Jazio Blaq
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Jazio Blaq


Band Hip Hop R&B


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The best kept secret in music


"The Winonan"

He relaxes in his living room with his computer and keyboard laid out in front of him as if they were part of the coffee table.

Micheal “Jazio” Brako writes, produces, lays tracks and even updates his own website from his home in Winona .

Jazio developed the seriousness for music at age 11, and the determined musician is bringing hip-hop music to Winona State University this Saturday.

His current album, titled “ Jazio Blaq ,” contains everything from reflective mysterious rap to dance-party music to inner feelings of himself.

On the track “Let it go,” he describes the inner struggle of living a moral life while trying to ignore wrong solutions to the difficult situation with the lyrics: “The seconds in my life/supposed to be a lesson/leave me to my blessn’/instead I’m always stressn.’”

The follow-up track “Kwame’s prayer” expresses a subtler side of Jazio with a prayer to God. With a pulsating beat and sounds of an orchestra’s string section, he sings: “If you see me take my hand/pull me out the gutta man/some days I don’t understand/is this part of your plan.”

“The album I have out right now is to introduce my talent. There are a few deep songs on it and a couple of party tracks,” Jazio said. The deep songs he refers to definitely include the tribute to his daughter.

After receiving a disconnected signal and grapevine messages of his daughter’s move while in Florida , Jazio exposes his heart with a song dedicated to his daughter, Tajahya. The soft background beat and heavenly organ music accentuate the lyrics: “Only one to ever love me, miss you for that/now you’re gone like the darkness/I’m living in this world pissed/when you get to hear this/know you’re truly being missed.”

The Baldwin Lounge, in Kryzsko Commons, will get a taste of Jazio with special guest Mista J the Titan, where he plans to give the crowd a taste of his up-and-comings from his next album.

- Ted Evans


The show in the Lower Level at Bub's Bar went great thanks to everybody that came out. It was all set off by Mohs dropping the knowledge and some banging beats, and kept moving the energy with Jazio Blaq and Mista J the Titan who got the crowd hyped up. Next was one of the men responsible for putting everything together, Kamau. He did a great spoken word then freaked everyone out with the help of 7th Streeters Random Thoughts and Energy with "Mad Scientists". Rocking the lab coats was ill, keep the shades on next time too. Ha Ha. 7th Street Coincidence took the stage with force after that. DJ Espada ripped it and got the crowd rockin' with the scratches and bustin' out with the song "Sweet Abigail's Theory". Watch out for the Attn: Willy Project for some more of that.
Luke Geraty and the Soft Focus crew along with Aquaman then killed the show. If anyone missed that you'll regret it. Big ups to Luke Geraty and crew, and to the rest of the performers - 7th Street Coincidence


Although smoke and drink free and most of the students went on their 5 day vacation, everything still seemed to go well. The show got going around 8:30 or so. Jazio Blaq, Mista J, and Kaos got the crowd up and moving once again with their upbeat tracks. That was just a snippet of their set.
Sacred Writes (Kamau & Random Thoughts) came up after that. Kamau did another great spoken word which unfortunately flew over some heads. Then, with the backup of the iron man on the decks Mad Mardigan, they rolled into their set spreading knowledge to some newly-hedz.
After a little confusion 7th St. Coincidence then took the stage again. It was almost a 45 minute thrust of energy. The middle of the set was broken up by a 10 minute freestyle session which the audience loved. Who wouldn't like 3 kids on stage making fun of each other. We tried busting the cherry of the audience with Grab da Mic, but she was a little timid.
Jazio and squad then came back on stage to finish off the show. He did a heart felt track then brought everyone on stage for a full fledged ruckus of bouncing. C'mon BOUNCE.
The show was wrapped up with another open mic freestyle session with a Phife Dog look-a-like who got served up by Winona's best Random Thoughts.

- 7th Street Coincidence 10-10-02

"Winona Daily News"

Winona rapper hopes lyrics will spare kids from his mistakes

By Käri Knutson / Winona Daily News

Instead, Blaq (known as Michael Brako on his birth certificate) draws on his own life experience for his lyrics. And he has had a pretty interesting life to draw on.

Blaq, 2?, of Winona is performing tonight at Club Rhino in La Crosse to celebrate the release of "I’ve Got Something To Say," his latest CD. Also performing are 7th St., Dusty Attics, Sacred Writes and Mysta J the Titan.

Blaq has been rapping since he was 13 but is now at a point where he can reflect on what life has taught him.

"I’ve had numerous people tell me they can relate to particular songs I’ve written," he said. "That’s how I know I’m reaching the peak of my skills and talent."

Blaq was born in Ghana, Africa, and moved to the United States when he was 2 years old. While he doesn’t remember his time there, he hopes to visit Ghana soon.

Blaq’s father, Emanuelle Brako, earned his doctorate while studying in Louisiana and is a microbiology professor at Winona State University. Blaq’s mother, Alice Brako, teaches biology at WSU.

Blaq’s parents always emphasized education, and he is a junior at WSU studying medical technology.

"That’s my backup plan," he said.

Blaq wasn’t always so focused on his future. When he was 17 years old, he pleaded guilty to a felony drive-by shooting charge in Winona and was sentenced to the Minnesota Juvenile Correctional Facility in Red Wing, Minn.

"When all that happened, and I got convicted, I really saw what I didn’t want to happen to me. I had to make the change," Blaq said.

He admits to being rebellious as a teen and looks at the conviction as a true turning point.

"It really gave me time to think of what I wanted to do," Blaq said.

After getting out of juvenile detention, it was hard to find a job in Winona.

"People looked at me differently," Blaq said. "I ended up going to the military. That was the beginning of my transition."

