Chiddy Bang and Pusha-T coming to Hill Auditorium, thanks to young promoters
Recent EMU business graduate Jierah Dixon, who went to Salem High School, does motivational speaking for teens and young adults about his “Impossible First” philosophy and runs a spin-off line of apparel, IFwear. Brothers Philip Pirkovic, an economics and business management major, and Saso Pirkovic, a business major, are in school at U-M Flint. The brothers launched a website, www.MyLifeSecret.com, where people post anonymous secrets about their lives.
The friends decided to promote their endeavors with a large-scale hip hop show. They all have prior experience coordinating shows and throwing huge parties, but this is their largest show to date.
“The great thing about this show,” according to Dixon, is “we have two great national acts, and then beyond that we wanted to bring opportunities to Michigan-based artists to perform in Ann Arbor.”
“Chiddy Bang is electric. They followed their passion and now they have a few major singles that topped the Billboard 100 globally and multimillion views on YouTube. It was the right time for these guys to come here,” Dixon says.“They are just crazy energy, jumping all around the stage,” Philip Pirkovic says of his experience seeing Chiddy Bang live at Central Michigan University this September. “Xaphoon Jones makes beats live. People usually play it like it is on the CD, but he does it right there on stage.
“Chiddy broke the Guinness record for the longest freestyle,” he adds—9 hours, 16 minutes, and 22 seconds, according to MTV. When Pirkovic saw them “he made up freestyles about topics that the crowd picked. So, every show is different. You’re never going to see the same show twice,” he says.
“Pusha-T brings a live band with guitar, piano, and drums. He has an energetic, raw passion, and the lyrics have a lot of meaning behind them. He interacts with the crowd and have a lot of stories about growing up and trying to make it,” Pirkovic says. “We thought it would be a good pairing because Chiddy Bang will bring in people who hear top 40 songs, and the hip hop heads will come out for Pusha-T,” he explains.
After checking out potential venues with the help of his cousin who works in the music industry, Pirkovic found Hill Auditorium to be a perfect fit. “Samantha Musil from U-M events is our go-to contact and she was really great. She knew it was our first show and helped us a lot,” he says.
The young promoters have prior experience throwing parties, which led to their friendship and their interest in doing a big show at Hill. Dixon “had a really big house in the Plymouth-Canton area, and over the summer when my parents were gone, I’d throw huge parties. Some were like 400 people plus in my basement and backyard,” he says.
And Pirkovic got “started back in high school. Our parents owned a bar, the Lava Room, which they sold about a year ago. I worked out a deal with them to have 18 and up events. Those parties got pretty big and we started thinking about bringing performers in from Flint and Detroit,” he remembers.
They met through a mutual friends at a party in Ann Arbor, and the union was made. Dixon and Pirkovic both say that their values and visions clicked, and their friendship led to planning the big Chiddy Band and Pusha-T show at Hill.
One of the things they agree on is that Ann Arbor needs more big name hip hop shows. Dixon says they planned the show around “the students’ perspective,” he says. “EMU and U-M are generally one market when it comes to hip hop, and the shows usually go to EMU. I’m a huge fan of EMU, my alma mater, but U-M has a beautiful campus and incredible venues. I thought, let’s balance out the market,” Dixon says. Pirkovic agrees that they are “trying to fill a void,” he says.