8 things we learned from Pitbull’s ‘Behind The Music’ special
International Love: How well do you know Mr. Worldwide? (Photo: Facebook)
Is it possible we don’t know everything about the ubiquitous Armando Christian Perez, a.k.a. Pitbull? Well, if you watched Mr. Worldwide’s first-ever Behind The Music special on Vh1 last night, chances are you learned a thing or two about the Cuban American phenom.
Here, our favorite 8 moments:
1- Mom Knows Best: We knew he was close to his mom, but it was still nice to see the extent of the tight bond he has with Alysha Acosta. Toward the end of the one-hour special, a choked-up Pit said, “She’s a great mother and I want her to know that.” From his mom he learned the saying, “pasos cortos, vista larga,” which became his M.O. “[She taught me] As long as you envision it, you can make it happen,” he said.
2- Daddy Issues: By 17, Pitbull was slinging pot, coke, and anything he could get his hands on. “You couldn’t get me off the streets [in Miami],” he said. “It was all about survival.” Now he reflects on those days as foolish, and a result of his unresolved daddy issues. His father, a recovering alcoholic, left Acosta to raise Pitbull alone. Father and son eventually reconciled, and Pitbull dedicated his 2006 album El Mariel to Armando Sr., who died in May of that same year of liver failure. “From him I learned, it’s not what you have, or what you obtain; it’s what you leave behind,” Pit said during the special. For the funeral, Pit brought his papa a Willy Chirino CD and a bottle of vodka as a parting gift. “He would’ve wanted everyone to have a good time,” said Pit.
3- Drama King: His drama teacher Hope Martinez at Miami Coral Park High School took notice of a young Pit and was one of the first people who believed in him. When she heard of an upcoming casting call for a DMX video, Pitbull was “the one person I thought of,” she said. On the set of the video, a corn-rowed Pit battled DMX’s protégé Drag-On. Music mogul Irv Gotti, who was present, was very impressed, and encouraged Pit to go one step further and write his own songs. “That was really the beginning of everything,” Pitbull recalled.
4- Persistence Pays: Pitbull’s demo, “Fuck You, Pay Me,” landed in the hands of booty music icon Luther Campbell, who signed him to his label, Luke Records, in 2002. “He was this white-looking Cuban kid and he was gonna battle whoever in the hardest hood,” Luke said. After one year, when Pit’s unique brand of Spanglish rap failed to gain traction, Campbell dropped him, but it set him free to sign with TVT Records, which eventually folded. Today, Pit is CEO of his own label, Mr. 305, an imprint of Sony Music, and spokesperson for global brands like Kodak, Dr. Pepper, and Bud Light, and even has his own vodka, Voli!
5 - Getting Crunk: Upon hearing one of Pit’s early records, “Oye,” (which appeared on the 2003 soundtrack to 2 Fast 2 Furious) it was His Royal Crunkness, Lil Jon, who encouraged the lil’ chico to rap in Spanish more, during a time when it wasn’t as popular to do so. Together, they created the smash “Culo,” which appeared on Pit’s debut album, M.I.A.M.I (Money Is A Major Issue), released in the fall of 2004. It went gold.
6- The Politics of Pop: In 2006, he challenged George W. Bush head-on, when during a televised interview the then-president said that anyone who lives in the U.S. should learn to speak English and learn the national anthem. Pit then recorded a Spanish-language version of the national anthem with Wyclef, Carlos Ponce, Olga Tañón and others called “Nuestro Himno.” The song became an anthem for immigrant rights and Pit even appeared on Showbiz Tonight defending it.
7- 305 Til I Die: Despite his worldwide success as an artist and entrepreneur, Pitbull still considers getting the key to his home city of Miami in 2009 one of his greatest achievements.
8- Hit Machine: Three of Pit’s videos made the list of top ten most-watched music videos—globally—from major record labels in 2011: “Give Me Everything,” feat. Ne-Yo, “Rain Over Me,” feat. Marc Anthony,” and “On The Floor,” J.Lo’s club cut feat. Pit.
Talk about global appeal!