Mr. Worldwide

If there were ever a force of nature to be reckoned within the music business, without a doubt, Pitbull would be the guy. The Cuban-American rap sensation rides into a town like the devil is chasing his tail, lights up the stage, makes some noise, makes his point, stirs up a little controversial dust with some of his lyrics and opinions, then he blows out of town and onto his next adventure.
Music was just the beginning conquest for Armando Christian Pérez. It has become the vehicle that has propelled everything else since he came on the scene in the early 2000s, opening doors to him that were previously not available and in the process, “Pitbull” isn’t just an alias or a stage name, it’s a global brand.
“I already had three strikes against me,” he has said. “One, I have light skin. Two, I’m from Miami, which wasn’t getting looked at, at the time. Three, I’m Cuban. But now, I’ve made everything that stacked against me into a virtue.”
All because he defies tradition, he doesn’t play by anybody’s rules, and he’s not a fan of the words “no” and “can’t.” Boundaries, including the musical kind, just piss him off — sort of like the same breed of dog chained to a post — he will work himself free and he will be stronger for it.
“I feel like I’ve been fighting in music and creating new ways and new opportunities to make things work even when people thought it wouldn’t,” he says. “I’m taking a lot of freestyle music and flipping it.
“It’s all about music, because music is basically what’s been my avenue out of maybe being involved in things I shouldn’t be,” he said.
It is that fighting spirit that has helped Pérez become a globally successful musician, performer, business entrepreneur, fashion icon and actor, whose music career sales have exceeded 5 million albums and more than 60 million singles worldwide.
Pitbull has had No. 1 hits in more than 15 countries, his videos have over 5 billion views, and his social reach matches audiences of some television networks around the world. His album, Global Warming: Meltdown released in 2013 features the massive hit singles “Feel This Moment” with Christina Aguilera, “Don’t Stop The Party,” “Back In Time” from the action-comedy Men in Black 3, along with his second No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart “Timber” featuring Kesha.
Pitbull’s world tours have sold out concerts in North and South America, Europe, and the Far East.
Last year, the Grammy Award-winning rapper released his first-ever Greatest Hits album, a celebratory 12-song all-star hit parade and collection of his career-defining singles.
On the business side of the coin, Pérez also has his own line of premium vodkas including Voli 305, a partnership with Sheets that produces dissolvable energy strips, as well as premier fragrances for men and women simply titled Pitbull.
These ventures along with major sponsorship deals with brands like Bud Light, Dr Pepper, Kodak, and Dodge, plus a television production deal with Endemol North America to create his own production company, Honey I’m Home and a New Year’s Eve special on Fox. He also has a strategic partnership with Playboy Enterprises and earned a star in 2014 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. All of these ventures clearly define the man in another arena as “Mr. Worldwide.”
Pérez was born in January 1981, to Cuban expatriates in Miami, Fla. Growing up, he was influenced by the Miami bass genre of pop music and has cited Celia Cruz and Willy Chirino as sources of inspiration for his music. Pérez’s parents separated when he was young, and he was raised by his mother. He later spent time with a foster family in Roswell, GA. He attended South Miami Senior High School before graduating from Miami Coral Park High School, where he focused his career on rapping.
“I grew up around salsa, merengue, bachata, bass music, freestyle, hip-hop, techno, house, rave,” he stated.
He said he chose his stage name of Pitbull because the dogs “bite to lock. The dog is too stupid to lose. And they’re outlawed in Dade County. They’re basically everything that I am. It’s been a constant fight.”
After meeting Lil Jon in Miami, Pitbull was featured on Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz’ album Kings of Crunk in 2002. Pitbull’s song “Oye” was featured on the soundtrack to the film 2 Fast 2 Furious the following year.
In 2004, Pitbull released his debut album M.I.A.M.I. with the lead single being “Culo,” under TVT Records. It included production producers Lil Jon and Jim Jonsin. It peaked at No. 32 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 11 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. Pitbull later released his second album El Mariel, in 2006 and his third, The Boatlift, in 2007. El Mariel topped the Billboard independent albums chart and peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard 200 and No. 2 on the rap chart.
With each album he has released throughout his career, he seems to attract more and more fans.
“Every time I reach a new audience, that means I’m doing something right,” he stated. “I think of fans like a barbershop. I want that debate.”
His fourth album, Rebelution (2009), included his breakthrough hit single “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho),” which peaked at No. 2 on the U.S. Hot 100 and peaked within the top ten spots of charts in the UK, Canada, Italy, and the Netherlands. The song reached No. 1 in France and the European Hot 100 in the week ending Aug. 29, 2009, according to Billboard magazine.
Pitbull created his own label Mr. 305 Inc., The single “Hotel Room Service”, which samples “Push the Feeling On” peaked at No. 9 on the Hot 100. The album went on to sell over 7.5 million worldwide digital singles and albums combined.
The city of Miami granted Pitbull a “Key to the City” honor in August 2009.
In addition to his own music, Pitbull also has been part of several notable collaborations.
In 2010, Pitbull performed the rap section in the Haiti benefit song “Somos El Mundo,” a Spanish version of “We Are the World,” that included a huge group of Latin artists led by Emilio and Gloria Estefan. He was also a featured guest on Janet Jackson’s “Heart, Beat, Love” in addition to “Armada Latina,” the fourth single off the album Rise Up by Latin rap legends, Cypress Hill. The song was produced by Jim Jonsin and also features Marc Anthony. Pitbull then collaborated with Alexandra Burke on the single “All Night Long.” He was also featured on “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love” by Usher.
Pitbull released his full-length debut Spanish-language album titled Armando in November 2010. He was also one of the most nominated artists of the 2011 Billboard Latin Music Awards. He garnered seven nominations for Latin Rhythm Airplay, Song of the Year for “Bon, Bon”; Latin Rhythm Airplay, Artist of the Year, Solo Artist; Latin Rhythm Albums, Album of the Year for Armando; Latin Rhythm Albums, Artist of the Year, Solo Artist; Social 50, Latin Artist of the Year; Latin Digital Download of the Year” for “Bon, Bon” and Hot Latin Song of the Year, Vocal Event for the song “I Like It” alongside Enrique Iglesias. He also won Telehit’s award for Most Popular Artist.
Pitbull’s 2011 album Planet Pit, featured the single “Give Me Everything,” which was his first U.S. No. 1 single. His 2013 track “Timber” from his Meltdown EP topped the charts in 20 nations, including the U.S. and U.K. He performed the song “We Are One (Ole Ola)” along with Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte, which served as the official theme of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
He was featured in Lopez’s single “On the Floor,” and the single went on to make its Billboard Hot 100 debut at No. 9, becoming the highest debuting Hot 100 single of Lopez’s career.
He is constantly creating new music, understanding how the power of words and actions can transform negatives into positives.
They aren’t just lyrics to Pitbull, they are part and parcel to who he is and the philosophy he lives by. The more barriers he breaks with his music, the more people may understand his core message, we are all in this together.


PITBULL

Laughlin Event Center

Saturday, May 19 (8 p.m.)

See “Showtimes” for tickets