In 2004, Armando Christian Pérez, professionally known by his moniker Pitbull, literally burst onto the hip-hop music scene with his smash-hit, dance floor anthem “Culo,” and a future rap star was born. The product of Cuban-American immigrant parents, young Armando grew up on a steady diet of poet Jose Marti, to whom he was made by his mom and dad to memorize all of Marti’s works, as well as the, then, mega-popular Miami Bass sound. Lil’ Chico, as he was also affectionately known, later would go on to discover an equal love for the music resonating from both the East and West Coasts as well.
Long story short, short story even shorter … in ’02, Pitbull aligned himself with a, then still, up-and-coming producer Lil Jon, who featured the talented wordsmith on the track, “Pitbulls Cuban Rideout,” from Jon’s super-successful King of Crunk album. The self-proclaimed “Mr. 305,” eventually dropped his very own solo debut, the gold certified M.I.A.M.I.: Money Is A Major Issue, which contained the aforementioned chart-topper, “Culo,” and the rest, as it is said, is history … still in the making.
Three additional albums later, and an extremely relieved and elated Pit has finally been set free from his binding recording contract with the now defunct TVT Records, after a tumultuous battle. Now back with his highly contagious premier offering “Krazy,” from his forthcoming fifth solo CD, Pitbull has vowed to make a classic LP for his well deserving fan-base.
BallerStatus.com: Coming off of last year’s The Boatlift, were you somewhat disappointed of the overall commercial performance of that release?
Pitbull: I mean, first of all what went wrong with that project is I was dealing with a company that was going bankrupt. So, the company went bankrupt, couldn’t put no more CDs in the stores, so that’s why you have a 100 something chains sold hard copies. But digitally, I sold a million and two. Yeah, so it’s actually a very successful project due to the situations that we were in. But now, TVT is out of the picture, and Pitbull’s a free agent dealing with a company called The Orchard for one single, and I’m negotiating with major labels right now as we speak for the next project.
BallerStatus.com: Congrats. Your brand new single, “Krazy,” is really blowing up for you. Are you surprised that it has taken off so fast?
Pitbull: No, to be honest with you, I’m not surprised. I would’ve been surprised if it didn’t. I think “Krazy” is very infectious, you know, very catchy. It’s got a great energy. On top of that, I mean, I’ve done over 300 personalized “Krazys” for stations, for DJs, for radio personalities. So, I knew that it was gonna pick up and pick up fast. Really, it’s still in its beginning stages, even though it’s climbed the Top 15 and iTunes, number one on iTunes Latin. It’s already Top 10 on the rhythmic charts, so it’s definitely got a lot of room to grow and make a lot more noise. It’s a blessing though.
BallerStatus.com: I assume that you’re still working on your next LP? But, has it even been titled yet?
Pitbull: Well, the title right now is called Rebelution. So, instead of Revolution, it’s Rebelution. And, as far as working on the album, I haven’t really started working on it. I just have a bunch of ideas, and people I want to work with and things I want to do. But, this is definitely the album that I’m gonna take the time to give the public the classic that I’ve never got a chance to give them dealing with TVT Records. They never really gave me that chance to sit down and make an album. So, now that I’m, you know, obviously financially doing a lot better now and running into a major label deal or even a net profit deal, I think it’s gonna give me a whole lot more time to really put the time into this album to turn in that classic.
BallerStatus.com: Well, since this is the first time I’m hearing of this. What prompted you to call the record Rebelution?
Pitbull: I feel ’cause, you know, everybody feels like … to me, hip-hop is one big revolution. It’s always people that go against the grain, always go with what they feel, and, obviously, the majority of us have become very, very successful. In our own right, we’re rebels. We go against the grain, we go against the machine, and due to my history, my culture, being Cuban, obviously there was a “revolution” in Cuba when Castro took over dictator Fulgencio Batista and my family was all a part of that, and had a lot of history to do with what went on in Cuba. So, I felt it was the perfect title for something that … the revolution, to me, never really happened in Cuba. It was something that was spoke about, but it never really came to fruition. But, with the title Rebelution, it’s basically … I’m a fighter, and I’m here to, you know, too stupid to lose, keep going to the death, and here trying to make changes.
BallerStatus.com: What should we expect?
Pitbull: I mean, you’re definitely gonna have your big records that are gonna be club anthems on there, but I’ll find a way to … when you think about making a classic, I want to make sure that the album is entertaining all the way through, and it keeps people on their toes, on their feet. And so, you’re definitely gonna find a little bit of the same formula, but maybe different fusions. So, maybe a lot more Afro Cuban/Techno/Soca, like I just have no idea. So many movements right now that the United States of America haven’t really … ain’t really looking at, and I get to see it because I’m all around the world. That’s what’s gonna make this album unique, and at the same time that classic that I want to give the public.
