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Hustle and Row: All Aboard Pitbull's Boatlift
1/16/08 - exclusive interview (first & second interviews)

Hustle. It's a word that comes up often in discussion with Armando Perez, and anyone who has ever spoken with him about business understands his intense work ethic. The son of immigrants, el Cubano better known as Pitbull came up in Miami and established his name after proving himself worthy to several Hip Hop industry heavyweights. Pit has since released two successful albums, scored a show on Mun2, and founded a non-profit organization to provide college scholarships to first and second generation immigrants.


In our third interview, Pitbull speaks on his new album "The Boatlift", an 18 track voyage which moves in new creative directions from past projects. It's guest list is a veritable who's who of Hip Hop and urban Latin music. Pitbull speaks on his latest project and what's in store for the future in our exclusive interview. The Boatlift marks a departure from what you did with El Mariel, can you discuss what makes it different and what your motivation was?

I didn't really get a chance to work on an album of my life, so therefore I haven't had a chance to give people what I want to give them. My s**t's been a straight hustle, straight grind, always on the road, always trying to further the movement due to the promotion I get. I'm not on a major label, so as far as the Boatlift, I just tried different types of music.


On this one I tried a little bit of house, little bit of techno, little bit of R&B, but still kept the essence as far as what Pitbull's known for, the uptempo club classics. Which you got on here, like the Anthem featuring Lil Jon, that's probably gonna be the biggest record in the club going into 2008.

How would you describe The Boatlift in one word?


Speaking of diverse, you've got producers like Echo, Lil Jon, Mr. Collipark, but also guys that we haven't really heard of, how did the less established producers get involved?

To me, production don't really have to do with a name, it just gotta to do with good music. These are the people from Miami that got good music, beats that I generally felt. I always like to give a chance and opportunity to those that normally don't get that. That's how they ended up on the album.

What's your personal favorite cut on this album?

My personal favorite would have to be "My Life", and that's produced by a local cat named Drop, Drop Dead Beats.

A year ago you talked to me about releasing Armando, which was going to be an all-Spanish album.


But Boatlift has the same producers that you told me would be on that album, so what happened?

What happened is that I put out a number one single in Mariel, which was "Dime" featuring Ken-Y, and I was number one for 17 weeks on the Spanish Billboard Charts. And my label didn't want to shoot a video, didn't want to promote it. So I said, if y'all can't promote a number one single in Spanish, what the f**k am I gonna give y'all an all-Spanish album for (laughs).

That brings up a question. Back in October I hit up TVT Records, they didn't really want to comment on the whole Slip-N-Slide situation but said they were happy to be working on The Boatlift. Is that something you can finally talk on?

Slip-N-Slide situation, it's nothing for me to really talk about, I'm not really involved in it. I am but I'm not, that was something in between companies, that they decided to go at it. I guess its about to come to an end, by the end of this month you'll have a verdict or for sure on what's going on. That's the most I can say, really.

So as far as this album, you're touring, you're getting the right kind of promotion for it?

I don't feel that I'm getting the right promotion for the album. But to me, I'm not somebody that sits back and makes excuses. What I do is I just learn from it, and do what I feel. Team Pitbull is doing a lot to promote this album. TVT is doing what they can, you know. They're understaffed right now, there's a lot of things going on in that building.


But that's their problem. Team Pitbull, Big Mouth Promotions and Famous Artist Management is doing what we gotta do to make sure this album goes to the top. This album will end up selling 500,000 copies, that's if TVT Records can continue to put the records in the stores (laughs).

For those who aren't familiar with your show La Esquina, can you fill them in on what they've been missing so far.

I'll fill them in on this much, it was number one at Mun2 for the first season, we're renegotiating for the second season. It was a way of twisting comedy with real life issues, and real life things that are going on with everyone's communities. Not just the Latin community, I think it's in the Black community, or anything that has to do with a minority group.


With that, we spoke on homosexuality, we spoke immigration, we spoke on thinking outside the block. All they do is is hang out on their block all day, so they never see nothing else. So we're touching real issues, but in a way that I think the youth can relate to it.

