Before hip hop, Sir the Baptist was a Chicago ad man, Lyft driver
December 18th, 2016
Hip-hop star Sir the Baptist, who headlines Chi-Town Rising on New Year’s Eve, once worked for a big-name Chicago ad firm and then as a Lyft driver.
The Chicago native talked about his background during a vist back in his home-town to promote Lyft. The ride-sharing company unveiled a short film about a woman who becomes a Lyft driver. Sir provides the music track, called “Movin.'”
Sir’s gritty music is inspired by those work experiences, he told me after the event.
“Most of the lyrics you hear come from the opportunities that I’ve had meeting people while driving for Lyft. It’s about learning from them and sharing their stories. The music reflects that,” he says.
Sir grew up in Bronzeville as William James Stokes, the son of a preacher. He graduated from Leo Catholic High School and attended Columbia College before working as a digital marketing director at Leo Burnett. He worked with big-name clients, including McDonald’s.
The full-time gig cut into the time he wanted to spend on music, so after four years of corporate life, he became a Lyft driver.
He met a symphony of characters, including Scott Englert, a creative consultant with the Grammys. Sir’s music was playing on the car radio when Englert got a lift. He liked what he heard and assisted the launch of Sir’s career in music. The Chicago native has since signed to Atlantic Records.
Englert was on hand last week to celebrate Lyft’s work in Chicago and Sir’s contributions.
Sir moves around a lot these days, spending a lot of time in Los Angeles and New York. He played Lollapalooza earlier in the year and will be back in Chicago for the downtown New Year’s eve celebration.