like a mack daddy, she's not worried – she's got plenty more to say.
(Edited From Bitch Mag)