Sir the Baptist Infuses Activism into Hip Hop

Steve Adubato talks to recording artist and hip-hop activist, Sir the Baptist, about how his religion and family helped shape his music.

3/27/17 #2023






"Mama say she gonna lose me. She pray the angels out on duty. Preacher can't even rebuke me. No no no. Born a sinner and I'm 'bout to sin again tonight! You gonna have to forgive me yeah! I'ma raise Hell until I reach Heaven's door! You gonna have to forgive me yeah! I'ma raise Hell... That was Raise Hell, and the and the artist right here is Sir the Baptist, artist, and hip hop activist. How you doing? Good. Good. Good. Thank you for having me. What was the...? Our pleasure. What was the genesis behind that? Well, where I come from, Chicago, Bronzeville, you know, there's a lot going on. And somebody had to speak up. And in a town where it's ChiRaq, I wanted to be that sort of John the Baptist in the wilderness, where, you know, I could speak up and say, "Hey listen, there's something coming." And we just have to keep working, and putting our efforts into... to make this world better. I know everybody asks you about your name, so I'm gonna ask you about your name. [laughter] Yeah! Of course! It comes from John the Baptist. Also my dad was a Baptist pastor before he died. I was 11 when he died. But yeah, I grew up in the Baptist Church, all the time, so when I got to creating my own art, I knew I wanted to implement where I came from. So your vision, the difference you want to make, describe it. I want to pair spirituality and the streets together again. You know. In the hip hop community, what we're missing is, we've become remote of our spirituality. We've become so cool, that we're not connected to our grandmothers, or our ancestors, or our history, or what we inherited with this culture. So a part of what I'm doing as a hip hop chaplain is pairing spirituality with the streets again, just to make sure that we have holistic people out here. You know. There's a lot of rappers, or a lot of people that come from the hip hop culture that's missing some spiritual connection. And I just want to be that piece to just say, you know, "Let me give you a hint of what could be in the intangible." You know. You said a hip hop chaplain? Yeah. I heard that right? Yeah. Yeah, I'm an ordained minister. You are? Yeah. When did that happen? Well, I've been ministering since I was a little kid. As my dad was a preacher, you want to be a preacher as well. So I was ministering all through that time. But now, maybe like two or three years ago, that I officially got ordained, again, to be a minister. Describe the reaction that you've gotten from your contemporaries in the..."