Photo via publicist

Photo via publicist

Meet Sir the Baptist. Divine. Spiritual. Sanctified. A Christian R&B artist, the Baptist is one of hip-hop’s few holistic lyricists.  Using hip-hop as a tool to influence those who would ordinarily not want to seek help, he provides tales of honesty, love, joy, pain, truth and enlightenment. Born and raised in South Side Chicago, the Baptist released his first album PK (Preacher’s Kid) in 2016. Living proof of the power music has over our lives, expect his second album Saint or Sinner to be released this April.

MITD: Every artist has a public image. Who is Sir The Baptist when the cameras are off?

Sir The Baptist: I’m like a philosopher in some sort of way, you know? It’s kinda weird. When I’m not in front of the cameras or on stage. I’m always contemplating my perception and my effect on the culture. So like-- I'm always thinking and focusing on how and what the culture needs from me.

MITD: Ok, so you jumped from driving for Lyft to performing at Lollapalooza and now Broccoli City Fest. What's been the best part about blowing up as fast you did?

Sir The Baptist: I get to go back to those jobs and be more effective. See, the thing that most Fortune 500 companies don’t know is that they limit the possibility of their company by limiting the possibility of the people they hire. I don't understand why you would hire someone and limit them to what you think their capacity is. So like, you know, for example, Atlantic and I are more so partners than we are like an employer/employee. I’m not clocked in right now. I’m just doing my part in fulfilling what we believe is a potential music journey, you know? So yeah, every company I left, I went back to. Leo Burnett-- I was Director of Digital Marketing with Rodney Jerkins and Darryl Jones, one of the top-- in fact let me look it up, but I actually think it's number one, in the United States, for marketing agencies. I recently went back and it’s just a different conversation now, you know? Working at Leo Burnett, it’s just a different conversation now when I go in. Now, spending time with Lyft, it’s a different conversation. We are able to expand the possibilities of my involvement. So, I think more than anything, going back and being involved in a way that takes the limits off is the most exciting thing ever.

MITD: Any bad parts?

Sir The Baptist: Yeah, i kinda thought I would fall in love with having attention. Now it makes me a little nervous. I got in a Lyft the other day and the driver had already screenshot my picture and posted it on Facebook. I was a little nervous and like “Whooaaa!” I thought I would be more excited about that type of stuff. Now it makes a little nervous for my personal family and stuff, but other than that, I try to keep as much public as possible as far as giving my personal phone number out to everyday people. So, it’s not so bad!

MITD: The creative process can be very ritualistic. What’s yours like?

Sir The Baptist: I’m in the studio. I’m sitting there. We’re talking about what matters to each other. Whether the engineer is there, somebody that just happens to be there, someone I maybe invited from a random place-- which I always do, and we’re just sitting there and we’re talking about what matters to the world and how to adjust it in a way the world can take it in. Sometimes you can be so over-deep or you can be over-focused on the healthy things that people don't wanna listen to it, you know? So, we just sit, smoke, drink, and talk about the important things in life.

MITD: Name an artist that changed your perspective on music?

Sir The Baptist: C.S. Lewis. But, should give you someone that’s a little more popular?

MITD: No way! You can give us whoever you want. C.S. Lewis is dope.

Sir The Baptist: You actually know who C.S. Lewis is?

MITD: We do.

Sir The Baptist: That’s crazy. It wasn't until recently I started studying really hard. Like, to be honest with you, I’m more of a scientist when it comes down to this stuff. So, I'm not rockin’ chains and hangin’ at the parties to get my lyrics. I’m like studyin’ and puttin’ pieces together. My walls are full of sticky notes and stuff like that. But recently I realized my life was more aligned with C. S. Lewis and a lot of other people. So yeah.

MITD: He was definitely an amazing writer with a dope spirit.  Any particular work of his that stands out to you?

Sir The Baptist: I like the fact that he can do something that can be as digestible as a children’s book, or The Chronicles of Narnia, but also do something like Mere Christianity, that focuses on religion. So I honestly, like-- I think we share a synergy that could help a culture, if they really take in who Sir The Baptist really is.

MITD: Well hopefully you can shed some light on who C.S. Lewis really was, because yeah he writes children’s books, but his works speak to adults as well. Loudly.

STB: Absolutely.

MITD: So, you touched on it a little, but what has been the most difficult part of being in the music industry?

Sir The Baptist: [Laughs] The attention towards nonsense. So, I have to do my fair share of dumbing down and mentioning my lower-self in order to introduce people to my higher self. For example, I have to mention how much weed I smoke in order for us to talk about the deeper things when we smoked. Or, I have to mention that you have a good heart behind your nice tits in order to get you to realize you have a good heart.

MITD: Wow. That’s so real.

Sir The Baptist: So, I’m sort of finding out that I can bend the science of what I learned at Leo Burnett to play this “popular” game, but also not lose my consciousness. That’s kinda complicated right now, but I think I'm mastering it. My A&R is really helping me to master what that is, and umm I'm grateful for it. Like--yeah. It’s tasking, but you find the joy in it when you don't change your perspective, but you make it digestible for the kids.

MITD: What part has been the most fun?

Sir The Baptist: I get to meet my idols! I get to meet Jay-Z. I get to open it up for Beyoncé. I run into Lauryn Hill or just people I think are totally dope. I was at the  Birth of a Nation and got to hang out with Nas for a second. You get a chance to meet these people, and perform! Performing is so much fun to me because I get to do it almost as if I'm in church, so it is so much fun. Enjoying people. That’s the party after hours or recording, studying, and all that. You get to just have fun.

