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Pitbull
Getty Images / Alberto E. Rodriguez / Staff

Pitbull

Biography
Musician (1981–)
  • Publish date:
Cuban American rapper Pitbull is known for energetic party anthems like 'Give Me Everything' and 'Timber.'

Who Is Pitbull?

Pitbull developed his lyrical skills by battle-rapping on the streets of Miami, the regional buzz leading to the release of his 2004 debut album M.I.A.M.I. Within a few years, the bilingual rapper honed a club-ready sound, fueling a string of Top 10 hits from albums like Planet Pit (2011) and Global Warming (2012). Known as "Mr. 305" (for the Miami area code) and "Mr. Worldwide," Pitbull also heads his record label and production company and is prominently involved with the SLAM Organization’s national network of charter schools.

What Is Pitbull's Real Name and Age?

Pitbull was born Armando Christian Pérez on January 15, 1981, in Miami, Florida.

What Is Pitbull's Nationality?

Pitbull is a first-generation American son of Cuban immigrants: His mother, Alysha, arrived in the United States in early 1962 by way of Operation Peter Pan. His father Armando emigrated in the late 1970s and later helped ferry fellow Cubans to American shores during the 1980 Mariel Boatlift.

Early Years and Influences

Pitbull received an early lesson in performing thanks to his father, who had his kindergarten-age son recite poetry in bars. However, the elder Armando was more devoted to drug dealing than to family life, and the parents divorced in 1985.

Pitbull frequently moved as Alysha sought out various avenues of employment, and, at one point, he ended up in foster care in Roswell, Georgia. Back in Miami, he also succumbed to the lure of fast cash from drug dealing, prompting his mother to kick him out of the home at age 16.

Meanwhile, the street-savvy teen had developed a passion for hip-hop and showcased his lyrical prowess whenever possible. Recognizing his talent, a drama teacher helped him become an extra on the set of a DMX video, where he had the opportunity to battle-rap a member of the Ruff Ryder crew.

Taking on the stage name of Pitbull, after the aggressive dogs which are "too stupid to lose" their fights, the budding rapper set about pursuing a recording career after graduating from Miami Coral Park High School in 1999.

Albums and Hit Songs

Early Career: 'Welcome to Miami' to 'Oye'

Pitbull's efforts caught the attention of rapper and producer Luke Campbell, who included the young artist on his 2001 album Somethin' Nasty and brought him on tour through the South. Afterward, Pitbull developed a regional following through self-produced songs like "Welcome to Miami."

A chance meeting with Lil Jon led to "Pitbull's Cuban Rideout," a track on the Atlanta rapper's 2002 album Kings of Crunk. Pitbull subsequently saw his underground hit "Oye" featured on the 2003 soundtrack to 2 Fast 2 Furious, and he signed with TVT Records later that year.

'M.I.A.M.I.,' 'El Mariel' 'The Boatlift'

Boosted by the success of the lead single "Culo," which showcased his abilities as a bilingual rapper, Pitbull enjoyed an auspicious debut album with M.I.A.M.I. He subsequently joined Sean Combs' Bad Boy Latino imprint, with whom he delivered the follow-up albums El Mariel (2006) and The Boatlift (2007), and continued building his fan base through collaborations with artists like the Ying Yang Twins, Twista and Flo Rida.

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'Pitbull Starring in Rebelution,' 'Armando'

Having adopted his now-trademark suits and honed a club-ready sound, "Mr. 305" was ready for stardom by the time his fourth album, Pitbull Starring in Rebelution, dropped in 2009. "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" and "Hotel Room Service" both cracked the Billboard Top 10, as did his collaborations with Enrique Iglesias on "I Like It" and Jennifer Lopez on "On the Floor." The artist followed with the Spanish-language record Armando (2010), which received limited airplay in the United States, but won a Lo Nuestro Award for Urban Album of the Year.

'Planet Pit,' 'Global Warming,' 'Meltdown'

Planet Pit returned Pitbull to American radio with a vengeance: "Give Me Everything," featuring Ne-Yo, Nayer and AfroJack, became his first No. 1 single, and "Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor)," with T-Pain, reached No. 7. Global Warming brought more catchy hits with famous friends, including the Christina Aguilera-assisted "Feel This Moment," while a collaboration with Kesha on "Timber," which became Pitbull's second chart-topping single, highlighted the EP Meltdown (2013).

'Globalization,' 'Dale'

Now calling himself "Mr. Worldwide," Pitbull expanded his international reach when his track "We Are One (Ole Ola)," with J. Lo and Claudia Leitte, was named the official song of the 2014 World Cup. Globalization (2014) also included "Celebrate," which appeared in the animated Penguins of Madagascar (2014), as well as "Time of Our Lives," another Top 10 hit with Ne-Yo.

Pitbull then delivered his second Spanish-language record, Dale (2015), which netted a Grammy win for Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album. Meanwhile, he embarked on what was originally a two-week Time of Our Lives residency in Las Vegas, only to extend the residency into 2019.

'Climate Change,' 'Gotti,' 'Libertad 548'

Pushing forward with Climate Change (2017), Pitbull enjoyed a minor hit with Iglesias on "Messin' Around," before teaming with J Balvin and Camila Cabello for the English- and Spanish-language versions of "Hey Ma," off The Fate of the Furious (2017) soundtrack. The artist then switched gears to score the John Travolta-led biopic Gotti (2018) before returning with patented party anthems like "Get Ready," alongside country star Blake Shelton, on Libertad 548 (2019).

SLAM Foundation and Businesses

Pitbull is prominently involved with the SLAM Foundation, which operates a series of charter schools based on the principles of sports leadership and management.

Following his difficulties with TVT, Pitbull formed his own music label, Mr. 305 Inc., in 2009. He has since expanded the brand by teaming with Horizon Media to launch the marketing agency 305 Worldwide in 2019.

The artist's other business interests include his Honey I'm Home production company, a line of fragrances for both men and women and an ownership share in Voli Vodka.

TV, Film and Media

Along with appearing as himself in TV shows like "South Beach" (2006) and "Empire" (2015), the rapper headlined the reality show "Pitbull's La Esquina" from 2007-08. He also hosted the American Music Awards in 2013 and 2014 and "Pitbull's New Year's Revolution" on FOX to ring in the calendar years of 2015-17.

The recipient of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2016, Pitbull supplied his distinct growl to the animated features Epic (2013) and UglyDolls (2019) and can be heard on his "Negative to Positive" podcast.

Children

Pitbull is reportedly the father of six children. Although he declines to talk about them publicly, it is known he had a daughter, Destiny, and a son, Bryce, with long-term girlfriend Barbara Alba, from whom he split in 2011.

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