Like I said, I haven’t really started working on it yet. I’ve got probably like two or three in a row on this album right now, but I’ve been doing all the freestyles and everything, just knocking out records and, whatchamacallit, verses on everybody’s new hot records and everybody be getting those. I got like another ten coming out next week, so I’ll be hitting the internet with those. But I also got a mixtape that’s out on the internet right now called Free Agent, and that’s got about like thirty tracks on it.And then, I’ll be sure to drop another mixtape before the album comes out, and just keep flooding the streets, the way I do. I like to hit ’em from the bottom, and also from the top. So, the top meaning the radio records, and the bottom meaning the freestyles where a lot of people, may not … or, I may surprise a lot of people when it comes to records lyrically, or what I may do on other people’s records. That’s something you do all the time, you know?
BallerStatus.com: Take me through the process of what’s it’s like in penning a Pitbull composition…
Pitbull: I mean, that inspiration is basically from everything that I’ve grown up around, and everything that’s around me right now. You know, I’m basically just taking pictures for those to see what I see, and how I acknowledge, observe, and analyze everything — my environment. That’s really what inspires me to put it down on paper and put it through the mic and speak it to the public’s ears.
BallerStatus.com: When it comes to the studio, do you pretty much leave it up to the producer or are you more of a hands-on artist?
Pitbull: No, no, no, no, I do everything. I do everything. For like a “Krazy” record, it was a record called “Cream” from a producer out in Italy called Federico Franchi. I heard the beat about maybe a year ago in the club, and I wanted to do something with it. I didn’t have the right hook at the time, so I just let it sit until I got the right hook. Once I got the right hook, put it all together, then I told Jon he needs to put some 808s behind it to make it a ghetto/dance record. So, when you hear it in the clubs, and you feel that 808, that’s what gives it that “ghetto” feel. But, I’m definitely hands on with all my records until, till the last … sh*, the last mix, master, you name it.
BallerStatus.com: What are some of the other realms of entertainment that you have been branching off into?
Pitbull: Definitely within entertainment, you have Mr. 305 Inc., which launched, and then we got a couple artists that’s gonna be coming out first quarter. And, also, looking to get into Hollywood, which we’ve gotten a bunch of scripts as we speak. I just feel like I don’t like to get into something if I ain’t giving it 150%. Since the music is the bread and butter, make sure the music is straight, and then go off and do what we gotta do as far as to the acting side. And, on another note, you know, I got a TV show on the network called Mun Dos. A lot of people call it Mun2. It’s basically like MTV, just bilingual, and this is a network that caters to 24 million viewers, and my sh** was number one on there last year. So, this year … the show is called “La Esquina,” which means “The Corner” in English, and it’s basically a show that touches up on different topics that are very relevant in our society.
BallerStatus.com: So then, it’s similar to a MTV and/or VH1 network?
Pitbull: Nah, we don’t show no videos or nothing like that. We have a bunch of artists that come on and state their opinions on things that are going on. So, it’s sorta like … um, sh**, a Bill Maher/Dave Chappelle, you know, a lot of comedy attached to it. But, at the same time, you have something with … there’s a message attached to it.
BallerStatus.com: With 305 Inc., is there already an artist roster intact?
Pitbull: I’m working right now with an artist called David Rush, aka Young Bo$$. We got a cat named KornBread. I have an female R&B singer that’s gonna be coming out. It’s really all about just making sure that my label situation gets right. So first, I have to get my situation right, then the label situation right, and then they’re gonna be off and running.
BallerStatus.com: Okay. So, what has been the biggest misconception about your career?
Pitbull: The biggest misconception I feel of my career is that they could never find nothing to categorize me in. So, they always say, “Well, is he crunk? Is he a southern rapper? Is he reggaeton? Is he this? Is he that?” So, they try to stuff me in all these different categories. And, I think that’s the biggest misconception. As far as they say, “Oh, he only does these big club records.” But, they haven’t really heard the whole catalog, so that may be a misconception also. But, you know, everything is with time. I like everything with time. You know, in the south we say, “There’s a slow grind, but a fa sho grind!” That’s really what it’s about. If it comes quick, it leaves quicker. We definitely don’t want that.
BallerStatus.com: Besides music, what are some of your other extracurricular activities?
Pitbull: In my spare time, I usually spend it with the family, and I just like to be around water — some type of body of water: ocean, lake, something. For some reason, that makes me relax and it helps me think about everything that I got going on. But, even in my spare time, I’m always thinking about what needs to be happening, what new ideas we can put in as far as applies to the career, what this guy’s doing, how come we’re not doing this. So, you know, it’s always a grind for me. My brain’s always going hard.
BallerStatus.com: How has the hip-hop game changed since you first entered into the business?
