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Get Ready To Feel Exalted With Sir The Baptist’s Debut Album

Church service comes early this weekend.

Sir The Baptist is ready to officially bring us to church with his debut album, Saint Or Sinner.

The Atlantic Records recording artist, who hails from Chicago’s Southside, implements a healthy mix of hip-hop, soul, R&B and gospel-infused stylings in his songs, and his LP is set to drop on Friday, May 12.

As one of the first acts to perform that brisk Saturday (May 6) at Washington D.C.’s Broccoli City Festival, Sir preached the good word by performing some of his songs including “Creflo Almighty Dollar,” “What We Got,” “Second Line Ball” and “Heaven.” He implemented a gospel-tinged call-and-response section providing audience interaction during the latter, and also invited a young fan on stage to sing with him. The most interesting aspect of his set was when he surprised skeptical concertgoers by giving out his actual phone number, stating that he only wants to be called by those who are serious about making a positive change socially and musically.

During some downtime from the festivities, Sir spoke to VIBE about his goals for 2017, what he hopes to accomplish with his debut album, and how he hopes music can get back to a more holistic frequency to heal the world.

VIBE: What can we expect from Saint Or Sinner?
Sir The Baptist: It’s a balance of this church kid that tries to go and do the music industry, and realizes that it stole so many people. The Michael Jacksons: you know, he was pulled between his spiritual side and the side that wanted to just sing and be popular. Whitney [Houston]: singing in the choir, and then realizing she wanted to do more with her voice, but then when she tried to do more with it, they tried to steal her soul. It was push-and-pull with her, and you find her in a tub.

We're here to holistically heal all the wounds that they [the industry] gave us. These [artists] are traumatized, traumatized saints. With the album, you get to see the balance of saint and sinner, and how I went through that same process, but I escaped fame. Fame is hard. I wanna be famous for doing the right thing, and that's even harder. So many people would just turn away from fame and'll be like “f**k it." I wanna be famous for caring about people.

And you gotta make sure that they don't dig back and try to find the corruption within your story. People like to read about the bad and they like to make the best people villains.
Yes. They did that with Prince. They have video of him leaving the pharmacy getting drugs. They want this! All of these artists are falling into it. We need to put music back into 432 [Hz], that's the frequency that heals people. It’s probably the frequency that David played his harps in when he pushed away demons in The Bible days. We're not even in that frequency anymore, and if you look at frequencies, it affects how your body is. Your body is maybe 80 percent water, and frequencies make it move. Look at you! [Erykah] Badu is playing [at the festival] and now your stance is centered! Badu centers people. That's the secret, frequency and sound bathing. All the greatest people in the world understood frequencies.

What are you hoping that listeners will get out of the new material?
I hope they get the feeling. I'm trying to bring the feeling and the importance back into a frequency that we're not supposed to be in. I'm trying to calm down the frequency somehow with this music.

Any features we can look forward to?
I’ve got songs with Brandy and a bunch of people, Killer Mike, Twista.

How has your upbringing helped carve out the distinction of your sound?
The first song I released was "Raise Hell," and it had stomps and claps in it. Those stomps are sort of a reflection of the wood that was in the pews, or the wood that was in the choir stand that you would stomp, and you'd hear that when we were in the choir stand. Even down to certain frequencies that I put into the music, it's based on what I grew up with and where I came from. Even now, we're having a hard time with that song and putting it on the album, simply because people don't even know how to mix that type of music. They're like, 'how do I mix stomps and claps with 808's?' It's finding that balance of our higher and our lower self.

A Lion on stage!

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So, why perform hip-hop and not just straight-up gospel then?
Because gospel's so f**kin’ wack! Gospel is wack as sh*t. I think if I had done gospel, it would have been a bad idea. You know what I mean? If I wanted to reach you, and you're extremely valuable to me, I'd have to talk like we talk, like when we're not in church. Or even when we're in the pew and the pastor's up there and we're like, [out of the side of his mouth] "this mother f**ker right here..." [Laughs] I have to! I told somebody the other day, if Kendrick [Lamar] wasn't as much of a rapper and was more of a preacher, God would have put me somewhere else. It gives me a chance to be more spiritual and gives us something more to hold onto, spirituality-wise. There's a better balance.

