Pitbull Interview at Fademasters Barbershop
We got in touch with Pitbull shortly after the Miami New Times named him as the Best Local Artist for 2003. He sat down with us at Fademasters Barbershop and we did an interview and brief photoshoot. It was one of my first big photoshoots. I had a little expensive film camera that I bought with money I earned saving in school and we went off shooting in and around the Fademasters Barbershop area of Little Havana. That I know of, it was probably one of Pitbull’s earliest photoshoots.
And as far as the interview, we did it in the back of the barbershop and we got into everything that was on his mind. And what was funny about Fademasters was that someone had tagged up P. Diddy’s cell phone number on the wall of the shop. So I can bet that for a while, P. Diddy’s phone has been getting hammered by random people from Little Havana messing with him. Not too long after this interview with Pitbull, some people I was cool with stole my phone and started prank calling different celeb numbers I had in my phone including Pitbull and Lil Jon. I don’t even know what they said to them, I just saw all these dialed numbers at like 2am in the morning. Needless to say, I’m not friends with those people anymore.
Read the interview below and see all the photos from the shoot at the end up the interview. Click below.
A lot of people don’t know this, but you were once signed to Luke Records. What did you learn from working with a legend like Luke?
I’m glad you mentioned that cause Luke is a legend. What I learned from Luke, was how to network and how to keep and maintain relationships. And definitely how not to burn bridges with people and keep those connections. That’s what this game is about. You could be the best rapper in the world but if you can’t handle the politics, then you’re in the wrong game. They say this game right here is 90 percent business and 10 percent talent. And that’s real. That’s the truth.
What other local artists have you worked with?
I try to work with everybody. I have worked with Piccalo, Poe Boy, Cognito. I have one coming out with Jackie-0, Prettie Ricky, PM, Iconz, Rick Ross, Kastaway, THC Crew. I try to work with any and every body. As long as I feel that they are as hungry as I am. I don’t like to be with people that just think that this a walk in the park because it’s far from that. Anybody working hard right now, I’m working with them.
And what about national artists?
Lil’ Jon is one. I got one with the Marleys and Inner Circle. I wanna work with some Spanish artists because at the same time, I got a Spanish project coming out. You don’t understand, I’m trying to milk this game. Ain’t no bullshit. But I would love the opportunity to work with someone like Jigga. I respect him because not only is he good rapper, but because he is a good business man. He’s cool and he knows what he’s got.
Speaking of Lil’ Jon, how did you connect with him and manage to get featured on his last album, Kings of Crunk?
This cat named Robbie-Rob hooked up Cool-N-Dre with Fat Joe. He’s worked with a lot of artists at that level. You’re gonna start hearing his name a lot more. He hooks up a lot of artist down here. So anyways, Lil’ Jon is down here cutting an album and Robbie-Rob told me to come check him out and see if you can get on the album. Lil’ Jon basically told me that he didn’t have anymore room on the album but I got this skit where I can let you rhyme sixteen bars and just talk shit if you want. So I wrote it right quick and I wanted to play it for what it was worth. He heard it and told me it was going to be on his album. I didn’t believe him, but he did put it on the album. He got a tremendous response in Atlanta and even down here. A lot of Hispanic kids would be coming up to him and thanking him for putting me on the album and that it’s a big step in helping out Miami. In a way, I think through that he kind of figured that he put me on and picked up a whole new market and fanbase, so. Lil’ Jon is the King of the South right now. Killin’ em. The South is breaking records. Mark my words, the game is about to flip right now. They looking for the South right now. Watch.
You also have a song on the 2Fast 2Furious soundtrack. How did that happen?
Again, Lil’ Jon got me on there. And none of his music is even on there. That just shows how real he is. Matter fact, he slipped my CD to John Singleton, and he was the one that picked it. Def Jam South didn’t want to put me on because I was not signed and that the only thing that would do is promote an unsigned artists and make my stock go up and a few other excuses. That’s how fucked this game is and Lil’ Jon said “it has to go on there”. And next thing you know, its on there.
You were recently named Best Local Rapper in the Miami New Times. How did that make you feel?
I have soaked up my city for what it is worth. I have lived almost everywhere, so I get to speak about a lot of parts. And cats relate to it because I have lived it, been there and I have seen it. And I have dealt with people from those parts. So when they hear “Welcome to Miami” or “Oye”, Spanish cats can relate to the parts where I speak in Spanish. I talk about certain things and I don’t hide anything. Cats right now think that I am rich. I’m grinding, I got two kids, I got a mother to feed. Those are my priorities. That’s my reason for doing this. I do this because I love this. You don’t see me with big chains or my cars sitting on anything. I don’t portray that in my music either. I let cats know that I’m broke and that this is a hard game and if you wanna get into it; think about it twice. I feel like in music, people can relate. At the same time, half of the city hates me and half of the city loves me. Haters keep hating because you’re keeping my name out there. Thank you, I appreciate it.
