Armando Christian Pérez (born January 15, 1981), better known by his stage name Pitbull, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter and producer. Pérez was born to Cuban immigrant parents who made him recite the works of poet
José Martí. He encountered problems early in his career as a rapper 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 from Miami 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. 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 then released Rebelution in 2009, which included singles “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)” and “Krazy”. The latter peaked at #30 on the Hot 100 and #11 on the Hot Rap Tracks charts while “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. He later signed with Polo Grounds Music through Sony Music and created his own label Mr. 305 Inc. Other singles from Rebelution included “Blanco” featuring Pharrell Williams of The Neptunes and “Hotel Room Service“, the latter of which peaked at #9 on the Hot 100.
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”.
M.I.A.M.I.: Money Is a Major Issue(2004)
El Mariel (2006)
The Boatlift (2007)
Planet Pit (2011)