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Pitbull: Putting M.I.A. on Lock (second and third interview here)

10/27/04 - exclusive interview by Dante



rapper Pitbull pic

Pitbull released his debut album "M.I.A.M.I.: Money Is A Major Issue" on TVT Records this past August, the album was produced by The Diaz Brothers and crunk king Lil Jon. The 23 year-old Cuban-American rapper's sound combines hip-hop, crunk, reggae, reggaeton, and dance-hall, with English and Spanish lyrics. Album sales for "M.I.A.M.I." have surpassed 200,000 units and hit #14 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, and Pitbull prepares to record the video for his next bilingual single "Toma", the follow-up to "Culo" featuring Lil Jon.


Pitbull will also be performing on the MTV Latin America video awards live with a re-broadcast on MTV U.S. on Saturday, Oct. 30th at 11:00p.m. PT/ET. Pitbull took time out to speak with LatinRapper about his new album and more in an exclusive Q&A You've gotten a good reception to M.I.A.M.I., has the exposure been better than you had originally expected it?

Oh no, definitely, I'm used to a very slow grind. But it's definitely been overwhelming, I'm not gonna lie.

For those who haven't hit the store to buy Miami yet, how can you best describe it?

I would say it's a melting pot, a lot of different music, a lot of different versatility, a lot of different topics being touched on the album.

Though you're not really reggaeton, you hooked up with Daddy Yankee on the Gasolina remix which skyrocketed up the tropical charts. How did that collabo come about?

I mean, he's heard about my movement, I heard about his, we respected each other's movements and really wanted to do something together.

You're down with TVT, what do you have planned with them in the future?

I've planned a bunch of things with TVT, I feel like I'm bringing something new to them, opening doors. On the Latin side, I'm bringing them things hopefully they can handle, ‘cause a lot of Latin artists are gonna want to come through as big as I did, not just in their regions.

How has the touring experience been for you so far?

Its been a beautiful thing, but nothing I'm not used to. I went on tour with Luke, did 35 cities, I did that before. Its just connecting with people from city to city.

Who are some artists that you are looking forward to collaborating with?

Right now, I don't really project things like that, I sorta just work with people who wanna rock with me. Jay Z... I wish I coulda worked with Celia Cruz but she passed, other than that I'm straight.

Many Latin artists on the East and West coast have earned their stripes nationally, but few when it comes to crunk. In the Southeast, what is that makes Pitbull stand out?

I been doing the mixtape thing down here for a while, so they been hearing me on that. So a record like "Culo" may touch nationally, with "Toma" I'm touching everyone with my hardcore following. I'm always sort of outdoing myself on these beats, and people are picking up on it, they're biting. The beautiful thing, like you said, is we are able to take this on the next level, meaning nationally.

You seem to stress your Cuban background in your music and promotion, how important is it to you that people recognize you as a Cuban rapper rather than just a rapper?

I'm not a Latin rapper, I'm a rapper that happens to be Latin, you feel me. With that said, I just want them to know where I'm from. Just like Jamaicans do, just like Puerto Ricans with Reggaeton. Just like black people with slavery, Jewish with the Holocaust, Cubans and Nicaraguans who had revolutions in their country, so I just want them to know my culture, my struggle, so they can learn from us as much as we learn from them.

You mentioned Cuba, have you been back?

Mmhmm, Yes I've been to Cuba.

I've asked other artists from Cuba this before; if they were organized free shows out there, would you go perform for free?

I'd be very interested in that, because it comes from the heart. But politically it wouldn't be a good move for Pitbull because I'd be supporting Castro. I cannot go out there and speak my mind, I'd be put in prison.

Anything else you want to mention to the readers out there?

Anybody that supports Pitbull, I really appreciate it.. If not for the fans I wouldn't be sh*t. Anybody else trying to get in this game: patience, passion plus perseverance equals success, hurry up and wait.

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