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Sir The Baptist Shares His Saint and His Sinner

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There’s a new artist on the block, and his name is Sir The Baptist. He recently released his debut LP Saint or Sinner, and it’s amazing. 

I recently had the chance to chat with Sir about his project, his song and relationship with Brandy, his views on Gospel and much more.

Sir The Baptist: What’s happening man?

I’m good. How are you.

Sir The Baptist: I’m great.

That’s really good. So let’s get into this project. Your debut LP Saint or Sinner was released on May 12th, and I’m in love. It’s an amazing project. What was your inspiration behind the album?

Sir The Baptist: You have it from a micro lens and a macro lens. When you’re up close on it, it’s just trying to relate to people as much as possible. You’re giving your story and risking your truth to connect to someone else’s story and truth. From a macro prospective, I was going through what a lot of greats from the church went through. Aretha Franklin was turned from the church because her dad was a pastor. She was told she wouldn’t be able to sing. She was damned and people were told if you listen to Aretha you’re going to hell. If you listen to Michael, you’re going to hell. They weren’t quite worldly enough to be in the world and be crazy. They had this balance, and for some, it took them to death. Like Michael and James Brown, it took them to death becoming really hard. Through the lens, now I’m able to really see like, “Wow. This is really tough to balance your Saint and your Sinner part in you, your higher and your lower self. It’s the most complex thing, but if you can balance it you can become a wholistic person.” That was the whole thing behind the album. Spending time trying to make Hip-Hop listeners more Wwholistic.

Wow. Now before doing your album you were working in advertising in Chicago. How has that influenced the way you present your art?

Sir The Baptist: When I worked at Leo Burnett, I had to do commercials, marketing and digital marketing. I would have to look at a screen, see a brand and be able to create a culture through it through music. After doing that for billion dollar companies, I said I wanted to do that for the culture. I did a commercial for this company. I won’t say the name, but they wanted to play off of kid’s sexuality. It was the most disgusting thing ever. It was after that I realized that I had to get out of this business pretty soon. They use music to push people to buy. If you go into any restaurant, any shopping mall, there’s music playing around. It’s called shopping music: Music with frequencies that will push the brain to desire. So I knew that if I was to add anything to the industry, music or the culture, it would be to fix the fact that they’ve prostituted frequencies to get us to do what they want. Sorry if that was heavy.

No, not heavy at all. I know a lot of artists pull from their past experiences, particularly their hardships, to create their dynamic music. There’s a period of time you said before where you were homeless. Has that period of time been beneficial to your career?

Sir The Baptist: Yeah. It taught me that I may not have a home. Even right now I’m homeless, but I have money to afford a home. I went from homeless to homeless with money. (laughs) That’s it. It taught me to appreciate the fact that you have family, friends and places where you want to go see people, but my home has become wherever God sends me. Wherever Hip-Hop needs me, that’s where I need to be. It’s hard, because it’s a hotel every night, but it’s better than sleeping in a car.  

Right.

Sir The Baptist: Yeah, because that’s where I was sleeping at for a while. I would drive Lyft, pull over, sleep in the car for six hours and then keep going. 

Photo: Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Wow. Can we get deeper into this project? Because I have some favorites. And there are some features that I feel like are super, super dope. Now I hope I don’t get in trouble for say this, but Donald Lawrence and Company might be the best group of singers in the world. 

Sir The Baptist: First of all, you’re the man for saying for that because they are.

Laughs

Sir The Baptist: It doesn’t get any better than Donald Lawrence. There’s nobody in the Gospel industry that compares to his spiritual connection and his enlightenment. Intellectually, he knows what the hell he’s doing. It’s crazy.

So what was it like working with them on your project?

Sir The Baptist: It was amazing. When we were in the studio like last night — I’m doing this new thing called Sermons and Services. The songs will be like forty minutes long. It’s like 100 something singers in the room, and we’re just like going. He was there last night working on it. The guy is a genius. He’s not just Gospel. He studied Classical.  He’s really focused on musicals. He was in theater before he did Gospel. He’s not that screaming ‘aaaaahhhhh’ choir. It has a thought behind it. It has a process behind it. The dude is a genius. He’s my big brother. He recruited great vocalists for my album, and I’m working on his album. And we may be working on some stuff with some big names in Gospel that I’m surprised want to work with my heathen ass. 

Laughs

Sir The Baptist: We’re working. (laughs) That dude’s a genius.  

He is. So in an interview with Vibe when asked why you didn’t just do Gospel, you responded saying it’s because Gospel is wack. With the church’s obvious influence on your album, I wanted to know if that’s your view on the genre as a whole or you doing the Gospel genre?

Sir The Baptist: Me doing the Gospel genre would be wack. On the other hand, I think Gospel is wack. The reason I think Gospel is wack is because they haven’t been able to keep up with the times. That’s why we don’t rock with it. We don’t rock with Gospel because they don’t want to be honest. They want to say, “Lord I’m sorry.”  No my n*gga say, “I went out last night, had too much to drink, came to the crib, got into an argument with my girl, punched a wall and then walked out.” And I’m sorry, but that’s what you should say in your song. Don’t hide the brutal part of your truth to make you look like a Saint. 

Alright. Now your song “Deliver Me” with Brandy gave me so much life.  

Sir The Baptist: See. It was brutally honest.

