Pitbull: Cuba Libre

José Martí, the “Apostle of Cuban Independence” believed, “Happiness exists on earth, and it is won through prudent exercise of reason, knowledge of the harmony of the universe, and constant practice of generosity.” While the realm of Hip-Hop at times is dominated by materialism or melancholy, Armondo “Pitbull” Perez is the personification of Martí’s belief. […]

José Martí, the “Apostle of Cuban Independence” believed, “Happiness exists on earth, and it is won through prudent exercise of reason, knowledge of the harmony of the universe, and constant practice of generosity.” While the realm of Hip-Hop at times is dominated by materialism or melancholy, Armondo “Pitbull” Perez is the personification of Martí’s belief. This first generation Cuban-American is proud of his heritage and he’s successfully living the American dream. Pittbull’s motto of “patience, passion and perseverance equals success” is the template that’s helped to establish his presence in Hip-Hop.Now Mr.305 is immersing himself in worlds outside of Hip-Hop. Last year his reality show, Pitbull’s: La Esquina, airing on mun2, was the number one rated show on the network. This shrewd businessman, who is known for investing into real estate, is beaming as he obtains oceanfront property for what feels like a steal. Amid the hectic schedule Pitbull founded the non-profit Imaginate Foundation. The nationwide program’s mission is to award scholarships to first, second, and third generation immigrants. As a blessed survivor of TVT Records Pitbull has gone on to establish Mr. 305 Inc. Partnering with The Orchard (a leading digital music distributor) he is set to release his fifth solo album, Rebelution in the summer of 2009. The lead single “Krazy” is causing commotion as zealous fans call (305) 600-3431 in hopes of receiving a return call from Pitbull himself. Now free of his TVT binds, Pitbull is set on keeping his name ringing.AllHipHop.com: You’ve embraced the digital era. What can you tell me about Planetpit.com?Pitbull: Planetpit.com is a social network. On MySpace I got like 600,000 friends. If I create my own social network, I’ll be able to generate my own revenue and get out there. To me it’s just a business move; and at the same time being able to touch my fans. AllHipHop.com: Why did you use the Mike Jones marketing approach, supplying a number for fans to call in and leave “Krazy” messages? Pitbull: The whole thing [is] with Say Now; it’s honestly another way of generating revenue. But, also out of the thousands of calls that I get, I may go back and talk to five or ten of the folks or text them back. If I go back and I speak to ten fans, those ten fans are going to tell another hundred that Pit called last night. It’s a way to interact with the fans. We’re in a world where there’s a lot of technology out here. Fans have to feel like they’re wanted and appreciated. Pitbull f/ Lil Jon “Krazy” VideoAllHipHop.com: A lot of people associate you career with the crunk movement. Are you legally part of TVT Records?Pitbull: I’ve severed all ties with TVT Records. With me it goes to show you might not be treated right but you can fight and get out [of] the company. TVT went bankrupt, everybody is out of there. Lil Jon is out of there, I’m out of there, Ying Yang is out of there. It’s definitely a blessing.AllHipHop.com: You’ve established a firm musical relationship with Lil Jon, yet it was Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell who initially introduced you to the music business. Pitbull: Luke, that’s my uncle right there. I call it the Luke school of hard knocks. That’s where I learned everything, the basics. When I ran into Lil Jon, Lil Jon taught me how to make records. And when I went to TVT [it] was like my university. It’s all been a learning process. AllHipHop.com: How did you meet Luke?Pitbull: What happened was DMX was doing a video shoot down here with Drag-On in ’98 [or] ’99. I ended up battling Drag-On. Swizz Beatz, Irv Gotti was there, [DMX] was there. Irv Gotti pulled me to the side and asked me a bunch of questions. [This was] before the whole Murder Inc. thing.  The A&R that was working for Luke, Julian Booth, he’s the one that brought me to Luke. When I spit for Luke, I did all that English and the last three lines I did in Spanish. And he was like, “Oh, sh**, you outTa here.” He took me on a 30 city tour. I learned the ropes from him.AllHipHop.com: You have a proven record with your previous three albums. How have you lyrically matured? Pitbull: I’ve been constantly growing. Being with a company like TVT Records, which thank God I’m off of, I wasn’t able to do what I wanted to do. Now it’s different. I’ll be able to release and grow like I’ve been planning. Now I have the opportunity to be on other people’s records. I don’t have to worry about TVT not clearing the record or Mr. Steve Gottlieb looking for a problem. That’s not in the way no more. AllHipHop.com: Nas and Snoop Dogg were some of your early musical influences, have you been able to collaborate with them in any capacity?Pitbull: I’ve met them. I’ve had conversations with them. But, I haven’t had the chance to collaborate with them. When I was at TVT Records I had so many people I could collaborate with. But, when you’re at a label that won’t clear you to do an album with A Janet Jackson record or a Gloria Estefan record, there’s no point of me telling [someone] I want you to jump on, because they [TVT] couldn’t clear it. I didn’t want to waste nobody time. Now you will see different collaborations with a lot of different people. AllHipHop.com: What are your thoughts on ghostwriters and the Hip-Hop artists that utilize them?Pitbull: I don’t knock nobody’s hustle. Everybody out here has ghostwriters. And myself I don’t do a lot of ghostwriting. But I do ghostwrite for a lot of artists. If you got a hit record the public don’t give a  f**k whether someone else wrote it. All they want is good music at the end of the day. AllHipHop.com: Do you think that we