Pitbull Talks New Album, Says ‘Microphone Is a Lie Detector’
Pitbull may be a rap artist, but the dude is a rock star. He embraces the life and attitude that come with that title. As would be expected from other reports, when the BoomBox meets with the Miami native at Hollywood’s trendy W Hotel to discuss his new album, ‘Planet Pit,’ he is nattily dressed as always, there is a gorgeous, stylish woman sitting in the room with him and, while he is always friendly and welcoming, he is real. There’s proof when he stops repeatedly during the interview to allow background noise from motorcycles passing by on Hollywood Blvd. to cease and when someone slams the door to the room while he is answering questions, he mutters under his breath in Spanish.
And like great rock stars he doesn’t shy away from success. Pitbull admits he wants the title “Mr. Worldwide,” and based on the critical acclaim he’s received for ‘Planet Pit,’ in which he collaborates with the likes of Ne-Yo, Marc Anthony, T-Pain, Afrojack, Chris Brown and Enrique Iglesias, the Cuban entertainer isn’t having a hard time amassing a global following.
He’s well on his way, considering his current smash, ‘Give Me Everything’ — the song has sold over 2 million copies and is No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart — has hit the top of the charts in countries like Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands. The Miami native, who rose to fame as a battle rapper, sat down on camera and let loose about his star power, the ’80s rock bands he drew inspiration from, what his dream planet would be like and solid advice from the likes of Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell and Lil’ Jon. For Pitbull, his world is a lively one.
Watch Pitbull’s Interview With the BoomBox
What would you do if you had your own planet?
I think everything that has to do with Planet Pit would be a lot of global warming. It’d be real hot, a lot of beautiful, exotic women, a lot of enjoyment, entertainment and escaping. So therefore the planet that I’d be running would be easy to run because everybody would be happy.
I like the fact you have that rock star mentality and you have fun with your music. Are there people you looked up to as rock stars?
Definitely as part of growing up in the ’80s, I seen a lot of the rock bands and the rock shows, whether it was the big hair spray, Def Leppard and Poison, you had the U2, they didn’t have the hair like that. I think they were the ones really living it up, Guns ‘N’ Roses, so yeah, you seen a lot of that. They didn’t care in their system, but they did what they loved, and we live in a different music business now where I think a lot of people are cookie cutter, or they try to develop this, but they can’t. A star is a star, a guy who’s got charisma has got charisma.
As far as myself, I do what I love, I say what I mean and what I just try to do is make sure that fans and everybody watching, when they finish watching an interview go, “I like that guy ’cause he speaks from the heart.” And I have an incredible instinct where I say I do rock star-type things, but I’ m just very cautious, especially in this day and age. Rock stars could get away with a lot before. There wasn’t a Twitter or Facebook, it wasn’t as real time as it is now. Catch one of your rock stars messing up a hotel room or pissing from a balcony or whatever they used to do and watch how quick that hits the world.
So no messing up hotel rooms?
I am into messing up hotel rooms, but in a different way, not like rock stars do.
Was there a moment early on where you realized you could do what you want musically and people were responding?
As far as the music industry and they’re trying to tell me what I needed to be doing or shouldn’t be doing, I never listened, never cared. I come from an independent mind state, I’ve been bred by Luther Campbell, which was 2 Live Crew, and he was definitely a blueprint in the independent game. We make the label move, big difference, independent mentality, TVT [Records] told me a lot of that also, Lil’ Jon taught me.
As far as ourselves, we’ve constantly been surviving, learning and therefore there’s no cookie cutter here. I’ve always done what I wanted to do and always here for constructive criticism. It’s not like someone that has an ego and I won’t work and listen to ideas, no way, shape or form. But when someone told me, “Why don’t you just do it like they’re doing it?” ’cause I’m not them at the end of the day. I started wearing the suits and the clothes that were more fitted and they said, “Why are you doing this?” I said, “I’ve always wanted to do it.” And look at now, [there’s] skinny jeans and Vans. Only thing is the jeans are still on the a– [laughs], just a lot tighter. When people go right, I like to go left cause one way or another, at a certain point in time, you’ll see it come full circle, ’cause it always does. It happens in fashion, happens in music, happens in movies, happens in everything that has to do with art, one way or another.
What were you looking for in the collaborators on the album?
As far as the collaborations on the album, I wasn’t looking to work with all these folks to be honest with you. This happened kind of on its own. There was a plan, didn’t pan out, but it did in a weird way. But the thing is when you line up an album with all this music, you’re looking for people to jump on it, the people hear the music and go, “Oh, man, yeah, definitely want to be involved in this, one way or another.” A lot of folks just sent me music and I think that with ‘Planet Pit’ we did exactly what we wanted to do, which was put together an album full of hits. And I wanted to tap into everybody’s world to create our own.
Talk about the live show; is it more stripped down or will there be a big production?
For right now, a stripped-down show. As far as massive production, I’m not a big fan of that; I’m a big fan of giving [fans] the artist, giving them entertainment. When they leave, they go, “That guy loves what he does and I believe everything he’s saying.” To me, the microphone’s a lie detector. A lot of people got great records, when you see them live, you go, “What was that?” No matter what bells and whistles they brought with them. At the end of the day you’re the focal point; they look at you and they gotta leave loving you. Will we add production to the tour we’re gonna be on with Enrique Iglesias and Prince Royce? Absolutely, but it’s nothing where it’s gonna take from the music. The music is what drives this, drives the public and drives the show. But I guarantee you go to a show and you’ll leave going, “Whoa. How does he stay up there an hour and a half doing that?” I’m still an old-school believer of the artist and the band bringing the music to the public.