(laughs) I found myself screaming sing so many times. I wanted to take my shoe off and throw it at my phone. It’s ridiculous.

Sir The Baptist: (laughs/scream)

(laughs) So what was it like making that track? I know Brandy posted some videos of her singing on Instagram a couple months back. Once I heard the track I was like, “Oh that was from this.” Everyone was already going crazy when she posted those vocals, but the finished product is out of this world. It’s definitely my favorite track off the album.

Sir The Baptist: Bruh, thank you man. Thank you. That’s a testimony song. That’s about my sister. Brandy released her vocals because when a producer gets to it, he can change what he wants and shift things around. She’s really particular about her vocals. For me, I wanted her to tell the story. You get Full Moon Brandy. You get old school Brandy. You get R&B Brandy with smooth vocals and craziness, but we hadn’t really got one like this. That’s one vocal. That’s just her. That’s not background around her. That’s just one vocal singing out a prayer that most women understand and most men would like to say sorry for. It was a big moment, and it was a big moment in Hip-Hop. I know people don’t want to consider that Hip-Hop, but that’s a Hip-Hop song. That’s why I mentioned it. In Hip-Hop you have to have multiple girls, and I just want to say I’m sorry. I’m trying to change the culture. They won’t give that a Hip-Hop Grammy, which is sad, but that’s who it’s for. 

The track definitely deserves a Grammy. 

Sir The Baptist: Yeah. I think they’re going to put it in Gospel or Inspirational which is okay too. I guess if it goes to Gospel it will at least teach some Gospel artists to be a little bit more honest.

Oh my God. Whew. So the internet is ablaze about you and the Vocal Bible. Are the masses’ interpretation of you and Brandy’s Instagram posts about each other correct?

Sir The Baptist: You got to ask Stevie Wonder.  

(laughs)

Sir The Baptist: (laughs) That’s not a blind joke. He’s the only person I’ve shared it with. Maybe I’ll post it sometime, but he’s the only person I’ve shared that with. I’ll give you my number, and if I post it, I’ll text it to you as well.

That’s super cool. Now you have a book coming out. Can you tell me about that?

Sir The Baptist: Yeah man. That’s important. I’m republishing a book I did titled “The Travel Logger of a Visionary.” This book is the blueprint of how vision changed my life. I was able to sit down and take vision, take it really, really serious and change my life around. From homelessness to a household name, people are starting to really understand what I’m trying to do. You have to pair what you want to do for the culture and what you’re called to do. It’s an amazing thing, and it’s going to come out pretty soon. I’m also doing a coloring book for kids which is super, super dope. It’s going to be fun.

Yeah. I’m excited for your future and your career. I definitely have to make it a point to see you live.

Sir The Baptist: My man! See, there you go! The crazy part is that we’re about to release these services. It’s like broadcast. I don’t know if you’re really from the church. Broadcasts are like…

Laughs

Sir The Baptist: You know what broadcast is?

Yes.

Sir The Baptist: Yeah bro, it’s about to be like broadcast. It’s going to be a great moment. It’s only one or two takes at the most, and we put it out the next day. Even if you don’t get a chance to see me live, which I hope you do, — I go overseas for the summer. By the time I get back, it’s Essence and a few other things, then I’m gone. — I’ll send you over some services. And you’ll get a chance to hear us live. 

I’m excited to hear that. Now before we wrap things up, can you give me five adjectives to describe you presently.

Sir The Baptist: How about I use five songs to explain where I’m at?

Okay.

Sir The Baptist: (first) I’m currently Raising Hell. (second) Delivering myself. (third) So that God, when she gets here, that I treat her right. (fourth) I’m choosing Heaven instead of all that I’ve been through being a (fifth) Saint and a Sinner. 

That was very creative. I love all of those tracks.

Sir The Baptist: (laughs)

Especially “Heaven.” Like they’re singing for no reason at all.

Sir The Baptist: Let me tell you something. Stevie Wonder teared up on “Heaven.”  

Wow.

Sir The Baptist: Sitting there, he teared up. I don’t think people understand what this album is. It’s not because I made it. God could’ve used any vessel. The thing is, you have to understand what they went through. Stevie Wonder went through a moment where he could not go to the church to perform. Spiritually, the pull between that person can leave them so compartmentalized, that some of them have taken their own lives. These are the greats you’re talking about. Straight out the church. For them to hear heaven, it gives them a chance to say Michael Jackson may not be going to hell. He may be moonwalking and went and saw Jesus. Prince may have met the King. This is the moment where the greats don’t feel demonized.

Yeah.

Sir The Baptist: I guess if I had threw on 12 chains and had a bunch of hoes around with their clothes off pouring liquor degrading them, then they would love that song. Stevie cried on that song bro. 

That’s deep and it says a lot, but your album definitely speaks for itself.

Sir The Baptist: Thank you. That’s God work. With cursing in it, it’s still God’s work. (laughs)

It was a pleasure to chat with Sir. The album is great. Our views of Gospel may differ, but everyone is definitely entitled to their own opinion.

Michelle Williams and Keke Wyatt are other great features. They are both sang-ing.

Sir asked me to share his number for anyone to text him about his album or anything. He calls it Textify, a play off of testifying. His number is (213) 999-7049.

Saint or Sinner is available on all major digital music outlets. 

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Bryant Smith

Bryant Smith is the founder and owner of The Top Tea.

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