Armando Christian Pérez, or as he is known to most of the world, Pitbull, is a bit of an enigma in modern music. Few artists are as divisive as the American rapper, with many people choosing to ridicule his massively successful music career while others consider him a producer and writer who knows exactly what is needed to create a successful pop song.
When you take a look back at the career of the Miami native, it is hard not to be impressed by the variety and range of the career that he has had. Pitbull’s career began effectively began in 2001, when he was first signed to Luke Records, before shortly moving on to work for Robert Fernandez at the independent label Famous Artist Music & Management. Even in the early days, there seemed to be an undeniably thirst to succeed, and it was Fernandez who started to push the Florida rapper towards a more radio friendly sound. He would eventually introduce Pitbull to esteemed and respected hip-hop artist Lil Jon, who would be offered a track on his 2002 album, Kings of Crunk. The track, entitled Pitbull’s Cuban Ride Out, would prove to be a massive moment in the career of the young rapper.
2004 would see the first major steps forward for the solo career of the rapper as he released his debut album was released, M.I.A.M.I. The lead single from the album, Culo, would go on to chart at no. 32 on the Billboard Hot 100 and helped to further highlight the rise of the performer. The year would also see him go on to work with some of the biggest names in, including Eminem, 50 Cent, Adassa, and others. The following year would see,Pitbull and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs found the Bad Boy Latino aspect of Bad Boy Records. This element of the label would be responsible for focusing on Latin hip-hop, Latin soul, and Latin pop and tropical music.
In 2005, Pitbull would go on to feature on the debut album for now world famous DJ and producer, DJ Khaled, performing on three different tracks. The following year would see the release of the second studio album by the Cuban-American rapper, El Mariel, which would see Pitbull take on a much more political vibe as the rapper started to push his sound out a bit more. The album would peak at the top of the Billboard independent charts, and would be closely followed the following year ( November 2007) by the third studio album, The Boatlift. It had been hinted that the album would take on a more gangsta rap feel than earlier releases and this was seen on tracks like Go Girl (featuring Trina). Not content just to stay recording music, in May 2007 he would also premier his variety show Pitbull’s La Esquina on the mun2 TV channel, it would run for two years.
There seemed to be no end to the production line, and album no. 4 would be released in 2008, entitled Rebelution. The album would include the single I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho), which would be one of the most successful singles for the artist peaking at no.2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and charting well international. It is considering the song that made Pitbull a global star. The album featured another successful single in the form of Hotel Room Service, and would go on to sell over 7,500,000 worldwide digital singles and albums combined.
2010 would prove to be another massive year for the Cuban-American performer. He would feature on the rap section of a Haiti benefit song called Somos El Mundo, which was a Spanish translation version of the popular Michael Jackson song We Are The World. The year would also see collaborations with Cypress Hill, Alexandra Burke, and Usher. Then in November of 2010, Pitbull would release his debut Spanish language album entitled Armando, while also receiving seven nominations at the 2011 Billboard Latin Music Awards.
After a brief period collaborating with Jennifer Lopez on a few singles in April 2011, in June of the same year he would release his sixth studio album, Planet Pit. The second single from this record, Give Me Everything (feat. Ne-Yo and Afrojack) would be the first single from the performer to reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100. However, the song would not be without controversy as American actress Lindsay Lohan would go on to sue the three performers for defamation after a line in the song referencing her by name. The case would eventually be thrown out under a First Amendment ruling.
In October 2011 it was announced that Pitbull would be releasing future music under the RCA Records label, rather than the disbanded J Records, and a year later would see the release of the seventh album by the performer, Global Warming. The rapper would later go on to say that the album was another effort to draw attention to something of global concern, and would use the fact that his career had been around for a while and people had only recently started to notice, the same could be said about the phenomenon of global warming and climate change. Five days after the launch of Global Warming, Pitbull would release the extended version of the album, Global Warming: Meltdown, which would contain the track that the rapper is perhaps best know for. One of the standout tracks from the discography of the artist is the 2013 single Timber, which featured vocals by American pop artist Kesha. The song would make it to number 1 on the Billboard Charts in America, and would also chart around the world.
2013 would also see the artist perform at a lot of highly esteemed events such as the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix and also hosted the American Music Awards of 2013, and he would also perform at the opening ceremony for 2014 FIFA World Cup with Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte – performing a song called We Are One which was released as a single in April 2014.
Later in 2014, the rapper would release his eighth studio album Globalization in November of that year. The album would spawn six singles, including Celebrate (which would feature on the Penguins of Madagascar movie soundtrack) and the song Fun (featuring Chris Brown).
There seemed to be no sign in the production line of Pitbull albums slowing down and he would release his ninth album overall, and second all Spanish language release, Dale in July 2015. This album would result in Pitbull winning a Grammy Music Awards in the category of Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album. Two years later in March 2017, fans saw the release of the tenth album by the artist, entitled Climate Change.
However, despite the public mocking that Pitbull often receives for his music, it is important to remember the generosity that he continues to show with the wealth he has accumulated. There remains lots of evidence of the performer actively engaging in charity work to improve the lives of others. In the past decade, he has worked tirelessly to help the Latino population in his hometown, choosing to do this through a range of education initiatives and programmes. The SLAM! programme (Sports Leadership and Management), a tuition-free public charter that he set up in 2013 now operates nationally across America and boasts a 96% graduation rate. He chose to help in the aftermath of the devastation after Hurricane Maria in 2017 by using his private jet to transport cancer patients from Puerto Rico to the mainland United States. Acts like this help to remind us that the charismatic performer is still strongly connected to his roots and refuses to forget about the environments that raised him.
He may be misunderstood or confusing sometimes, but you can’t knock the career of the man.