Much like his canine namesake, it's not very safe to corner Cuban-American MC Pitbull. Since debuting in 2002 alongside Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz's Kings of Crunk album to last year's star turn with Trick Daddy and Rick Ross on DJ Khaled's ode to Miami's Dade County, "Born N Raised," Pitbull defies labels. As charismatic as any rapper in hip-hop, Pitbull effortlessly moves between crunk and gritty rap anthems, truly earning his nickname Mr. 305.
His new album, Boatlift, brings together Pit's ever expansive world on one album; brimming with sexy Caribbean influences and sounds like Merengue, Bachata, and Afro-Cuban, yet still brooding and hard enough for the other side of Miami.
Boatlift is the best of Pitbull's worlds, melding the sounds of his lyrically dexterous debut, M.I.A.M.I., with the mature sounds and world influences of the critically acclaimed, El Mariel.
"The Boatlift means so much to me, it means bringing together two different works or trying to, because every album is a new step," Pitbull explains. "And with the Boatlift and being that my family was involved in the Boatlift [from Cuba to Miami] and being that it's sort of me taking everyone on my own ride, it's my own Boatlift. I feel like everything has to do with a Boatlift, think about how everyone came to this country. There's so many ways you can go spin and turn it. But bottom line, it's just my way of taking you on a ride with me in my world and trying to make you understand it."
His journey so far has been nothing short of excellent. And it continues on Boatlift. The steamy first single, "Secret Admirer" is an instant classic coming from the heartthrob. Paired with the Inc.'s lead crooner Lloyd, Pitbull seduces and sways with a Casanova-like whisper flow, inviting his crush to leave the club with him and make it their own special night together.
In the video for "Secret Admirer," Pitbull captures the vibe of the song visually as he employs a Scarface motif; playing the legendary character's right-hand man, Monolo, in a tale of lust, betrayal, and love.
"Since the record is so orientated toward women, we're giving it the street, sexy, urban edge," Pit says. Boatlift is lined with plenty of street records and club bangers.
There's the underground smash, "Sticky Icky," featuring Jim Jones. And the rumbling "Goon," featuring C-Ride and solo venom Pit delivers on "Don't See 'Em."
And what would a Pitbull album be without an over-the-top collaboration with mentor Lil Jon? The rowdy producer and his protégé paired together to create "The Anthem," the next in a line of proven seizure-inducing singles from the duo, including past hits "Culo" and "Toma."
"That's about to be one of the records you not gonna stop hearing," Jon says enthusiastically. "It's crazy and it's strictly for the ladies. You will see the ladies shaking."
With Boatlift, Pitbull is continues to grow and evolve from his humble beginnings as a hungry rapper into one of the next influential voices in all of music, both on the mic and behind the scenes.
"I got my own lane at the end of the day," Pit remarks. "I don't have to worry about what this person is doing and that person is doing. And I'm trying to take advantage of every opportunity."
Since music impresario Sean "Diddy" Combs tapped him to head his then fledgling Bad Boy Latino, Pit has gone on to create and develop his own animated series, "Rock, Pepe, Scissors," which will be making its debut in 2008. He also partnered with mun2—the influential bilingual network targeting Latin youth—to star in and host "Pitbull's La Esquina" [The Corner], an original reality series full of edgy comedy skits.
"It's always been a goal to have other business ventures and other revenue streams. So I've always wanted to expand and enterprise and capitalize off the music, with music being the bread and butter; the door opener and giving me all the opportunities. I'm definitely looking into other things. Right now we're in the beginning stages. But something is sure to blossom anywhere from 3 to 5 years from now."
With Pitbull's keen sense of business and musical appreciation reaching their heights, the Cuban MC is rising up the ranks among today's top artists, solely by his own terms. That he's doing it his way is something that's as valuable to him as his heritage. Hence, Pitbull has launch his own non-profit organization called Imaginate Foundation, which provides college scholarships to first and second-generation foreign-born students for the 2008 school year.
"My perspective is, I'm the one the kids are gonna see," Pit says. "I'm not the flossing one, I'm not the flashy one, I'm not the one to flaunt or stunt, but anyone that comes down to Miami and hangs with me is going to know my life is what it is at the end of the day. In no way, shape, or form am I trying to feed something that's negative. It's a facade a lot of kids and the youth see, like it's cool to be a thug and a dope boy. My thing is that a lot of these cats aren't the one they claim to be and they're feeding this dream that's not really there."
"Them party records I make, that's my life," Pitbull continues, laughing. "And as far with the Ross's and Trick's and all that goes on in Miami, the reason I'm accepted by them is that they've all seen me grind like I've seen them grind. And they know, Chico is gonna be there, wherever you need him. It's a respect thing, and ain't too much of that in the game."
Pitbull featuring Lil Jon - "The Anthem": Windows Hi | Lo