Blaq joined the U.S. Navy and served as a dental technician. Being in the service helped him learn about discipline, responsibility and following the rules.

"It taught me to calm down and grow up," he said. "It changed me a lot."

After his service, he worked at Black House Records in Jacksonville, Fla., learning about promoting and other aspects of the music business.

Last year, he came back to Winona.

"A lot of people expected me to be the same person I was before, but that wasn’t the case," he said. "I have a goal now."

Blaq hopes to reach young people through his music. He knows how lucky he is to have gotten through his life’s low points and hopes he can be a worthy role model. His advice to young people is simple.

"Think of the future. If they have plans and goals they want to get to, you’re not going to get to them if you’re confined," he said.

Blaq realizes his mistakes have affected many other people, which he didn’t think about at the time. He is grateful his parents have been there to support him.

"It helps so much. You never knew how your parents could be so much of an influence on how you develop your future," he said.

Despite his past, Blaq now is focused on his future.

"It’s not haunting me at all."

On Sunday in Omaha, Neb., Blaq won an award from the Midwest Entertainment Music Association for Best Unsigned Artist in the genre of hip-hop/rap, spoken word, reggae and ska.

"It’s just the beginning," he said. "I told myself, that’s the first one, not the last one."

Besides his music, Blaq is working on designing clothes as well as developing other artists. Between school, work and his music, he keeps busy.

"Music calms me down and gives me focus and a dream," he said. "I want to see me get there."

Käri Knutson can be reached at kknutson@winonadailynews.com and at (507) 453-3523.

- Kari Knutson


The World Is Mine (EP) 1998

Jazio Blaq (EP) April 2002

I've Got Something To Say (20 song LP) July 2003
-"Hollywood Here I Come" KQAL Minnesota
-"House Party" SE Minnesota & SW Wisconsin Region Clubs
--streaming available at http://www.cdstreet.com/artists/jazioblaq


Feeling a bit camera shy


The 1st Annual Midwest Entertainment Music Awards (2003 -Indepedent/Unsigned Artist Hip Hop Genre) reciepient Jazio Blaq is heading for the top!!

Who Is He?
Jazio is in a category of his own. Born in Ghana Africa, and raised in the south (Louisiana & Alabama), he has developed a unique style with his new 20 track album showing his true talent of versatility. 2 something year old Jazio has been working the independent music scene seriously since the age of 13. Raised in a strict household, Jazio always searched for ways to get what he wanted. His experiences have given him the chance to touch many others relating to him. Jazio explains himself as a content, humble individual who likes being in the company of his closest friends and 6 yr. old daughter. Do not let the location of where he resides fool you. Being the rebellious, black sheep of the family, he took it upon himself to go around the states in hopes to make it in music. Trouble always seemed to follow him. He does not claim to be a gang banger, hard core type rapper. Though he associated with them as he was growing, he stayed an individual with the reason of distrust of many people. At age 15 he became popular to the Minnesota police for joy riding auto theft to possession of drugs. On his senior year last semester of high school, he was arrested for the involvement of a drive by shooting where he was one of the first people of Minnesota to be place on Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction. It meant he was served with a juvenile term along with probation which stated if violated, he would serve his adult time. During his stay in Juvenile Detention, he saw confinement would keep him from his dream and was the start of his change of ways. Shortly after his release from detention, most of his peers where raided and sent away. With a child on the way, he decided to join the military with hopes to collect money to start his own studio label. Immediately after discharge, he apprenticed at Black House University Records (Jacksonville, FL) with James Bailey. Jazio possessed multi-talented skills in web design, graphic layout, engineering, writing, recording, producing, rapping, and even chess! As bad luck seemed to surround Jazio, he found himself going downhill and having to move back to Minnesota to pursue school where his father taught. Before he moved to Minnesota, he took 1 week to produce a 9 song album to sell in Minnesota. Success in the little town of Winona started to bring his life back together. It would not be long until he started doing shows to be heard. He faced difficulties because of the area of his location which was 95 % white. While he didn’t let that hold him back, he saw it as a test that if a different culture liked him, why wouldn’t the rest of the nation. Selling over 400 CD’s in the town of 25,000 people earned him respect by his peers and family as well as other independent artists in the radius of 30 miles. One year later (presently) he released a 20 song album with a plan to be the door for independent artists in the region who hope to be discovered but see slim chances because of location. Jazio has been in numerous news papers, performed for fund raising events, and now quickly making a name in the Midwest Region. Since his album release (July 21, 2003), he has been invited to the ASCAP Billboard Awards in late August, accepted as a performer for the Midwest Entertainment Industry Conference in Colorado in November, contacted by independent film company, WarLord Films for permission of his music, as well as other numerous opportunities. He has stated that once he has sold 1,000 CD’s independently, he will move to the city to rent space and build a studio inside for business. He will also be negotiating deals with select clothing stores to sponsor him. Jazio keeps it down to earth as he sees his success rising. He states that he can never forget where he came from and is far from being egotistical though he is becoming the regions hottest local act. He stays single so that he may concentrate on fulfilling a dream well worked hard for. He enjoys hand to hand sales, flagging riders down with "banging" systems to let them hear his music to sell them. “It’s a challenge and when they buy, I know I’m getting hotter because my turndown rate is very very low!” He says he also enjoys being noticed in other areas he does not live in. His focus is to slowly lock local areas down as the hottest local artist and then to explode into the radio and TV’s of the nation. His music does not speak of violence, killing, and the stereotypical genre of music catered to his appearance and life lived. He likes to write music that he feels somebody is going through. “I’m not scared to throw a little of my sensitivity in ‘cuz we’re all humans. I just can’t get too soft on it though. The music is chemistry and I am developing the tightest formulas to make my CD marketable”. After numerous shows and a certain amount of CD’s