demand too much from our Hip-Hop artists, they have to be prison vets, they have to be triple OG….Pitbull: No, I think that’s bulls**t, it’s cool to stay outta jail. I come from the cocaine capital of the United States of America. One year, everyone on their records talking about blow and yay. That’s funny because half of them don’t know what the f**k they’re talking about. The silliest guys out here do s**t because they want to thug; they want to be gangsta. They’re called studio gangstas. And then you get out here in the streets and they can’t hang in the neighborhood. It’s the ones that are quiet, the ones that are polite, the ones that are gentlemen and the ones that be in the streets that you have to watch. And ain’t too many of them in Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop’s all smoke and mirrors. AllHipHop.com: This is a pivotal election year, what are your opinions on the Democratic and Republican candidates for President and Vice President?Pitbull: I’m definitely a fan of Barack Obama. I think he’s young, sharp, motivational, inspirational. He makes you want to be American again; he makes you proud to be American. McCain is pulling some nice stuff especially with the Vice President pick with Palin. It’s like Palin done took over all the media. It was a good move on the Republican side to snatch the media away from Barack Obama. But I’m hoping he will prevail. Because if John McCain gets in office it looks like I’ll be moving to the Dominican Republic. AllHipHop.com: Do you think this was a strategic move by the Republicans to sway some of Hillary’s Clinton’s undecided voters?Pitbull: I think it was a very strategic move on their part. You can’t tell me you’re gonna put a woman in as Vice President who ran a city that only holds 9,000 people. There’s so much inexperience as far as on Palin. Now you got Barack Obama, his running mate is Joe Biden, and he’s got all the experience in the world. He can’t even get news coverage to save his life. AllHipHop.com: If Biden wore a mini-skirt would that get the attention back on the Democratic Party?Pitbull: No, I think if Biden fu**ed Britney Spears. I think that all of the attention would be on him. Unfortunately, that is the way that our society is run. It’s all about gossip. If they found him [in] some sex scandal he would be all over the news. I don’t think Jesus Christ could come down and fix the state of America right now. The people who are dedicated to change can’t get that tube time. That’s the dummy box. Half the sh** on T.V. be bulls**t anyway. That’s it McCain and Palin. AllHipHop.com: Did you help to develop the animated series “Rock, Pepe, Scissors”?Pitbull: Yeah, “Rock, Pepe, Scissors” will be on La Esquina. It’ll be integrated in the show. Sorta like Tracy Ullman brought The Simpsons to her show, that’s how I want what I’m trying to do with “Rock, Pepe, Scissors”. AllHipHop.com: How are the worlds of music and television similar and different?Pitbull: In TV you touch a whole lot more people. They pay a lot more attention to you because they’re watching you. But I think that it’s the same hustle. It’s the same grind you apply whether it be in music or in television to make any project successful. But they’re very different. You’re touching a whole lot more people when you’re on television.AllHipHop.com: Both of your parents are from Cuba, why do you think they had you memorize poetry by José Martí?Pitbull: José Martí to us is like a Martin Luther King, like a John F. Kennedy, like an Elvis. That’s what he meant to Cuba. He was so big. His poems are taught to most of the young Cuban kids out there. My father wanted to empower me as far as keeping me rooted in the culture. My father would have me recite the poems at the bars. That was my father’s doing not my mother’s.AllHipHop.com: How has the relationship you shared with your father affected the one you’ve created with your children?Pitbull: The relationship that I had with my father affected the one with my children in a positive manner. I want to be there for my kids; my father wasn’t really there for me. I try my hardest to be involved with anything that they do. I like the fact that they know that they got a father, that they know that they don’t have to worry about anything. But at the same time; I’m willing to instill what it is to appreciate hard work, and what it is to save money and to work hard for what you got. It definitely helped me out with being a father. AllHipHop.com: Hurricane Ike recently passed over the Gulf Coast, wrecking havoc. But, before that it passed over Haiti and in Cuba, devastating legions of people. There were horrific mudslides. Given your resources do you plan to help those that have been tormented by the storm?Pitbull: Definitely. September 23rd we’re doing a relief concert down here in Miami, in Hialeah [a suburb of Miami]. Me and a couple more artists, we’re doing a relief concert for Cuba and Haiti. As soon as that happened I was on the phone. It may sound f***ed up when I say this, but I’d rather a hurricane hit us than hit Cuba or Haiti. They’re not prepared in no way shape or form to handle that magnitude of that category three or category four. You see what it did as a category two in Galveston, Texas and in Houston. Just imagine what it did to Cuba and we didn’t even see those images like that. And you see what those people are going through right now and they live off of absolutely nothing. So, I’m definitely doing something to help those folks out. AllHipHop.com: Do you have any closing comments?Pitbull: I would like to thank all the fans out there because without them I wouldn’t be able to survive in this game, especially in the situation I was in. To everybody out in Hip-Hop use me as an example. I don’t beef with rappers. But, I fought a company. I took them to bankruptcy and I won the case. Now I’m officially a free agent other than the single I got with The Orchard. It goes to show man, if you play hard and really believe in something you will achieve it.