Pitbul has scored nine Top-10 singles, has seven albums under his belt and plays sold out concerts around the world.
And he's got no plans to slow down any time soon.
The Cuban-American rapper has a way to explain his rise to the top: “2009 is freedom; 2010, invasion; 2011, build empire; 2012, grow wealth; 2013, put the puzzle together; 2014, buckle up; 2015, make history.”
And it’s all for one goal: To grow a billion-dollar enterprise.
The Miami-born hip hop star’s story began when his mother arrived to Florida from Cuba during the early part of the 1960s as part of "Operation Peter Pan." And while he did sell drugs for a while, he wanted to be more than just that some street hoodlum.
“I feel in love with hip-hop because to me it was therapy,” Pitbull told the Hollywood Reporter. “I could listen to (someone) and go, ‘This is happening in his neighborhood, too?’ It became my way of getting things off my chest without having to do it physically.”
So, he started dropping tunes and starting using his street skills to building his empire, taking risks that paid off. Eventually, he ditched his corn-rows and baggy T-shirts for custom suits, sharp ties and fine leather, staying true to his middle-class roots.
“I wanted to be Sosa – educated, good-looking, a good dresser, and he’s the one who was running it,” Pitbull said, referencing the Brian De Palma classic “Scarface.” “And notice, he never got his hand dirty. He sipped tea. He was nice, not aggressive. And at the end of it all, he was the one that stayed. So I realized around 18 that Tony’s the wrong guy to be looking up to.”
The Hollywood Reporter explained that somehow, Pitbull made it work.
“In a carefully choreographed tango that engages bother worlds, Pitbull has ordained himself the great persuader, as comfortable in a corporate boardroom as he is on a brightly lit stage,” according to the publication.
The “Timber” hit-maker said it’s all about hard work and putting in the effort. So he is giving children the chance he never got and opened the Sports Leadership and Management Academy (SLAM!), a public charter school emphasizing sports as a way to connect disenfranchised youth with education.
“There is no way that you can tackle any obstacle or any issue around the world if you are not educated,” Pitbull said in interviews when the school opened in August. “That’s why I fight for it.”
It seems that everything he touches turns to gold, but there is one untapped territory he wishes to visit: His parent’s homeland of Cuba. He said when it does open up, he will be there.
“To make history in Havana and be able to perform maybe in front of a million, 2 million people, I’m hoping for that within the next five years,” he said. “I can picture it in my mind.”
He has said he picked the stage name "Pitbull" because he's a great admirer of the dog breed, one which, according to him, are great fighters who refuse to give up or lose.