Do you think you fit in with the “Chicago sound”?
I hate “Chicago sound.” I'm actually against it, I don't like it. A lot of people come from Chicago, they think it's a Chicago sound, it's really not. It's a New Orleans sound that migrated during the Great Migration to the north. I'm really sensitive about that. A sound without substance is nothing. Sound without history is nothing.

I can tell you every piece of what harmony, chord, arrangement, lyrics, inspiration comes from, and I can direct you to the neighborhood where that person lived, where that person walked. It's a South sound, it comes from the South. Mississippi, Alabama, New Orleans, know where that comes from. New Orleans is part French, know why I say "second line." When I say "I'm fresh to death, they're second linin' in the South" on one of the songs on the album, that’s reflecting what they do in New Orleans and they've got the horns, and they’re carrying the casket, coming down in the street. So, I like Chicago…but I don't.

You’ve had a great 2016. Are you looking forward to anything in 2017?
I'm performing a lot, and then I go overseas a lot. I've never been overseas before, and I really get to implement what this [the mission of his music] really is. I guess in 2016, it got really gospel. A bunch of other artists in Chicago, they started talking about and using gospel music and the sound, the frequency, as a marketing gimmick, and I don't really do that. Mine isn't to pull in a certain type of listener, it's mission-driven, not music driven. So this 2017, I get a chance to implement that.

You said during your set that your music and your career isn’t about you, it’s about us. I really like that.
It’s not at all about me! Not at all. This [mainstream] stuff, you'll go home eventually and you're like "I can't even listen to that anymore, I don't want that in my system." This right now, it's in a certain frequency where if you were braindead, your brain would still process the frequency, but wouldn't process the key.

Any time I perform, anything I do, I never do it for me. I hope those fans see me as family too, because I really care about [them]. I want you to enjoy a song that talks about you, not a song that calls you a b***h. Especially someone of your intellect and your beauty, you should be appreciated and not depreciated.

The way I ran with Rodney Jerkins, who produced Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston and all that, we understand that music surpasses understanding and reasoning. You're gonna remember this popular stuff whether you want to or not, and if I was to pass anything to you, I'd want it to be something that's soul food, good for your life. Not just "oh, I'm f**kin’ cool. Look what I could do."

I’ll never forget when Jay Z walking up to me and being like "thank you." He saw that I cared about you all and that I love doing what I do. From there, I got to open up a show for Beyonce and work with Brandy and all these other artists that we actually appreciate. These newcomers are just...

Some of them really want to do things for fame. It's cool to get recognized, but you can't do it just to get recognized, you have to do it because you love it.
Yes! Please put that in your article when you write this up? Oh G*d dammit! Listen, they’re abusing frequency! Whether we like it or not, they’re getting people to remember [their songs]. Like the McDonald's jingle, "ba-da-ba-ba-ba!" You didn't even realize you were rocking with that song, you were just buying into the frequency, the sound, and now you want a burger. Frequency is a part of hypnotizing. I know I sound crazy, but I care!

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Billboard And VIBE Host Second Annual R&B/Hip-Hop Power Players Event

Billboard and VIBE joined forces for the second annual R&B and Hip-Hop Power Players event on Thursday night (October 17). Held at New York City's Union City, the brands honored the 100 accomplished music executives, agents and more who made the third annual list for their outstanding contributions of driving, influencing and guiding the music industry and hip-hop culture today.

Billboard Executive Director of R&B/Hip-Hop Gail Mitchell and VP of Culture Media/VIBE Editor-in-Chief Datwon Thomas greeted guests at the invite-only reception saying, "Big shout to the team that puts this together, we just want everyone to know that this is a night of celebration. A lot of people have been working in the game for a long time - you are here tonight so you are all winning." He added, "We thank you for taking the time to celebrate your colleagues."

Shortly after, the hosts presented Steve Pamon with the Billboard Executives of the Year Award shared with Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. As he accepted his award, the Parkwood Chief Operating Officer delivered a speech saying, “This award was given to myself and Beyoncé, but the award truly belongs to the team behind me. We live off respect and responsibility. A sincere thank you.” He went on to say, “We live off of respect and the responsibility of being around all of you. You are hip-hop. We are hip-hop. It’s not about us. It’s about us all.”