But what do you think its is that made you get to the point you’re at now?
Like I said, relationships. I kept all the relationships good. Every time I would be asked by a club to perform, I would tell them that I would do it for free. I just wanted the exposure and that’s it. A lot of cats don’t see the long term goals, all they see is the short-term. So basically I just took all my relationship and milked each of them and made sure everybody was happy. And when I had a product, I made sure the product is up to par and so when they play it, people will request it. As well as letting them have pride to a point where they will actually say “everybody listen up, I got the new Pitbull track” or so. But you know if you give them garbage, they’re playing it like in a way like people eat food they don’t like at home. Like, “damn, I gotta eat this shit?”. That’s the same thing with deejays, they’ll play the records and then they’ll be like “I gotta play this shit? There goes my crowd”. That’s how it is for a deejay, if he keeps the crowd going and the form going, then he’s doing something right.
But thank God that I developed and kept relationships with the deejays in this city that got clout. And the industry is moving into this city right now. You don’t understand what’s gonna happen to this city within the next two years. You got video games being made, two huge movies that came out about this city and other things that are on the way. Its so much that’s being attracted to this city. And if local artists, don’t step up to the forefront and stand up and demand to be on these artist’s albums that are coming down here; we’re gonna get shitted on. Look at Jackie-O. She has a monster record out right now. If they run with it the right way, and push it the right way, then she will open a lot of doors for local artists. Look at Dirtbag. He’s fucking with Violater. A lot of things are happening in this city. Just watch. Thank God for it.
What’s the one thing you’ve noticed about the industry so far?
Everything is about money. The more money you got in your pocket, the further you get. See me and the Diaz Brothers, you couldn’t paint a better picture. Its all been connects, going to the club and making sure deejays play the record. If they don’t play it I tell them “fuck you!.” I make sure I tell him in his motherfucking face. I hate deejays that say they’ll do it, and then don’t. I stand in the club right next to them and make sure they play my record. I ain’t no bougie or big headed cat. I am a nobody. I ain’t shit and I’ll never be shit. I just wanna make sure my family eats. For me to blow. You put $300,000 behind Pitbull, and I’m gone. Which will take a million for another cat. And I stay away from the dope-money. There’s some cats that want to put up money. But I’m straight because when them feds come knocking, I’m not going down with them. You see what happened to Murder Inc. They’re coming to look for those cats. They let you blow and let you make all the money that you can make. And then they snatch it away from you. They say that that came from dope money. And I can’t get involved with that, I rather be patient. There’s too much of that going on in Miami. Fuck that.
But you got Lil’Jon with his deal. I might fuck around and even sign with Lil’ Jon. Gimme $300,000 and it’s okay. And that’s not $300,000 for me. That’s $300,000 for my project. I go on tour with Lil’ Jon and breaking all the markets he’s breaking. And I’m a white-Cuban from Down South, and everybody look at me and think I’m a cracker. A straight up gringo. And when I come out and rip for them, they leave home and they are talking about me. Whether they love me or hate me, they heard me and that’s all I give a fuck about. Go talk about me if you hate me, its more promotion. But regardless, if you could promote and market the product in the right way, you’re straight. I’m a firm believer of building from the ground on up. Some cats come into this came with dope money. You get it quick and it leaves quicker. If you build, then you’ll have fans on the streets that will stand up for you. That’s why you gotta treat everybody right. And Miami, this market hasn’t been hit like this. Not even Trick has done it like that. He’s not a mixtape-hitter. Trick can’t do that. Don’t get me wrong, Trick is raw as fuck. I’m just saying, he’s a different animal. Two different animals me and him. I’m dying to do something with Trick. Watch, I’ma pull a stunt. You’ll hear it.
So can you tell us a little about the Diaz Brothers and Don Dinero?
The Diaz Brothers consists of Hugo & Lew Diaz. Those are cats that have worked with the whole Spanish side of the industry and the whole hip hop side of the industry. They’ve worked with Trick, 50 Cent, Lauryn Hill, Fat Joe, Puff Daddy and mad other people that you can think of. It’s a beautiful thing for me to be able to work with these two brothers that are considered “famous” among the famous. The way they see people, they know what it takes to make it in the game. They’re always on top of me. They don’t gotta push too hard because I am a hard worker. And as you know, I’ve dealt with Don Dinero and he has a Spanish album called Que Bola? And its killing them in Spanish. I learned from Dinero, that he’s an older cat and he respects my hustle. We feed off each other. What I really learned from him though, is how we can kill the Spanish market. It’s a wide open market. We can do Spanish hip hop and take over. That just opened my eyes to the possibility.
As we all know, your Cuban, but you are able talk about a lot of hoods and you been around the city, is that why you love Miami so much?