MITD: What’s one of your guilty pleasures?

Sir The Baptist: I’m tryna think. I’ve cut down on smoking as much. I smoke a lot. Drinking. Geez. I need more guilty pleasures!

MITD: Hahaha! You're good. Don’t add too many.

Sir The Baptist: Yeah, everything else is just focusing on purpose, mission, and music.

MITD: That’s definitely what’s up. Ok, imagine: you've had the career every artist dreams about. You leave the world. You’re reincarnated. What would come back as?

Sir The Baptist: Whoa. I would come back as, wow. I’ve never thought about that. Geez. Hmm, ok. I got it. I would come back as a frequency.

MITD: That’s an awesome answer. Why?

Sir The Baptist: Frequencies are the most important thing in the world. For example, your heart rate and everything else in the world is based on a frequency. Frequencies are actually the most expensive things and the thing that you actually can't buy. Like-- if you try to buy a radio station, it’s kinda hard right now. And right now we are talking thrust frequency. That’s the reason we can hear each other. I would wanna be a frequency, close to the frequency of 432, which is a healing frequency that music was once distributed at. Now, it’s different frequency. But yeah, I would wanna be a frequency that could bring healing and better communication and a cure for the world.

MITD: WOW. What an answer. Thanks for that.

Sir The Baptist: By the way, I’ve never even thought of that. That was pretty cool!

MITD: Well, we’re glad you liked it! Ok, let’s switch things up a bit. There has been a major shift in the socio-political climate, globally. How are you currently feeling about the temperature in America?  

Sir The Baptist: You know what? I’m actually working on something right now. As I prepare to hit the road touring overseas and explaining America to the world-- which thinks we’re idiots-- I believe there's a deeper thing that's going on with us and we just have to figure it out. I think it’s also tied to religion and politics. The reason why Trump can reach middle America…like if he says “Jesus” or a prayer before something, then we totally forget that he’s an idiot. Also. I believe there is something still in the politics of religion that don't think women should be able to speak in public. Or, become presidents. I think there's a deeper issue that has to be dealt with that hasn't been dealt with since Nixon that we have to think about. It’s deeply rooted in this whole “religion taking your rights” sort of thing. Same thing they did to African-Americans when they brought them over water. So yeah, I think it's connected to religion. I just really gotta hone into it and communicate that to people who have been robbed of their rights.

MITD: Broccoli City is all about community and giving back. If you had to pick two artists to head a community service project, who would you pick and what would you do?

Sir The Baptist: I would love to do something with Jay-Z and Warren Buffet. Our thing would be to pick a neighborhood. Minority. A community. Actually, just one block, and both sides of the block. I’d put a gate around it, and have them buy into that block. We’d make it a gated community and begin to build “black economics”-- the same way it was for Black Wallstreet. We would try to build education and all of that sort of stuff and try to expand the gates as we perfect the idea of what it is. That’s what I would love to do.

MITD: That’s amazing. We hope you get the opportunity to do so! Ok, so one of the  goals of the Broccoli City Festival is to redefine cool by educating urban millennials on how to create urban, resilient, thriving communities.  Growing up in Chicago, Illinois, what do you believe your community needed more of to become sustainable?

Sir The Baptist: I think ummm-- and this is about to sound hella cool-- I think we need to “buy back the block, ” like I was previously saying. I think to become more sustainable we need to not give money to organizations that have already let us down, but to gather more money and build sustainable opportunities for our communities. Specifically in Chicago, we need that because the system has let us down a lot. It’s almost best to take whatever we can give to our community and build instead of making someone else responsible.

MITD: Your ideas are so intruiging! So the MITD and Broccoli City readers keep up with all you have going on, what’s next for Sir the Baptist?

Sir The Baptist: You know what? This album! It’s really something. Like-- I can't explain to you just how out of body, focused on community, focused on market and where to place these different messages-- this album, you really have to take a listen to it. You have songs like “Prayers on a Picket Sign,” and other songs like “God is on Her Way,” that totally break the norm and the boundary of what hip-hop in American music and culture is. So, I’m gonna be campaigning that for the rest of this year and really focusing on what some of the things I try to implement to the culture with lyrics and direction. I can’t wait for you all, and everybody at Broccoli City to really get a chance to listen to it. I think it’s culturally shifting and I’ve put everything into it hoping to make that shift in the community. It's gonna take a lot of work. So, I’m gonna work on that as if I’m running for president.

MITD: Well, we are sure you’re gonna have a lot of support, because the world is in need of something. Hopefully we find it soon. We are super grateful for your words today. Anything else you wanna share with the world?

STB: Yeah. I am looking for as much help as possible, you know? Anybody out there that’s willing to help, willing to be involved in shifting the culture, through this post I would like you to give them my email and my personal phone number.

MITD: You have our support! You are embarking on a serious movement and we want to help you get your message to the world.

Sir The Baptist: ABSOLUTELY. That would be lovely. Thank you so much! Give the world my information. I don't care about that stuff. I really want to, as much as possible, bring the world closer to what this music culture really is.

MITD: We are wishing you the best and can’t wait to meet you at the Broccoli City Fest! From MITD and Broccoli City, we thank you.

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Catch him at #BCFest2017 and cop your tickets now!