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Get to know Bigga$tate, the co-creator of the first ever Netflix-sponsored tour

The artist is behind the pioneering Squid Games #181 Music Tour

By Tyler Shepherd

Bigga$tate (Image: @MrPorter_Photography)

We all remember the Squid Game craze that swept across the globe when the show hit Netflix. This phenomenon was nothing short of transformational, from memes to merch to the wildly popular Squid Games The Challenge. So successful was The Challenge that Netflix handed the reins over to participants to boost their appearances in any creative way they saw fit. Chicago’s very own Jonathan Henderson, better known as Bigga$tate, and co-creator of the Squid Game challenge, Sip The Kid, have done just that. After an interview with Jay Leno, Sip The Kid partnered with Bigga$tate as co-creators, and together, they’ve cooked up an idea so brilliant it made history and set the stage for the first-ever Squid Games-themed music tour.

A revolutionary tour takes shape

Named after Bigga$tate’s contestant number on The Challenge, the Squid Games #181 Music Tour has become synonymous with innovation. Kicking off on 29 December, 2023, and ending on 3 March, 2024, this wasn’t just any music tour. It was a pioneering venture that bridged the gap between a global television phenomenon and the music industry in a way never seen before. The tour brought Squid Game’s visceral energy and competitive spirit to life, infusing it with music’s raw, emotional power. With co-headliners Donny Konz, Spenzo, and BigMouf’bo, Bigga$tate reunited with Bobby Shmurda to perform their hit track “Scapegoat,” which went viral. For Bigga$tate, this was more than an opportunity for promotion; it was a chance to revolutionise how TV shows and music could interact, creating an immersive experience that fans could watch and be a part of.

From struggle to stardom

A creative to the core, Bigga$tate understands the profound power of the arts to transform moments and lives. Abandoned at a young age and left to fend for himself on the mean streets of Chicago, his early life was anything but easy. Luckily, he had music. Music was there long before anyone knew who he was, both as an escape and a form of expression.

Through music, Bigga$tate found his voice and a platform to share his story. From being under the management of Austin Beck-Hill, he then went under the management of Lamar Odom’s Former manager, Tonita Bybee. Odom DM’d Bigga$tate, attempting to slander his new manager, but it didn’t deter him from staying loyal. He turned his trials into triumphs, using his talent to freestyle lyrics that speak to personal and collective struggles. Most artists toil for months over their lyrics, but Bigga$tate? He’s a one-take wonder, conjuring complete songs on the fly, a testament to his raw talent and connection to the craft. This genius hasn’t gone unnoticed, with millions streaming his hits and featuring alongside giants in the music industry.

Aside from his music career, Bigga$tate interned under Charlie Murphy’s former publicist, Domenick Nati, and became a celebrity publicist for many industry giants. He also has an acting career and has acted on shows on Netflix before.

Ethos and future ambitions

Following the Squid Games #181 Music Tour waves, Bigga$tate’s vision for the future shines brighter than ever. He’s not just aiming for the stars; he’s planning to bring everyone along with him.

“I’ve found what matters most in this industry is contributions to kindness,” he shares. “What you give back to your peers, lovers, and family, that’s the real measure of success. It’s not just about making it but making sure others do too.”

Bigga$tate has grand ambitions: “My goal is to run a full-service label that doesn’t just focus on music but nurtures all aspects of an artist’s career,” he discloses. His mantra is simple: “Even if you believe you have no right to dream and one day grow to a point where dreams are reality, just remember how you never needed any to wipe your tears in those moments because you were meant to wipe others’ tears and help them dream like you were given the chance to.”

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