Pitbull

Pop and Rap Superstar

Pitbull
Photo by Scott Legato / Getty Images

 

Armando Christian Perez (Born January 15, 1981) is a Cuban-American rapper known by the name Pitbull. He emerged from the South Florida rap scene to become an international pop superstar. He is one of the world's most successful Latin recording artists.

Early Life

Pitbull was born in Miami, Florida. His parents were born in Cuba. They separated when Pitbull was a young child, and he grew up with his mother and spent some time with a foster family in Georgia.

He attended high school in Miami where he worked on developing his rap skills.

Armando Perez chose the stage name Pitbull because the dogs are constant fighters and, "too stupid to lose." After graduating from high school, Pitbull met Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew notoriety and signed with Luke Records in 2001. He also met Lil Jon, an emerging crunk artist. Pitbull appears on Lil Jon's 2002 album "Kings of Crunk" with the track "Pitbull's Cuban Rideout."

Hip Hop Success

Pitbull's 2004 debut album "M.I.A.M.I." appeared on the TVT label. It included the single "Culo" which broke into the top 40 on the U.S. pop chart. The album broke into the top 15 of the album chart. In 2005, Pitbull was invited by Sean"Diddy" Combs to help create Bad Boy Latino, a subsidiary of the Bad Boy record label.

The next two albums, 2006's "El Mariel," and 2007's "The Boatlift" continued Pitbull's success in the hip-hop community.

Both were top 10 hits on the rap albums chart. Pitbull dedicated "El Mariel" to his father who died in May of 2006 before the album's release in October. On "The Boatlift" he turned in a more gangsta rap direction. It included Pitbull's second top 40 pop hit single "The Anthem."

Pop Breakthrough

Pitbull's label TVT Records went out of business late in the decade which forced Pitbull to release his single "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" in early 2009 through the dance label Ultra.

The result was an international smash hit which went to #2 in the US. It was followed by another top 10 hit "Hotel Room Service" and then the album "Rebelution" in the fall of 2009. Pitbull remained a fixture on pop charts in 2010 with appearances on Enrique Iglesias' hit "I Like It" and "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love" by Usher.

The Spanish-language album "Armando" appeared in 2010. It climbed to #2 on the Latin Albums chart while also reaching the rap top 10. It helped him earn seven nominations at the 2011 Billboard Latin Music Awards. Pitbull performed the rap section of the Haiti benefit song "Somos El Mundo" organized by Emilio and Gloria Estefan

In late 2010, Pitbull previewed the upcoming "Planet Pit" album with another top 10 pop hit "Hey Baby (Drop It To the Floor)" with T-Pain. The album's second single "Give Me Everything" soared all the way to #1 in 2011 and "Planet Pit" was a top 10 gold-certified smash hit.

Pitbull was the target of a lawsuit over "Give Me Everything" and the lyric line, "I've got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan." Tha actress objected to negative connotations in the line and insisted on compensation for the use of her name. A federal judge dismissed the case on free speech grounds.

Worldwide Star

With the international embrace of "Give Me Everything" hitting the top 10 around the world and #1 in many different countries, Pitbull adopted the nickname "Mr. Worldwide." It has fit him well as one of the world's biggest pop stars. 

Pitbull's success extended to assisting other artists with significant pop breakthroughs. He helped Jennifer Lopez in her 2011 comeback appearing the top 5 pop smash "On the Floor." It was the highest chart debut of her career opening at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Pitbull's 2012 album "Global Warming" included the top 10 pop hit "Feel This Moment" with Christina Aguilera. The song uses a sample from a-ha's beloved #1 pop hit from the 1980s "Take On Me." Pitbull dug even deeper into the pop music past when he sampled Mickey and Sylvia's 1950s classic on the song "Back In Time" recorded for the soundtrack to the movie "Men in Black 3."

In 2013 Pitbull joined forces with Kesha to score another #1 pop hit single on "Timber." The song also topped the rap and dance charts as well as the pop singles chart in the UK. It is included on the expanded version of the "Global Warming" album titled "Global Warming: Meltdown."

The next album, 2014's "Globalization," included the next top 10 Pitbull hit single "Time Of Our Lives" with R&B singer Ne-Yo. It was Ne-Yo's first trip to the top 10 in two years. Pitbull received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in June 2014. 

In 2017, Pitbull released his tenth studio album "Climate Change." It included featured appearances by Enrique Iglesias, Flo Rida, and Jennifer Lopez. The album was a commercial disappointment and failed to produce any top 40 pop hit singles.

Personal Life

Pitbull is the father of two children with Barbara Alba. They separated amicably in 2011. He is also the father of two other children, but the details of the parenting relationship are unknown to the public. Pitbull is involved in charitable efforts. He used his private plane to transport those who needed medical assistance from Puerto Rico to the mainland U.S. in the wake of 2017's Hurricane Maria.

Legacy

Pitbull created a unique niche in rap music for a Latin superstar. He used that base to become an international pop music success. He is a trailblazer for future Latin artists who rap instead of sing. He is also a shrewd businessman providing an example for other Latin musicians who wish to crossover into the pop mainstream.

Top Songs

  • "Culo" featuring Lil Jon (2004)
  • "The Anthem" featuring Lil Jon (2007)
  • "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" (2009)
  • "Hotel Room Service" (2009)
  • "I Like It" with Enrique Iglesias (2010)
  • "Give Me Everything" featuring Ne-Yo, AfroJack, and Nayer (2011)
  • "On the Floor" with Jennifer Lopez (2011)
  • "Feel This Moment" featuring Christina Aguilera (2013)
  • "Timber" featuring Kesha (2013)
  • "Time of Our Lives" with Ne-Yo (2014)