TVT RECORDS -- Best-selling Cuban American MC Pitbull is joined by a star-studded crew of artists and producers on the much-anticipated October 31st release of his highly-anticipated second studio album El Mariel (Diaz Bros./TVT Records). Pharrell (Neptunes, N.E.R.D.) joins Pitbull on "Jealouso", while Wyclef Jean guests with Pit on "Jungle Fever." Other highlights include "Bojangles" (with Lil Jon & Ying Yang Twins), "Que Tu Sabes d'Eso" (featuring Fat Joe), and "Dime" (where the bilingual Pitbull trades rhymes with popular reggaeton artist Ken-Y on the Lil Jon-produced remix track). Following the popular single "Bojangles", Pitbull is gearing up for the release of the album's second single/video, "Ay Chico (Lengua Afuera)", a steamy call-and-response future club anthem.
With the sophomore album, El Mariel, named after the infamous Cuban boatlift that relocated almost 125,000 cubanos to Florida, Pitbull will make the biggest impact a Latino has made in hip-hop since Big Pun. Inspired by one of the most dramatic events in Cuban history, El Mariel is overflowing with enlightening gems, rap ballads and club bangers. After the success of his gold-selling debut M.I.A.M.I. the music community was having a difficult time placing a label on Pit. "They have this misconception," says the 25-year-old MC. "They'll say, 'He's just this Latin rapper, he's a reggaeton act, he's crunk.' They don't know what to say about me. [After El Mariel] a lot of folks are gonna start saying, 'You gotta watch out for that boy Pit.'"
Last year, Pitbull surpassed gold status for more than 500,000 copies sold of his debut album "M.I.A.M.I.: Money Is A Major Issue" in the United States. The feat gave Pitbull the biggest-selling bilingual hip-hop debut since Cypress Hill's 1991 self-titled debut, and put him in the rare category of Latino rappers who have achieved major success at English-language radio. Bolstered by such breakthrough singles as "Culo", "Dammit Man", and "Toma", Pitbull's debut - as well as its highly-successful successor remix album "Money Is Still a Major Issue" - have made Pitbull an unstoppable Latino voice in urban music.
Pitbull appears in the just-released video game, 'Scarface: The World Is Yours'. In the game, Pitbull plays the role of one of Tony Montana's henchmen, riding along on missions to help Tony recapture his fallen empire and seek vengeance on those who brought him down in the 1983 classic film. The Miami-based rapper has collaborated with a who's who of hip-hop and reggaeton artists, including Lil Jon, Ying Yang Twins, Orishas, Daddy Yankee, Twista and Rick Ross. Pitbull's speaking appearance at last summer's Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC) "Tres Crossovers" panel nearly stole the show, with Billboard honing in on Pitbull's self-identification as a successful rapper "who also happens to be Latin." Unlike many other Latino rappers, Pitbull has managed to achieve success in the mainstream hip-hop world with bilingual lyrics and potent beats laced with reggaeton. He is equally comfortable sharing the stage at the VIBE Awards with Lil Jon as he is collaborating with Paulina Rubio at the MTV Latin America Awards.
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Born to Cuban immigrants, Pitbull was raised by a single mother in Miami. With his mother, who worked three jobs, Pit was frequently relocating as a youth. The constant moving made Pit adapt to any environment and interact with different types of people. His absent father reemerged in his life when Pitbull was 18. Since then until his passing this year, Pit remained on friendly terms with his father. All the while Pit was falling for hip-hop. Through his constant winning verbal warfare, his VIP friendships (Lil Jon and Luke Campbell) Pit signed with TVT and released his gold-selling debut, M.I.A.M.I. (Money Is A Major Issue) in 2004.
Crossing over different cultures is one of Pit's strong suits. On "Dime," his collaboration with Puerto Rican crooner Ken Y, Lil Jon produces his Latin version of Usher's "Lovers and Friends." "Ay Chico" finds Ying Yang Twins producer, Mr. Collipark, providing Pit with a bass-heavy booty shaker. Still, Pit isn't satisfied with being a successful artist solely in the U.S. market. Witnessing how reggaeton has exploded with his help, Pit is not one to play the wall. After the release of El Mariel, he will debut his first full-length Spanish only album, Armando, at the top of 2007. But don't expect the flavor of the month genre to be his backdrop of choice.
"[Armando] is an Afro-Cuban based project. A lot of energy and just a different movement," says Pitbull. "Lil Jon, Orishas, the Diaz Brothers, Jim Jonsin, Echo from Puerto Rico and Mr. Collipark are gonna be working on it. I would love for me and Jon to have a number one record on the Latin charts. It would be me bringing him over just like he brought me over to his side." While his Spanish-language debut is still months away, Pit is concentrating on delivering an educational and entertaining opus with El Mariel. From being a rising underground MC to an internationally known artist, Pit is following in the footsteps of those who came in the infamous 1980 boatlift.
"Some [Marielitos] yes were criminals, some came from a negative background. but you have those who became politicians, lawyers, judges, and doctors, you name it, " says Pit. "Now that I got my foot in the door it's time to take opportunities like the Marielitos did."
Spoken like a perfect example of an ambassador.