BEST RAP ARTIST (2003)
Armando Christian Perez reflects Miami in a way no rapper ever has, because the ones who've made names for themselves on these city streets were usually black, not Cuban. But Perez, a.k.a. Pitbull, is not about to go Cuban retro. He's all about today's hard knocks. Pitbull spits quick-witted, reality bass rhymes that tell the Miami tale, as he knows it firsthand. It was Miami's hip-hop godfather himself, Luther "Uncle Luke'' Campbell, who saw the significance of Pitbull four years ago. Campbell signed the rapper, took him on the road, and pitched him to everyone. This year, the 22-year-old who peddles his CDs on Liberty City streets is going to blow up. And he promises he's bringing the 305 with him. He made good on that promise last spring, when his hit "Welcome to Miami," an insider's ode to the Magic City, pushed its way into heavy rotation on Power 96 (WPOW-FM 96.5). Now Pitbull prepares to promote his upcoming album, Expect the Unexpected. His approach to stardom isn't cut from the American Idol cloth. His concrete stare gleams determination, and his tattoo that says "Hate Me and Suffer" is a stern warning to those who'll stand in his way.
Readers Choice: Lee Williams and the Square Egg
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