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Pitbull: Blowing Up In 2005

hip-hopFresh from performing alongside Paulina Rubio at the MTV Latin America Awards, putting in an appearance at the VIBE Awards, and participating in MTV's recent $2 Bill Tour alongside Lil Jon, Ying Yang Twins, and Mase, Cuban-American rapper Pitbull is finally closing in on gold status with his debut album M.I.A.M.I.: Money Is A Major Issue.

After spending more than 22 weeks on Billboard's Top Independent Albums Chart, the set has sold over 475,000 copies, mostly on the strength of the first two singles "Culo" (which garnered a nomination for MTV's Best Booty Shakin' Video of 2004) and "Dammit Man." Both singles received heavy radio and MTV spins, and, like "Culo," the latest single, "Toma," features King of Crunk Lil Jon on guest vocals.

M.I.A.M.I.: Money Is A Major Issue, released August 2004 on New York's indie label TVT Records, peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart and was produced by The Diaz Brothers and Lil Jon. Featuring an exciting sound that fuses hip-hop, crunk, reggae, reggeton, and dancehall, with English and Spanish lyrics; and heavyweight guests such as Lil Jon, Trick Daddy and Fat Joe, the album has turned the 24 year-old into one of the most heated rap acts in the U.S. The album was also recently released in the UK, Spain, France, Germany, and Australia in conjunction with a successful European tour.

"It�s an honor and blessing for me to be involved in everything that I am involved with," he said in an interview with Allhiphop.com. "I mean I am involved in everything down south from Crunk, to Reggaeton, to Latin music. I�m in everything."

One of the few Latino rappers to achieve mainstream hip-hop success, Pitbull, whose birth name is Armando Perez, continues to be ultra busy in 2005 with a multitude of projects. Look for him alongside P. Diddy, Lil Wayne, TI, and Lloyd in an upcoming Sean John Spring print campaign. Other musical collaborations include a guest spot on Cuban rap group Orishas forthcoming release Kilo, set to drop March 15th. Pitbull also recently recorded a Spanish version of "Dammit Man" with Latin rappers Voltio and Chingo Bling, under the new title "Dale Mang."

Hip-hop's first Cuban Crunk artist also hipped us to his plans for the near future.

"Next on my agenda... I will be doing an all-Spanish album soon and I am doing a few compilations. I just dropped my mixtape Unleashed vol. 4 and I am working on volume 5, but my goal is to be in an office soon. Everyone knows as an artist you are a slave to the game, so I just can�t wait until I am in an office somewhere making executive decisions and giving other people a chance to get on."

In glaring contrast to his lyrics, which focus almost exclusively on sex, women and thuggery, Pitbull is extremely outspoken on the topic of politics and social issues. The son of Cuban immigrants, who nurtured their son on the poetry of Cuban poet Jos� Mart�, penned a New York Post essay condemning the iconization of Che Guevara. In addition, he spoke on National Public Radio about issues concerning Cuban-American relations, and is the subject of an upcoming feature in The Source regarding his stance on Fidel Castro.

Pitbull is also quick to stand by his party lyrics and
speak on criticism that Crunk isn't real hip-hop music.

"Coming from the South everything is emotional, I mean here you have Cubans who escaped a so called revolution from a country that was communist, you have Dominicans coming over, you got Puerto Ricans, Haitians that are fighting for their country coming over, Black people that went through slavery, and I get so deep into it because that�s why we are so emotional and that is where the music comes from. So when the South makes music, it�s for muthaf***as to get loose and free and�Crunk. That�s why when we are in the club, we don�t just stand against the wall and mug muthaf***as, we get Crunk and bounce around. Women get loose and bounce around, ya know because to be honest, we just don�t give a f**k."

Other upcoming 2005 plans see Pitbull remaining in the spotlight with performances on NBC Weekend Vibe, BET Madd Sports, Telemundo, Pepsi Musica, and SiTV. Pitbull also plays himself in the upcoming videogame Scarface, and "Culo" is featured in the videogame Midnight Club 3 Dub.

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