Hell yeah. You got the Haitians in Little Haiti, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Nicaraguans, Little Havana. I have lived in good parts and bad parts of the city. I get to see how different people get down. There’s a petty mentality and a “get-money” mentality. Then there’s a “cats-that-think-they-got-shit-but-they-don’t” mentality and there’s cats that got it. I been in the worst neighborhoods in Miami. And some cats aren’t too business minded and are just too street. You gotta let a lot of shit slide in this game. I have a saying that goes “you gotta cater to in order to get catered to.” You gotta play everybody’s cards in order to get what you want out of this game. But like I said, first time I ever seen FBI, DEA and SWAT teams jump out is the good neighborhoods, not the bad neighborhoods. Bad neighborhoods is nothing because that’s just pety shit to them because they’re starving. Kids in Westchester, Kendall and West Miami and the ones in private schools. Those are the ones with real money. Cats that are silent about what they do are the cats that I respect. Because you never know what they do. There’s always a little mystery to them. I gotta soak up my city. I never had a steady home. I always had to move every six months. I did have my grandmother’s house in West Miami. I always had a lot of ties to that neighborhood. Other than, I just been moving around.
That will be reflected on your album, but what else do you have planned for it?
More heat. I’m bringing more fire. I’m constantly working. I get mad when I don’t write one day. I stay writing everyday. Now cats are sending me work from out of town. Either to do a hook or a verse for me. As a matter of fact, I was suppose to leave today to do some work with Keith Sweat. Its building little by little. And my connection with Lil’ Jon, it’s a matter of time before you see Pitbull on a T.I. album or a David Banner album. That’s how he’s breaking me. Little by little. He’s doing what he has to do. He has an artist named Lil’ Scrappy that he’s pushing as well right now. He’s doing his thing. Believe me, there’s a lot to come.
And who are the producers that you’re working with?
Producers, you got Diaz Brothers, Cool N’ Dre, Jim Johnson, Lil’ Jon, Freedom, and Tru (the cat who did “Oye”.). I don’t wanna work with just one particular set of producers. That’s bullshit. Because different cats bring different things out of you. The beautiful thing is that all these cats have all worked with me on the love-tip. No money, no nothing. They tell me that they believe in what I’m trying to do. And when I get a deal, everybody get broken off. That’s one thing with Miami, a lot of cats are ignorant. They don’t have a good business sense. That’s what fucks them up. If you notice, compared to a year ago, the radio stations are playing a lot more local shit. They playing local artists. Thank God for that. That’s because certain people have raised the bar. They don’t come with no bullshit. Represent your city. And Jackie-O, that record she got out is killing the clubs and hitting the radio, but its nothing compared to what she’s really got. Its fire. And I can’t wait till she gets her deal and blow. She’s gonna fuck these bitches in the ass. She’s gonna blow up. They’re not ready for her. And it’s a beautiful thing when I can talk about somebody like that. She is the shit. And Cognito, PM, Rick Ross, Kastaway are all raw. And I bet there’s more that nobody’s even heard of. Once somebody blows that door open, its over. This city right here is on the verge of going up. Watch.
That’s very true. What else is next for you aside from your own album?
I’m about to do the Dirty South Tour with Lil’ Jon, David Banner, T.I. I’m breaking hard with the Dirty South-market. Don’t get me wrong, the South has been putting in work for years, but you know who really opened it for the South again and he ain’t even a South cat? 50 Cent! 50 flowing like a down south cat. The south respects him because he even says “I’m a New Yorker, but I sound Southern.” You can respect someone that admits to what he’s doing. People wanna dance in the clubs, they don’t wanna hear some lyrical shit. I spit some lyrical shit for niggaz to think about on the way home in the ride. But, when you in the club, you just want that girl shaking on you. I got the album droppin. I got Unleashed Volume III coming out in September. I got a DVD hitting the streets. I got a lot of shows. I just wanna stay working and working.
Any last words to deliver?
Anybody from Miami, get ready, its about to get ugly. Mark my words. No matter what part of Dade County you from, get that pride. It took Atlanta the Outkast album for them to have that pride. So whatever album that it takes coming out of Miami to give us that pride, is coming real soon. I promise you. Miami’s the next metropolitan. The next big shit. We’re the New York of the South. The next hustle is the movie game. Check out www.pitbullfanclub.com. Big up to Fademasters for letting us do this interview in here. Big up to Josue. Big up to 24th Street Barbershop. They’ve showed me love from day one. I also wanna say wzup to Peedo and the whole Luna Empire. Me and them have been down since day one. I heard the KRS-ONE joint and they’re doing big things up in New York. Big up Big Teech, Big Mouth, Cubo, Picallo, Jackie-O, Poe-Boy and anybody local doing they’re thing. I don’t hate on anybody.