The late Nipsey Hussle was honored with the Billboard Impact Award for his contributions to breaking barriers of cultural appropriation, young professionals seeking educational resources in science, tech and mathematics spaces, and positivity in his community. Prior to Marathon Agency co-founder, Steve Carless, acceptance of the world on Hussle's behalf, there was a 30-second moment of silence.

In his emotional yet encouraging speech, Carless said, “I accept this on behalf of Nipsey, his family, and all his loved ones and his children. What this means to me, it’s a testament to his hard work and dedication." He added, "Congrats to everyone who made this year. It’s a huge honor...One thing I do want to say it, this award is about inspiration. Responsibility is to uplift each other mentor each other and lead each other. May all of us leave here and know we have a responsibility.”

As attendees enjoyed beverages and captured Instagram-worthy images at the Billboard and VIBE cover-inspired installations, rappers Casanova and Young M.A hit the stage, respectively, to perform their popular singles. Flip through photos and interviews from Thursday night's event down below.

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New Music Friday: Gucci Mane, Kash Doll, Melli And More

This week has been busy in the hip-hop world. Highly anticipated albums from Gucci Mane, Kash Doll, and G Eazy hit streaming services. There's also new music from Jadakiss, newcomer 24 Hours, rap veterans Black Moon, Yo Gotti featuring Megan Thee Stallion and Lil Uzi Vert, BlueFace, and many others.

Gucci Mane – Woptober II The hustle does not stop for Gucci Mane. The A-Town-bred delivered his 15th studio album today titled, Woptober. The 13-song effort features collaborations with DaBaby and YoungBoy Never Broke Again on "Richer Than Errybody," the Megan Thee Stallion-assisted "Big Booty," as well as a verse from Lil Baby on "Tootsies. Guwop also received assists from Kevin Gates, Takeoff and others. Along with Woptober 2, the Trap House rapper appeared in a ad campaign for Gucci's Cruise20 Collection. – Darryl Robertson Apple Music | TIDAL

Kash Doll – Stacked Kash Doll continues to make a lane for her voice in hip-hop. Since delivering her 2014 mixtape Keisha vs. Kash Doll, the Detroit native has been consistent with dropping off new music, and has garnered the respect of heavyweights such Pusha T, Meek Mill, and Big Sean, who appears on Stacked. The 17-song effort features the likes of Lil Wayne, Trey Songz, Summer Walker, Teyana  Taylor, and newcomer LouGotCash. – D.R. Apple Music | TIDAL

Melii: Motions Melii's Motions EP came as a surprise today. The East Harlem artist first made waves after dropping off her cover of Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow," followed by a feature on Meek Mill's "Wit the Shits."Following phAses, released earlier this year, the 21-year-old unveiled Motions, an 18 minute EP that finds the MC/singer musing over boyfriends-turned-fuck boys.

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Gang Starr – "Bad Name" DJ Premier released the first new Gang Starr song in years several weeks ago, with the J. Cole-featured "Family and Loyalty." This week he's announced that a new Gang Starr album with the posthumous Guru is on the way, and "Bad Name" is the second taste. Over another classic Premier beat, Guru pays homage to 2Pac and Biggie while lamenting the direction that the rap game has gone in. Gang Starr's album One Of The Best Yet is set for a January 11, 2019 release. – William E. Ketchum III Apple Music | TIDAL

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Black Moon – Rise Of Da Moon Black Moon recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of their classic debut Enta Da Stage, and now they're looking forward with the reunion LP Rise of Da Moon. The album sees them with their Duck Down Records label home, production by Da Beatminerz, and guest appearances by Smif N Wessun, Rock (of Heltah Skeltah) and Method Man. – W.K. Apple Music | TIDAL

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Melii – Motions Melii surprised fans with the release of her Motions EP. Earlier this year, the East Harlem native dropped off her introduction to the world with the release phAses. The rapper/singer first made waves with her cover of Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow," followed by her verse on Meek Mill's "Wit the Shits." The budding artist continues to stand on her own. Here, on Motion, a 7-song EP lasting spanning 18 minutes, Melii flexes her seasoned songwriting skills to muse over boyfriends-turned-fuck boys. - D.R.

