Like the fighting pitbull dog he takes his name from, Pitbull the artist has a bad boy reputation and image. He’s tenacious and talented, a versatile Cuban-American rapper who has fought his way to the top of the global music scene by combining catchy hooks, rapid-fire rhymes and booming Latin dance-inspired beats.
He plays the incongruity of his irreverent lyrics and his impeccable suits to great effect, presenting himself as confident, sexy, and charming.
Pitbull’s early years played a huge role in shaping the artist he would become, so any Pitbull biography has to start here. Pitbull came into the world in 1981 as Armando Christian Pérez, son of Cuban immigrants in Miami.
By the time he was three, his drug dealing father had him reciting the poetry of Cuban poet José Martí in Little Havana’s bars, giving the future rapper a taste for verse.
For young Pitbull, family proved short-lived, as his parents soon separated. His mother struggled to raise him on her own, and Pitbull actually spent time with a foster family in Georgia at one point.
At age 16, Pitbull’s mother kicked him out after discovering he had followed in his father’s footsteps and become involved with drug dealing. He soon began rapping, performing in clubs whenever he could. He christened himself Pitbull after a dog he called “too stupid to lose,” out for a “constant fight,” and began his rise towards stardom.
Pitbull’s Best Songs
In reality Pitbull had been pumping out hit rap and Latin singles for years prior to “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)” going global.
The real breakthrough moment of his career occurred much earlier, when Lil Jon gave him his own track entitled “Pitbull’s Cuban Rideout” on his 2002 album “Kings of Crunk.”
This marked an important moment for the young rapper who had previously had trouble being taken seriously in the rap community due to his fair skin, blue eyes, and Cuban origins.
Some of Pitbull’s best songs include:
- 2004 – “Culo” (featuring Lil Jon)
- 2007 – “The Anthem” (featuring Lil Jon)
- 2008 – “Krazy” (featuring Lil Jon)
- 2009 – “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)”
- 2009 – “Hotel Room Service”
- 2010 – “Hey Baby (Drop It To the Floor)” (featuring T-Pain)
- 2011 – “Give Me Everything” (featuring Ne-Yo, AfroJack and Nayer)
- 2013 – “Feel This Moment” (featuring Christina Aguilera)
- 2013 – “Timber” (featuring Ke$ha)
Pitbull has also appeared as featured artist on many hit songs by a wide variety of artists, showing his versatility. For example:
- 2010 – “I Like It” by Enrique Iglesias
- 2010 – “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” by Usher
- 2011 – “On the Floor” by Jennifer Lopez
Pitbull in Concert
Unlike other rappers that perform with just a DJ backing them up, Pitbull concerts feature a huge live band supporting the main man’s clever, sometimes raunchy rhymes.
Pitbull uses the raw energy of the band to enhance his own performance, interacting with the musicians to create an experience that simply can’t be matched by listening to a recording.
Pitbull has said he feels like he’s “riding a bolt of lightning” when he’s on stage, and you definitely feel that energy and excitement coursing through the crowd too during a Pitbull concert.