Pitbull at the Alhambra High School prom, Alhambra, California, 2007
|Birth name||Armando Christian Pérez|
|Born||January 14, 1981
Miami, Florida. United States
|Genres||Hip hop, Reggaetón|
|Associated acts||Bun B, Cubo, DJ Khaled, Lil Jon, David Rush, Trick Daddy, Twista|
Armando Christian Pérez (born January 14, 1981), better known by his stage name Pitbull, is an American rapper. His first recorded performance was from the Lil Jon album Kings of Crunk in 2002, after which he released his debut album in 2004 titled M.I.A.M.I. (short for Money Is a Major Issue) under TVT Records. Since then, he has released two other albums under the label, El Mariel in 2006 and The Boatlift in 2007. He is also the host of his own Spanish-language program on the cable channel Mun2 titled La Esquina (Spanish for The Corner).
Pérez was born to first-generation Cuban immigrant parents who made him recite the works of poet José Martí. He is of Spanish descent and encountered problems early in his career as a rap artist because he was white, blue-eyed and Cuban American. He was also influenced by the Miami bass genre of hip hop music and has cited Celia Cruz and Willy Chirino as sources of inspiration for his music. Pitbull's parents separated when he was young and he was raised by his mother. He later spent time with a foster family in Roswell, Georgia. He began rapping in high school and was inspired by Nas, The Notorious B.I.G. and Big Pun. At age 16, his mother kicked him out of their house after he became a drug dealer. He then graduated Coral Park High School and focused his career in rapping. After meeting Irv Gotti, Pitbull met Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew, who encouraged him to rap battle on radio. He expressed interest in the West coast and East coast genres later in life.
Pitbull explained the reason behind choosing his stage name, saying that the dog "bite[s] 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 addition, Pitbull also released several mixtapes, composed of freestyles and remixes of popular rap music. Campbell featured Pitbull in his single "Lollipop".
In 2004, Pitbull released his debut album M.I.A.M.I., with the lead single being "Culo" ("butt" in English; can be used as "ass" in context) produced by Lil Jon and the Diaz Brothers. It peaked at #32 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #11 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. Other singles included "Dammit Man", "Back Up", "Toma", and "That's Nasty" (both featuring Lil Jon). He joined the Anger Management Tour, the 2005 hip-hop concert tour headlined by Eminem and 50 Cent. Pitbull also appeared on the Ying Yang Twins' single "Shake", which peaked at #41 on the Hot 100 and #12 on the rap chart, and Twista's "Hit the Floor" (#94 Hot 100, #20 Rap). Remix album Money Is Still a Major Issue was released in November 2005; it included new track "Everybody Get Up", a duet with hip-hop/R&B group Pretty Ricky.
TVT Records, Pitbull's label at the time, and Slip-N-Slide Records disputed over the release of Welcome to the 305, an unreleased album that Pitbull recorded with Slip-N-Slide in 2001. A judge in Miami made a decision allowing Slip-N-Slide to release the album, and a U.S. District Court judge affirmed the decision further. In March 2007, TVT was ordered to pay Slip-N-Slide $9.1 million for blocking the album release.
In January 2006, he guest-starred in UPN's South Beach. Also in 2006, he recorded "Nuestro Himno" in collaboration with Wyclef Jean, Carlos Ponce, and Olga Tañón. On Listennn... the Album, the debut album by Terror Squad member and Miami radio personality DJ Khaled, Pitbull performed on two singles: "Holla At Me" and "Born-n-Raised" alongside other Southern based rappers.
El Mariel, Pitbull's second album, was released in October 2006. The title was in reference to the boat that transported Cuban refugees to Florida in the movie Scarface. He dedicated the album to his father, who died that year in May. Along with the usual party-oriented tracks, Pitbull also included politically-themed tracks in El Mariel. The album was released on October 31, 2006, and included singles "Bojangles", "Ay Chico (Lengua Afuera)", "Fuego", and duet with Puerto Rican singer Ken-Y, "Dime (Remix)". El Mariel topped the Billboard independent albums chart and peaked at #17 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the rap chart.
Pitbull's third album, titled The Boatlift, was released in November 2007, spawned by the single "Secret Admirer" featuring Lloyd on the chorus. Earlier, Pitbull announced that this album would have a more gangsta rap edge than his earlier albums. Subsequent singles included "Go Girl" featuring Trina, and "The Anthem" featuring and produced Lil Jon, that song sampling the hook from the song "El Africano" by Wilfrido Vargas and the beat from the song "Calabria" by Rune RK. "Go Girl" peaked at #80 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #36 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart; "The Anthem" #36 on the Hot 100 and #11 on the Hot Rap Tracks.
His variety show, Pitbull's La Esquina, debuted May 2007 on the mun2 cable network. On December 21, 2007, Pitbull was arrested for drunk driving; he posted $1,000 on bail and pleaded not guilty. He was later acquitted from the charge. Pitbull also appeared on DJ Laz' "Move Shake Drop" and DJ Felli Fel's "Feel It".
For his latest album Rebelution, Pitbull released "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" through Ultra Records after his former label TVT Records went out of business. "Krazy" peaked at #30 on the Hot 100 and #11 on the Hot Rap Tracks charts. "I Know You Want Me" peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 and peaked within the top ten spots of charts in the UK, Canada, Italy, and the Netherlands. The song reached #1 in France and the European Hot 100 on the week ending August 29, 2009 according to Billboard magazine. On Dec. 11, 2009, Billboard announced their Year-End Canadian Update, placing "I Know You Want Me" at #7 on the Hot 100 chart and #2 on the CHR/Top 40 chart.  He later signed with Polo Grounds Music through Sony Music and created his own label Mr. 305 Inc. Other singles included "Blanco" featuring Pharrell Williams of The Neptunes and "Hotel Room Service", the latter of which peaked at #9 on the Hot 100. On their second collaboration since "Go Girl", Pitbull appeared on the debut single of rapper David Rush (formerly Young Bo$$), "Shooting Star", also with Kevin Rudolf and LMFAO. An amateur video of Pitbull punching a disruptive audience member at a Colorado concert leaked on the Internet in late May 2009. Pitbull explained to MTV News that it was because the fan kept throwing cash around the stage, and after Pitbull pulled him up to the stage, he threw a stash of money right in Pitbull's face. He has been tapped by the Miami Dolphins to work alongside T-Pain & Jimmy Buffett to release a new fight song for the Dolphins. The city of Miami granted Pitbull a "Key to the City" honor on August 19.