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I Raised Pitbull When He Was Just a Pitpuppy

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Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court

stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times.

This week, Luke describes Pitbull's early struggles in the rap game.


Jennifer Lopez debuted her new single "On the Floor," featuring Pitbull, shortly

before the new season of American Idol kicked off last month, it showed how far

Mr. 305 had come since I discovered him many years ago.

Back then, I was reading

an article in a newspaper about the US Census and how Latin Americans were

growing by huge numbers across the country. I thought it would make good

business sense to develop a Latin artist. I also figured that, since I was here

in Miami, I needed to find a Cuban-American who represented the city's

predominant Latin culture.

So my scouts fanned out to find a rapper with

Cuban swagger who could hold his own. They brought me a Source magazine battle

tape that featured Pitbull spitting rhymes. I immediately knew he was the one. I

brought him into the old Luke Records office and told him I could see him doing

big things. If he kept his head right, I said, he would be worldwide


I put him through Luke's School of Hard Knocks. I took him on tours

where he had to freestyle-battle other rappers. I ran him through the most

difficult situations a performer can experience. It didn't come easy for him.

But he listened to me. He kept fighting.

I had a heck of a time

convincing people in the radio and music business that he was the real deal. I

remember begging the program and radio directors at Power 96 (WPOW-FM 96.5) to

play his early tracks. I fought them because I found it ludicrous that they

didn’t want to promote the first Cuban rapper from Miami. I find it funny that

Power 96 is now one of his biggest supporters.

And while my other artists

such as H-Town were disowning Luke Records, he stuck with me. He

is so loyal to the people who have played an important role in his life. Guys

who have worked for both me and Pitbull have nicknamed him Baby Luke because he

conducts business in the style I taught him.

So to see this kid from the

streets of Miami become a world icon has been a beautiful thing.


Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.

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