Born Armando Christian Pérez but known by his stage name, Pitbull is an American rapper, songwriter and producer who’s been making music since the early 2000s. We’ve come to know the superstar as Mr Worldwide, but what was his very first song?
Pitbull’s first recorded performance was on a solo track called ‘Pitbull’s Cuban Rideout’ from Lil Jon’s 2002 album, ‘Kings of Crunk’. He released his debut album ‘M.I.A.M.I’ under TVT Records in 2004, with executive production from Lil Jon, and quickly became a pop icon.
Read on to learn more about the rapper’s early music and his rise to stardom.
Remembering his Roots
Though he’s one of the highest paid rappers on the planet, Pitbull hasn’t always been surrounded by riches. Born to Cuban parents in Miami, who split when he was very young, the rapper did a brief stint in a foster home before turning to dealing drugs to make money.
Pitbull was served some tough love by his mother who kicked him out of the house for his involvement with drugs, an act he credits with giving him the “freedom” to wake up and focus on his goals.
The bilingual rapper has never forgotten his roots and at the age of three, he could recite the works of famous Cuban poet, José Martí. He was influenced by the Miami bass genre of pop music and when crunk rappers began to take mainstream success, the rapper knew where to seek stardom.
Appearing on Miami mixtapes brought him to the attention of Lil Jon, and Pitbull landed his first mainstream appearance on the ‘Kings of Crunk’ album in 2002, with the track ‘Pitbull’s Cuban Rideout’.
Ready to make a name for himself and his city, Pitbull released his full-length debut album ‘M.I.A.M.I’ in 2004, which received critical praise and attention for tracks such as ‘Culo” and “That’s Nasty”. One review of the album praised Pitbull’s ‘excellent taste in collaborators’.
Perhaps the king of collaborations, Pitbull has worked with a staggering and seemingly unending number of high-profile musicians, including Kesha, Sean Paul, Jennifer Lopez, Flo Rida and R. Kelly. With his confident lyrics and distinctive sound, Pitbull’s popularity and celebrity status continue to skyrocket.
“Music is My Hustle”
For Pitbull, rap has always been as much about business as the music. In the music mogul’s own words, “music is my hustle” and “rap is a 24/7 job”.
His early mentor, Lil Jon, said of the star at the start of his career, “He understands the hustle of the game. He understands the politics. He understands you don’t sleep right now.”
In addition to releasing hugely successful albums, the entrepreneur has made numerous savvy business deals. The star has released his own line of fragrances, made a TV development deal with Endemol North America, and even launched a multicultural marketing agency in 2019, aptly called 305 Worldwide.
More importantly, he looks the part – the star is always, always sharply dressed. Admiring his look Usher said, “He constantly is a gentleman. There’s something about a man who at every turn shows up with a suit on — and will sweat for two hours in it. He’s committed, man.”
The singer has adopted various stage names over the years and, unsurprisingly, they all have meaning.
The rapper has explained that he chose ‘Pitbull’ because, “they bite to lock. They’re basically everything that I am. It’s been a constant fight”.
He originally gave himself another stage name in reference to his city’s area code, ‘Mr 305’, but he’s since become ‘Mr Worldwide’. In his own words, “Everywhere I go everybody knows Mr. 305, Mr. Dade County, Miami boy representing. When I say Mr. Worldwide, it’s because we’re all around the world”.