Check out Sir the Baptist this summer at Lollapalooza.
For more info, check out his website http://sirthebaptist.com
We all know that religiously strict families birth the worst rebels. This cross-cultured fact has become the creative fingerprint of Sir the Baptist and the inescapable thought of religion across the globe explains why this is an emerging artist with a universal market. Sir the Baptist is an Indie American Renaissance Artist. If 2Pac was our first urban prophet, Sir is our first glimpse at an urban hymnist with that same ghetto gospel.
In the 1950’s Ray Charles was rebuked by the church for bringing gospel music to the secular/pop world with his hit song, “I Got a Woman”; Sir is the second coming of that twisted faith. He’s a game-changing fusion artist that incorporates both the secular and sacred – with a message that’s refreshingly progressive, delightfully innovative, and sometimes unapologetically necessary for today’s socio-political climate. Nevertheless, Sir is the best of hip-hop’s aggressiveness, just with a crooner’s effortless charm that paints the provoking imagery of a sinner who juggles desire for salvation and plotted bad habits.
Sir the Baptist, legally William James Stokes, was born at the gateway of Jazz Heaven Bronzeville on the near South Side of Chicago. Sir’s parents were Christian Apologist Dr. James Benton and Mission Ambassador Patricia Ann. The mystique of his artistry is connected to the memories of his father’s sermons and the Chicago crime and drug infested ghetto. Even with that being the modern day Chicago, Bronzeville’s culture was a rich musical community with a historic legacy of jazz and soul. His neighbors’ residue was his inspiration. Ella Fitzgerald played there often. So did Lena Horne, Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole, along with countless others with their Bronzeville homes preserved as historical landmarks to this day. Sir also grew up down the street from the legendary Sunset Cafe jazz club, one of the most important Jazz clubs in American history. His cultured upbringing and unquestioned talent made Sir a musical genius from an early age. After his father’s passing in 1998, Sir began to stray from the church to discover more pop culture moments and hip hop/R&B sounds. This progression led Sir to develop a sound that is all his own.
Ready for a new genre? When asked what is his genre, Sir says “Church Pub Rap.” It’s Art Tatum’s boogie woogin’ on an old upright piano in a small tavern with a choir and Andre 3000 or 2Pac at the mic. This has led Sir to collaborate with legendary Composer Lee Musiker; who produced the likes of Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra Jr, but also collaborating on the track “Familiar” with Chance the Rapper, King Louie and Quavo of Migos. Performing in finales with the Joffery Ballet, but then taking that same 8-piece horn section to rage venues with Travis Scott at Chicago’s renowned music venue, Metro. Sir has been featured by BET, the Chicago Tribune, Sway in the Morning, LA Weekly, Tidal, Spotify (“Raise Hell” hitting #1 on the Viral50 charts) and many more, but also has scored a Hollywood box office film “Dysfunctional Friends”. One way to corner this guy is to say this is “contemporary ghetto gospel”. A sound that you will be able to see live at most major music festivals this Summer and his leading single “Raise Hell,” from his forthcoming Atlantic Records release “PK: Preacher’s Kid.”
Many have said that “PK: Preacher’s Kid” – due Spring 2016 – will be hailed as a masterpiece. “Modern brilliance. The Sound? Retro as the modern orchestra seamlessly embodying urban sophistication while dancing around a unique voice that often split genres, alternating from the Chicago Native Chance The Rapper’s ‘talk/sing’ sound to sometimes as grainy as his next-door neighbor Louis Armstrong’s voice. Topics? Timelessly provocative and extremely effortless. Sometimes provocatively preachy, sometimes rebellious and sinful and even moments of sexual bluntness that will push back the wig of your churchy grandma. His jazzy influences rest in the scats, slung under syllables, the grace, the natural real life moments captured as if it’s not prepared. His ability to depict vivid scenery separates him with lyrical leverage aligning each vocal interpretation to the plot. The collection of it all marks Sir as a major artist and maybe the pioneer of something new. The modern savior of crooning is here. Sir the Baptist.