MACUILXOCHITL: Five Flower,” the Aztec god of music and dance
By Francisco H. Ciriza
While it may be difficult for many to see past his contemporary rap/hip-hop look and demeanor, Cuban-American rapper, Pitbull, does possess a deeper individual identity. His music is meant to be played loud which only serves to amplify the often misogynistic lyrical content and to boost the all ready apparent cocky attitude, but there is also a tendency to hear some fresh sounding beats and a style that may actually more original than most in this genre.
La Prensa San Diego caught up and spoke with Pitbull recently as he tours the U.S. in support of his TVT Records debut, “M.I.A.M.I. (Money Is A Major Matter)” which included a San Diego appearance at Thursday night’s Jingle Jamm festivities at the San Diego Sports Arena.
Born to Cuban parents, the now 23 year old Pitbull grew up in Miami, and quickly took a liking to the urban influenced rap and hip-hop sounds he heard during his formative years. Intent on becoming a star, the young pup, took to the streets, rap style, to make a name for himself. Independently producing his own tapes of his music, he gained not only the attention of the locals, but he also began raising eyebrows among some of rap and hip-hop’s elite.
When national touring acts came to Miami time after time, they took of Pit-bull’s ever presence, his skills and style, and perhaps most importantly, his growing fan base.
“I was lucky. Every time guys like Lil Jon and Fat Joe would come to Miami, they’d help me out. They heard my tapes. They molded me and helped me take over the Miami scene,” said Pitbull.
While he certainly can play the part, just check him out at the opening of Lil Jon and the East Side Boy’s video for “What U Gon’ Do,” his street attire, tattoos legitimizing his edge, Pitbull actually speaks in a relatively quiet tone that emanates a certain humility thus allowing him to present himself in a confident, but unassuming manner.
A relatively unique aspect of Pitbull’s style is his extensive use of Spanish. He’s proud of his heritage and enjoys the added dimension his first language offers his songs. Many Latino rappers have experimented with using bits of the language, but rare has been the case when an artists has offered a set of entire songs in Spanish.
Furthermore, with his firm place alongside his mentors such as Lil Jon, Trick Daddy, and Fat Joe, some of rap’s biggest names, Pitbull looks to act as a cohesive factor among the various subgroups within the scene.
“I like to present myself with as much versatility as I can. If I can bring together more cultures, I feel I’m doing something positive. Not just for music, but for people,” said the rapper.
He is consistently positive and respective about those who have shown him the way such as with the well-known and established producers, the Diaz Brothers. “They were always there for me. I’m going to stick with the Diaz Brothers,” added Pitbull when asked about his plans regarding future recording projects. “They’re like family,” added the rapper.
And while Pitbull says to “expect the unexpected” from him on his future recording endeavors, he has plenty of business at hand to tend to before moving on to the next project. After having his performance at the MTV Latin America Video Awards aired this past October and eventually rebroadcast on MTV2 and MTV a little over a week later, sales for “M.I.A.M.I.” surpassed 250,000 units and recently hit No. 14 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart.
He also continues enjoying chart success with his recent collaborations with Lil Jon, Daddy Yankee. He does a guest spot on Lil Jon’s best-selling disc “Crunk Juice” on the track “What U Gonna Do” (Latino Remix), while his collaboration with Daddy Yankee and Noreaga on “Gasolina” (DJ Buddha Remix) has hit big on Latin radio stations across the country.