Armando "Pitbull" Pérez was born to Cuban expatriates in Miami, Florida. The rapper told US Weekly that he is proud of his Cuban roots. "I'm first-generation Cuban American," he said. "My mother came to the United States as part of Operation Peter Pan. My father picked up 547 people during the Cuban Mariel boatlift in 1980."
Pitbull's 2006 El Mariel album takes its name from the Mariel boatlift which brought 125,000 Cuban refugees to the coast of Florida on barely seaworthy craft in the early 1980s.
During his childhood, Pitbull had little contact with his drug-dealing father. He was raised by his mother, who was forced to kick him out of their house when he was 16 after he also started selling drugs.
After graduating from Miami's Coral Park High School, Pitbull focused his career on rapping. Perez told The Washington Post that he chose his stage name because pitbulls "bite to lock. The dog is too stupid to lose. And they're outlawed in Dade County. They're basically everything that I am. It's been a constant fight."
In 2001, Pitbull was signed to Luther Campbell's Luke Records by Jullian Boothe, then the label's vice-president of A&R.
After meeting Lil Jon in Miami, Pitbull guested on a solo track from his new pal's 2002 album Kings of Crunk. It was his first recorded mainstream performance and the feature helped raise Pitbull's profile.
Pitbull's first single to be internationally successful was his 2009 hit "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)
," which spent six weeks at #1 on the European Hot 100 tally.
"Give Me Everything (Tonight)
" was Pitbull's first #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100, seven years, two months and two weeks after the rapper's debut Hot 100 "Culo" in the week of April 24, 2004. His wait for his first chart-topper was the longest for a solo male since Lil Wayne hang around for eight years, nine months and three weeks between his first chart visit in 1999 and "Lollipop
" in 2008.
Pitbull was chosen by FIFA and Sony Music to write and record "We Are One (Ole Ola)
" along with frequent collaborator Jennifer Lopez and Brazilian pop star Claudia Leitte for the 2014 World Cup.
As well as Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull has worked with many other big names including Christina Aguilera, Akon, Chris Brown, Enrique Iglesias and Kesha.
When a co-branded social media campaign between Walmart and Sheets Energy Strips promised to send Pitbull to the Walmart with the most Facebook likes, Boston Phoenix reporter David Thorpe decided to rally the Internet behind his own orchestrated campaign entitled "#exilepitbull." With the help of various online communities, the message spread sufficently to earn Kodiak, Alaska, Walmart over 70,000 likes, resulting in the remote location winning the contest. Pitbull took the prank on the chin stating "I will go anywhere in the world for my fans."
Pitbull visited Kodiak on July 30, 2012 where he received a key to the city from Mayor Patricia Branson and then made an appearance before a crowd of hundreds at the Coast Guard base.
Pitbull told E! News about the hot dance moves he demonstrates when performing. "Some people call it swagger," the rapper said. "I didn't grow up with the word swagger, I grew up with the word style."
"But more than anything, I don't know how to dance," he admitted. "I just listen to music. The music tells me what to do and I just do it."
Pitbull explained to People how he keeps himself healthy and relaxed when on tour. "Vitamins in the morning, then I drink a little Voli [vodka] with water and three limes before I go onstage. And in the afternoon, tea keeps me going,' he said, before adding. "And sex!"
Pitbull prefers to record his songs in makeshift studios in hotel rooms and on boats as he finds recording studios time consuming.
Pitbull's signature "EEEEEEEYOOOOOO" yell was officially granted two trademark registrations on October 8, 2019 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The rapper's legal team believe Pitbull's yell is the first trademarked call sign by a music artist.