Does this signify a move for you outside of music, something you're getting a taste for?

Nah, I think that any businessman has to have a portfolio that's diverse, you feel me. I'm just trying to make sure that I gotta hustle in every aspect. I gotta hustle 10 times harder what the regular artist gotta hustle, whatever TVT don't promote, I gotta find someone that's gonna cross-promote with me and catch up for what TVT didn't do.


I'm hooking up with a bunch of companies right now, we're building Pitbull not only as an artist, but as a brand. With that said, you're gonna have Mun2 cross-promoting, you're going to have these other brands that I haven't finalized the contracts with, but they'll also be cross-promoting. So it's like Pitbull's everywhere without a label push.

As far as your own taste in music, if you could only have one CD, what would that be?

If I could only have one CD.... S**t, it would have to be Biggie, Ready to Die.

That album significant to you?

Yeah, very significant.

Yesterday, Fidel Castro hinted that he might possibly retire. With guys like his brother Raul and Carlos Lage who are more open to talking with the U.S., what do you think that means for the future of the island in the next few years?

Cuba itself, Havana spawned the idea for Las Vegas, so there's obviously a lot of money to get from Cuba. Another thing is with the sugar cane they produce, and the ethanol, the natural gas that everyone's starting to invest into due to the oil and gas prices and how it affects global warming. So everyone's investing into ethanol, so instead of in Colombia, it's in Cuba.


I feel if it does open up, I feel that the U.S. has more of a reason to go over there. Before, it was like, let Castro play tough guy, but we really have nothing to go over there for. What are we going to go over there for, tobacco, rum and sugar cane? So it really didn't make sense to them before. I feel like now they have a reason to go take over the island.


The U.S. at the end of the day, were the land of the hustlers and thieves. If you got something we feel we can hustle (snaps fingers) we're gonna go over there and take it. Now, the only thing I feel we have to watch out for is Hugo Chavez, 'cause he's also somebody whose trying to take over that island.

As far as your own career, you've gone Gold, you've got a show and a name for yourself. Have you set any new goal for yourself to reach?

To be honest with you as far as my goals now, as far as me a recording artist, I still have a lot to prove. I still haven't gave the people my classic. I'm not the type of person that's gonna tell you every album, oh yeah this is the best thing I've ever done.


Bulls**t, I haven't even done the best thing I thing I feel I can can do, 'cause I've never got the chance to sit down and put my mind to something, due to the way I gotta hustle and grind. But it's taught me everything I need to know about the game, the situation that I'm in.


So as far as an artist, I feel that I got a lot more to prove, because the way people try to categorize me. Oh he's reggaeton, oh he's a Latin rapper, or he's this or he's that. At the end of the day I do music and feel that I can rap with the best of them, doesn't necessarily make me a Latin rapper, you feel me.

With that said, in my goals for - let's say 2008 - 2008 is to get the Boatlift where it needs to be. It goes to show you that it don't matter where you start, but where you finish. That's my goal for 2008, which we gonna do it, because the Anthem is gonna blow the f**k up, it's gonna take over worldwide, with God's help of course.


And as far as that, I'm also putting together a label and a publishing company. So I'm gonna have my own artist, I signed a cat named Sincero, a Mexican cat that can also spit bilingual. Very talented cat, he will be coming out. I got a cat out of Broward county named Cornbread. He will be coming out also, and I'm signing up producers as we speak. I'm trying to build my own empire without having to be attached to an empire.

How can people learn more about Cornbread and Sincero?

Cornbread, you can go to his myspace and Sincero also.

Any last thoughts for people as far as The Boatlift?

As far as The Boatlift is concerned, once again its Pitbull giving you all types of different music, me being diverse and versatile. And just know that I haven't gave y'all that classic yet, I haven't gave y'all that classic.


Whether it's going to be in Spanish whether that's gonna be in English, haven't gave y'all that, so just keep that in mind. But does the records have hits? It has hit records for s**t sure. So the boatlift in stores right now, make sure y'all go get it. I appreciate the love because without them I aint s**t at the end of the day.

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