Jadakiss – "ME" Jadakiss has taken a break from releasing music since his 2017 album with Fabolous, Friday On Elm Street. This week he returns with "Me," a Bryan Michael Cox-produced record that sees 'Kiss using the sample in his verses while revisiting accomplishments and reputation from his illustrious career. The release of the song coincides with a short film directed by Kid Art, which you can watch below. – W.K. Spotify | Apple Music | TIDAL

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Rick Ross' ‘Port Of Miami 2 Tour' Is Motivation To Hustlers Far And Wide

“I can spot a millionaire—from the guy working at the carwash,” Rick Ross said to a sold-out crowd at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre on his “Port of Miami 2 Tour.” “He got the rag hanging out of his pocket, to the way he rock his [pants]. I see the millionaire in him,” Rozay continued.

For nearly two hours on Tuesday (Oct. 15), the MMG bawse galvanized the hustler’s spirit, thanks to the preciseness of words used to explain his “came from the bottom” narrative combined with first hand accounts of the imperative mental spaces that dope boys experience.

But before Rozay graced the stage at the Gramercy Theatre, MMG’s baby boomer Yowda entertained the crowd for a brief set before passing the mic to lifelong MMG soldier Gunplay.

Rocking a black Dickies outfit, the Triple C member, who has been vocal about his cocaine addiction, stormed the stage with coke-like energy while mouthing lyrics to his sobering verse from “The Great Americans,” a song from MMG’s Self Made, Vol. 3.

Gunplay, who was actually born in the Bronx, nimbly bounced across the stage like a point-guard maneuvering through defense closed out his set with his under-the-radar street classics “Blood on the Dope,” “Bible on the Dash,” and his verse from Waka Flacka’s “Rolling.”

With marijuana smoke clouding the venue, liquor relaxing some concert-goers, and the clock inching toward 9:15 p.m., Rozay slowly walked toward the center of the stage—indirectly egging on the standing ovation by confidently nodding his head. Lex Luger’s “B.M.F.” instrumental blasted from the speakers for what seemed like minutes before the Dade County native dived into his verses.

The motivational concert commenced with the words: “I think I’m Big Meech, Larry Hoover,” here Ross is claiming his declaration to be financially independent---probably his No. 1 goal in life.

Less than two minutes into the start of Rozay’s set, The L.O.X.’s Styles P surprised the crowd by appearing onstage to deliver his verse from “B.M.F,” which was followed by ”Good Times (I Get High).” Surprises continued when Jadakiss appeared on stage to help his partner-in-rhyme run through their classic, “We Gonna Make It.”


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Elite Mc’ing last night with @richforever . #Dblock #Lox #NYC

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After working up a sweat, a slimmer-looking Ross shedded his beige designer trench jacket. Dressed in all white—like the cocaine money that he raps about—with shining jewels wrapped around his neck and wrists, Ross played the visual representation of success to kids from every coast.

Ross proceeded the show with his get-money classics like “I’m Not a Star,” where when he rapped: “Nine for the slice, dummy that’s a Dan Marino/Talking quarterbacks, meaning talking quarter kilos,” concert-goers enthusiasm seemed to max-out as they rapped with words with Ross.

After performing a list of favorites like “Aston Martin Music” and “Hustlin’,” the Box Chevy anthem that set the rapper’s career in motion, and “Where My Money (I Need That),” Rozay surprised New Yorkers by inviting Brooklyn native Fabolous onstage.

The Young OG entertained the Gramercy with hits like “Breathe” and “Cuffin Season” before closing his set with his verse from Meek Mill’s “Uptown.”

As the night grew to a close, Ross decided to remind fans that it’s totally fine for hustlers to shed tears. With that, the 43-year-old delivered his masterful verse from Kanye West’s “Devil in a New Dress.”

The place erupted with emotion with lines like “Whole clique appetite had tapeworms/Spinning Teddy Pendergrass vinyl as my J burns/I shed a tear before the night’s over.”


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Elite Mc’ing last night with @richforever . #Dblock #Lox #NYC

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Tears continued to fall as Ross ran through the CeeLo Green-assisted “Tears of Joy,” a woeful hip-hop ballad that shows the imperativeness—from a dope boys POV—of financial freedom.

Overall, Rozay’s performance is not filled with animation and routines. His stage presence isn’t as strong as fellow hustler-turned-rappers Jay-Z and Pusha T. However, Ross’ words of encouragement are powerful tools that incites the “give me liberty or death” mentality that birthed the hustlers spirit of America, and birthed America.

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