On May 24, 2006, former Vice President Al Gore debuted a 118-minute documentary that would introduce a new term to the American vocabulary: global warming.
Somewhere, presumably on an island sponsored by Bacardi, sitting on a couch stuffed with used bikinis and frozen margaritas, Armando Christian Pérez, a then-25-year-old rapper on the cusp of international fame, sat in front of a TV set and pressed play. By the documentary's halfway point, Pérez, better known both then and now as Pitbull, sat unblinking, nose inches from the screen, as Gore detailed the upcoming death of a planet called Earth.
Do we know this happened? No. We can't prove anything definitively. But when one takes a look at the last decade of the Miami-born rapper's professional life, it's obvious: Pitbull has spent the past ten years trying to warn the world about the dangers of climate change.
He's done this subtly, ever mindful of the impact that a polarizing political stance like this could have on his global fan base. But Pitbull is not content to sit back and watch his world — and his beloved hometown — succumb to rising global temperatures.
Five months after Gore's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, spread around the world, Pitbull released his second studio album, El Mariel. Track 9 on the album is the song "Fuego," Spanish for "fire." The chorus hammers home a simple refrain: "Ten cuidado con el fuego (It'll burn you!)/Ten cuidado con el fuego/Ten cuidado con el fuego (It'll burn you!)" Translated, "ten cuidado con el fuego" means "be careful with the fire," some slick foreshadowing of the environmental turmoil to come.
Pitbull launches into the first verse with an ominous warning. He raps, "Beemers and Impalas/Thugs and them ballers/Ain't nothing safe/When them things start to," and then makes a series of "jigga jigga jigga" noises, which sound an awful lot like the clattering one makes while shivering — perhaps an allusion to the unstable drop in temperature some parts of the world have seen due to the Earth's fluctuating temperature.
Pitbull's allusions to our collective impending doom often come veiled within common rap references to partying and women. Think of Pit's approach like a carrot cake: Icing and sugar conceal the fact that we're actually being fed vegetables. Also, now is a good time to picture Pitbull baking an actual carrot cake. It's not relevant to the story, but it should make you smile, which you certainly won't be doing much of when the world has turned to ash and human beings are forced to survive off their own toenail clippings.
In August 2009, Pitbull received the keys to the city from Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado. It was around this time he began referring to himself as Mr. Worldwide, possibly signaling an expanded worldview and an increased awareness of just what's at stake here.
But for some reason, Pitbull decided to lie low over the next few years. Maybe he lost interest in the cause; maybe he was just buying some time, building up his fame in order to make his voice all the more valuable. Maybe he accidentally locked himself in the bathroom.
Either way, in July 2012, Pitbull came face-to-face with climate change in one of the globe's most affected areas. It began as an online contest to have Pitbull perform in any Walmart in America. But as the votes flooded in, the internet hatched a plan to send Pitbull to the most remote Walmart in the United States. On July 30, he touched down in Kodiak, Alaska.
The internet had its laughs, but the vacation clearly wasn't all fun and games for Pitbull. Kodiak and Alaska in general have felt the repercussions of global warming harder than most other parts of the world. The winter of 2015 was the warmest ever recorded in Kodiak, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Information. And whatever Pitbull saw in Alaska — a skinny polar bear, a melting popsicle — it changed him forever.
Four months later, Pitbull tossed aside subtlety and released his boldest statement to date: his seventh studio album, Global Warming. Mumbling over the intro to the album's leading title track, Pitbull lays it out: "Live my dreams, y'all dormant/Category 6 as I storm in/Take this as a, take this as a warning/Welcome to, welcome to global warming."
On Track 9, "Outta Nowhere," Pitbull hisses, "Baby, what you think all the training is for?/Just to properly prepare you for war/So I keep you on your toes/If you look out for them friends that are really foes."
The album even has a bonus track, "Everybody Fucks," which is actually just about the fact that everybody, hopefully, fucks — at least occasionally in life. Though, if you rearrange the letters, "Everybody Fucks" can spell, "Yuck, bro."
And when it comes to climate change, yuck, bro, indeed.
The next year, May 2013, Pitbull made his film debut as the voice of a tough-talking bullfrog named Bufo in the movie Epic. The animated film features a plot in which two factions — one good, one evil — battle over the fate of the lush forest they inhabit. Discussing the role on NPR, Pitbull said, "When I first seen the toad Bufo, he was naked. When I came back for the second session, they had dressed him in a suit, and he was the only toad in the forest with a suit on. I loved it!"
It's hardly a surprise Pitbull found such kinship with a character willing to stand out in a sea of like-minded drones content to ignore the truth that encircles them at all times: that toads aren't supposed to wear suits.
Pop stars aren't supposed to care about the environment either, huh?
Pitbull dropped his eighth album, Globalization, in November 2014. Its biggest single was "Fireball." It could be about cinnamon-flavored whiskey. It could be about the burning flame of death that we call Earth. Pitbull leaves it up to you to decide.
Last October, Pitbull revealed that he had met with top GOP officials like Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Rick Scott. Recently it was revealed that Pitbull had a face-to-face with Mr. Trump too. What did they talk about? Pitbull won't say exactly. But it's safe to assume they weren't baking cookies.
Actually, that's not safe to assume. Marco Rubio has an infamous sweet tooth and Rick Scott likes to indulge too when Ann's not looking.
But if there are any doubters left — any unsuited toads among you — who doubt Pitbull's mission to educate the world about the environmental dangers we face, look no further than his upcoming album, 2016's Climate Change.
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SHOW ME HOW
Pitbull is coming to South Florida this Sunday. But he won't be playing in Miami. Instead, he has opted to move farther inland, to Sunrise, away from the waters that threaten to swallow his hometown. He invites you to flee the rising seas with him. But even if that fails and the BB&T center too finds itself underwater, he has a backup plan.
On March 10, Pitbull will embark on his very own Pitbull After Dark Party Cruise aboard the Norwegian Pearl. It is set to return to PortMiami on the 13th. But if Pitbull's predictions are true, the ship might not have anywhere to return to. Perhaps society will have to rebuild aboard the ark of Pitbull, and mankind will have to try again under its new leader, President Pitbull.