Pitbull: I mean, I’m happy with the current state of hip-hop music to the point where it’s created a lot of opportunities for those that would have been off in the street maybe doing something else. I mean, it’s become a billion dollar enterprise, and I think that’s what I do love about hip-hop. But, then in hip-hop, too, where I feel these major companies are taking it, exploiting it, taking advantage of it, and then just letting it go, you know, just to sh**. Like a piece of p**** or some sh**, you know. They f*** it, and they’re like, “Ok, cool, we’re over for the night!” And, they good to go, and there’s not the dedication I feel that there was before, as far as on the label side.
But, I understand their fight also, because they were fighting technology for so long where they seen that they finally had to merge with them. I think they’re playing catch up to the internet, when they could’ve been one of the firsts to really take advantage of the internet. I think that’s what’s happening now. Also, as far as artists, I think we have a lot of talented artists out there that have a lot to say, have great punch-lines, great wordplay. But definitely me coming from the era I came from, which was, like the 2 Live Crew, Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle, sh** Nas’ Illmatic, Jay-Z Reasonable Doubt, Biggie Ready To Die albums, Juvenile 400 Degreez, and there’s classics before that. But, those were mine — the ones that really influenced me. I think we can take it to another level. I think Kanye West puts out great work. I think Lil Wayne puts out great work. T.I., Young Jeezy, they put out great albums. So, there’s still cats out there that are doing their thing. And, Jay-Z, obviously with … American Gangster was a f***ing great album.
BallerStatus.com: Now that we’re in this “digital age,” what are your feelings on all the illegal downloading/file sharing that seems to be not only slowly-destroying the industry, but also stealing money straight from the artists’ pockets?
Pitbull: I wouldn’t say it’s slowly destroying the culture, and I don’t think it’s really taking money out of the artists’ pockets. To me, it’s a form of promotion. If you download my music and you give it off to a family member or friend or whatever, you’re doing me a favor. That means I’m gonna be able to get shows. One way or another, it gets compensated. I’ve been one of those artists that they download a lot of my sh**, but, I mean, I’m on the road constantly, and internationally. Not just in the U.S. So, it’s helped me in a way. And, I feel like, “Yeah, you may lose some, but you’re winning a whole lot also.” It just depends how you look at it.
BallerStatus.com: To date, what has been your greatest career achievement?
Pitbull: Man, to be honest with you I don’t really think I’ve achieved much yet, man. I think I’ve been on the low, just hustling and grinding. Been working hard, and now is when I think is the whole Pit movement is about to explode. Where people are not going to be able to categorize me and say, “Oh, no, he’s just this, he’s just that.” No, they’re gonna be like, “Wow, that motherf***er is talented. He’s been here for years.” It’s like everybody know Pit, everybody knows the songs, and it just hasn’t got a chance to explode. Either due to the situation I was in, which to me was a great situation — TVT. Because there was education in the music game. It was my four years of Harvard in the music game, and it gives me a chance now to be a more educated music businessman. When I’m cutting deals with these major labels, as far as being involved, owning sh**, just being distributed, our own infrastructure. So now is when I feel that … I’ll tell you what, the biggest thing that I’ve f***in’ achieved in the game is beating TVT Records, and getting the f*** out of there. That to me was a long fight, cost a lot of money, but it’s all worth it.
BallerStatus.com: I didn’t know it was always that bad over at TVT Records.
Pitbull: For what it was is this: I came in on the heydays of TVT. They were selling millions of records. I ended up selling like 700,000 with the first album, and they have a great staff. They had a great staff, great promotional staff, great marketing staff, great A&R, but the building, little by little, started crumbling because the president became very egotistical. He didn’t want to do this, didn’t want to do that, wanted to fight everybody in the industry, and, TVT kinda got blackballed, and that’s how everything started to deteriorate. Everything started to go downhill on TVT. So, when you got somebody, a president of a company of an independent, and there’s big, big, big acts out there that want to do records with your artist and you’re not letting it happen, I mean, not only are you hurting your artist’s career, but at the same time, you’re hurting yourself. (laughs) The bigger your artist is, the bigger your label is.
BallerStatus.com: What is your 5 to 10 year plan in this business?
Pitbull: 5, 10 years, down the line … hmm … I see myself … I want to have the longevity of like a Celia Cruz. She was huge to us, coming from the island of Cuba. I want to be able to enterprise. I want to be able to open businesses, restaurants, etc. Like Gloria Estefan and Emilio Estefan did. And, as far as career-wise, I want to be able to be the one that has taken, they say “Latin Rap,” I don’t call it “Latin Rap.” I just happen to be Latin, and I’m a rapper. But, that happens to open the door for those that are also bilingual and took it to the next level, where they can place me next to a Jay, next to a Diddy, who did it business-wise and also does it artistically. So, let’s see. But, those are definitely the goals.
BallerStatus.com: Rebelution, when is it due out?
Pitbull: It don’t have an exact date, but I’m looking for a summer 2009 release.
BallerStatus.com: And, for the readers of BallerStatus.com, is there anything you wanna leave them with?
Pitbull: Man, it’s just like always, man. Thanks to the fans. They’re the reason that I’m here, and thank God.