Last year, chef Guy Fieri arrived at DJ Irie’s annual Beach Bash and partied with the likes of T.I. and O.T Genesis after they rocked the stage. As a personal friend of IRIE, the world-renowned chef genuinely wanted to be there for the Miami Heat DJ and enjoy the epic beach party. Fieri was so impressed with the event that he made Irie a promise to throw down on the grill for the next shoreline shindig, and he wasn’t bluffing. Not only did the celebrity chef return to V.I.P. to live it up with Irie’s special guests, he also found himself behind the grill slinging up delectable burgers and more for IRIE Weekend 2018.
“That food was so good man!” Irie exclaims. “I gotta give him so much props. I’ve been blessed to call him a friend and brother for seven years. I’ve been on the show with him. Last year he came down on his own dime just to show love. He called me and said that he wanted to come down and cook next year. A lot of people would’ve just did the lip service, but his team followed up to hold the dates and said they would be there.”
As the erratic music festivals Miami is known for tend to come and go, Monster Electronics 14th annual IRIE Weekend continues to thrive as a charitable fundraiser, and the perfect summer gathering for people of all ages in South Florida, especially the kids. During his ongoing tenure as the Miami Heat’s official DJ, Irie spent the last decade curating a string of star-studded events in Dade County as a noble effort to help at-risk youths in his community escape the streets’ turmoil. The IRIE Foundation may have gone through a slew of challenges to make this year flawless, but IRIE’s four-day extravaganza turned out to be the most historic weekend thus far.
IRIE has raised thousands of dollars over the years for charities around the state with his Give From The Heart #InspIRIE Dinner & Gala at the Fountainbleau, which serves as the kickoff of the weekend. As the Tito’s Vodka flowed from the open bars around the room, attendees dressed up in their Sunday’s best to enjoy cocktails, a multi-course sit-down dinner, and a live performance from dancehall icon Sean Paul.
The silent and live auctions also occurred throughout the night for unique prizes like a customized video shoutout from singer and Florida native, Jason DeRulo. All proceeds went directly toward the IRIE Foundation to complete the next phase of Irie’s Rhythms Academy, a high-quality music, art, and technology center with free classes for the community’s children. The gala has raised a remarkable amount of at least a million dollars with more donations coming in from Irie’s confidantes around the country.
“For me, it’s one thing to be a donor when you’re donating to fortunate programs,” Irie says. “It’s great because the kids are getting unique experiences and that kind of stuff, but I think it’s a completely different connection when you know you’re contributing to something you can touch, feel, and it’s tangible. Not only that, but we can literally chronicle our success and different progress by the number of kids we bring into the center, their success rate, and what they go on to do next.”
Despite all the funds raised, the most historic part of Irie Weekend happened because of one man: Ludacris. If there’s anyone in the rap game that loves Topgolf, it’s the veteran rapper. The Atlanta native is known for filling the golf-based sports bar and driving range with avid golfers and fans alike for Luda Day Weekend’s extravagant string of events. After dominating the massive golf course in Georgia, Ludacris couldn’t wait to take advantage of the opportunity to make history at Topgolf in Miami in the name of his good friend DJ IRIE, and he didn’t do it alone.
“I’ve been asking for Luda to come to IRIE Weekend for at least 13 years,” Irie reveals. “Every single year, and he’s my mans. He’s just honestly and truly had a conflict every year, like a genuine conflict. This year coming around I hit him up and tried to get him to do Saturday for the beach bash. Meanwhile, I’m trying to get somebody down for Topgolf. I had everybody from Travis Scott to Lil Uzi Vert and they all fell through.”
After Irie waited over a decade to book him, the Fast & Furious star was close to pulling out again because of (you guessed it) another scheduling conflict. Luda reached out to Irie shortly before the weekend began to try and switch his appearance from the Beach Bash on Saturday to the nighttime event on Friday. That was the moment when Irie cooked up an idea that would change the game for IRIE Weekend.
“So I said, ‘Yo bro let’s make history together. Let’s put you on the green and do the concert right there in front all the bays.’ He said to me, “I’m all about history. Let’s do it!'” Irie says.
Ludacris became the first artist to hit the green at Topgolf Miami. He performed a mix of classics like “Stand Up” and his newest hit “Vices.” Soon after, platinum artists Jamie Foxx and Tank, who was also celebrating his bachelor party at Topgolf, joined him on stage to make the show even more epic. Tank performed his slow jam “When We” for the last time before he was officially off the market. Then, Foxx came through with bangers like “Unpredictable” while Tank and Luda served up the ad-libs.
IRIE Weekend had plenty of other enticing performers like Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, Jason DeRulo, DJ Diesel a.k.a. Shaquille O’Neal, and Justine Skye. Yet no other show in the last 14 years of this jam-packed weekend has even come close to what Ludacris did for Irie.
“The part that’s so special about it is that here we are 14 years and he was the right artist at the right time,” Irie says. “He was perfect. No one had any clue it was going to go down like that.”