EXCLUSIVE: Pitbull Talks TVT; Fidel Castro

Rapper Pitbull is the first artist on the TVT Records roster to respond to the announcement of the label’s large round of firings in the midst of financial difficulties.

In an exclusive interview with AllHipHop.com, the Miami-based rapper spoke about TVT Records’ Chapter 11 filing for bankruptcy protection and how it may impact his career, Lil Jon and the industry in general.

"Of course the situation is very unfortunate for the people who lost their jobs, and it’s unfortunate that it came to this," Pitbull told AllHipHop.com, "but it’s a very fortunate situation for the artists. That puts us one step closer to freedom."

While TVT indicated to the press that it plans to continue promoting it’s current projects, which includes Pitbull’s November release The Boatlift, the artist says he has yet to receive official word from executives at the label.

"I don’t know how they’re going to continue to promote anything without anyone in the building," Pitbull told AllHipHop.com. "All day [Monday], I was getting phone calls from people saying they were out of a job. "I’m not sure if it’s 150% for real yet," he added. "I haven’t gotten any official word and you never know what kinds of tricks Steve Gottlieb’s got off his sleeves. But it’s definitely close to crumbling. No one wants to record for him anymore, not me, not [Lil] Jon. This is the best example of karma."

Pitbull spoke publicly against Gottlieb last week, blasting his lack of support for the artists on TVT Records.

The complaints were similar to those made by Lil’ Jon in 2005, when he vowed never to record for TVT again.

Both rappers gained mainstream popularity at the expensive of TVT during the company’s run as the number one independent label in the US according to Billboard Magazine.

"He’s close to losing everything," Pitbull says of Gottlieb. "Castro’s gonna come in and take over TVT."

Despite making light of the political situation in Cuba, Pitbull also shared his thoughts on the announcement made early Tuesday morning by longtime Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, that he was resigning his position as the island nation’s commander in chief.

Born to first generation Cuban immigrants in Miami, Pitbull is one of over a million Cuban Americans in the US, according to census figures.

His last two releases, 2006’s El Mariel and The Boatlift were both references to the infamous mass relocation of 125,000 Cubans to Miami between April and September 1980.

"I personally believe that Castro is dead and has been dead," Pitbull said. "When they show him, you always see the same pictures, the same footage from his meeting with [Venezuelan President] Hugo Chavez. Castro’s very strategic, he’s far from stupid. That’s why they released the statement at 3:00 in the morning, to catch people off guard."

With the Cuban leader’s resignation, his brother Raul Castro, who was appointed as the country’s first vice president in July 2006, takes over as the country’s interim president.

The elder Castro has not been seen publicly since July 26, 2006, just five days before he was scheduled to undergo intestinal surgery.

"Once it’s confirmed that he’s dead, that’s when you’re gonna see Miami go crazy again," Pitbull speculates. "This is definitely a step in the right direction. Nobody fears or respects Raul like they feared Castro. But the journey isn’t over yet."

Fidel Castro’s resignation ends his run as the longest-serving political leader outside of royalty.

The socialist dictator rose to power in 1959, after organizing a Guerilla war, with the help of Enersto "Che" Guevara, overthrowing then Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.

In 1962, two years after Cuba established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, the United States imposed an embargo on Cuba, meaning that all trade and economic support with the island was banned.

In 1963, President John F Kennedy banned travel to Cuba and later froze all Cuban assets in the US after the infamous Cuban Missile Crisis.

Most of those restrictions remain in place today in some form.

Travel to Cuba is now legal, though American citizen are not allowed to spend any money or receive any gifts while in the Caribbean nation, without permission from the US government.