“I love the work, I love the fight, I love the hustle.”
Passion, Armando Christian Perez says, is what makes him what he is today: the world famous, ultra-successful, Miami-bred, Mr. Worldwide. Last night, CNBC aired a special titled Pitbull: Fame & Fortune that spotlighted his journey from a little-known aspiring rapper from Miami to the entertainment icon with a multimillion-dollar endorsement littered portfolio that he is today. Throughout his sit down with CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, the rapper spoke on everything from life tips to stock market advice and his stance on streaming music to Donald Trump's recent comments on the Latin community — the latter of which he labeled as “very offensive and disrespectful to our culture."
The interview managed to touch on a little bit of each of the multiple hats Mr. 305 wears, some meaningful, some playful, but all a part of an empire that has made Armando Christian Perez a boatload of money, and one of the most popular entertainment figures in the industry.
Of the various topics Pitbull hits on during the hourlong program, it's apparent he's most excited about one particular question: What will it be like when he performs in his native Cuba? Shifting in his chair, his eyes moving wildly around in his head as he envisions the moment, described what it would mean to him and his family to come back and entertain the Cuban people.
"To be able to perform in Cuba would not only be living the dream, it would be living the dream for my family. My father, my grandfather — everybody that wants a Cuba libre, and Cuba libre not just being a drink, but Cuba libre being like, Wow," Pitbull told CNBC.
"To be able to enjoy that, I can't even put that in words to be honest with you, but it's gonna happens it's going to be historical."
Pitbull thinks his first concert in Cuba would be an enormous event, attended by a New York New Year's Eve-type crowd, and it would be a moment that could open a lot of its citizens' eyes to what is possible when you're given a chance to succeed.
"It's going to be three or four million people watching saying, Look what he did with the opportunity of freedom, just imagine what you guys are gonna be able to do."
Not every subject broached during the Fame & Fortune special was as serious as U.S.-Cuba relations or a democratic Cuba. For instance, CNBC asked Pitbull maybe the most Pitbull question ever: What does the term dale truly mean to him? His answer was pretty much exactly what you would expect. It means whatever you, or Pitbull, want it to mean.
"It means a lot of things — it's almost like in the movie Donnie Brasco when they say, Fuggedaboutit. You know, so you could say, Go, or Let's go, or like when someone hangs up the phone you could say, Dale — so it all depends on what context you use it."
One moment Pitbull is explaining with a smirk a term he's made famous, the next moment he's predicting another stock market crash. It's that sort of leap in subjects that gets you a CNBC special. In regards to the state of the U.S. economy, Pitbull seems gloom and doom on the horizon if some things don't change, and fast.
"I'm a big believer in not just making it, but maintaining it. It's not if you can handle a storm, it's if you can handle a hurricane category six — that's what you gotta be able to handle. Especially when you see what happened in '07 and '08 — if you ask me, we're right around the corner from another one, one way or another."
While some might hesitate to take Pitbull's economic advice seriously, no one can question any wise words he might gift upon them in regards to the music industry. When CNBC asked him what it takes to succeed as an artist in 2015, Pitbull estimated that 90 percent of the music industry is about business, and only 10 percent of it is actually about an artist's talent.
"It's great that you can rap, it's great that you can sing — but if you don't understand the business, then the people around you are going to take advantage of the business."
To get where he has arrived, Pitbull had to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is discussed in the special. There is an especially humorous moment where he's asked about his upbringing and what it entailed.
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"I always say a woman made me a
When asked that exactly meant, Pitbull replied; "If you
The entire special is a unique look into sides of Pitbull few have seen at length and gives the audience a glimpse into exactly what makes him as successful as he's become. CNBC will re-air the special throughout the month.