I’m feeling good, thank God.
Are you happy with how your new album, El Mariel, is doing so far?
Definitely. I’m not big on the first-week sales. A lot of cats sell a lot the first week and then don’t sell anything else.
Do you see this album as having more of a slow burn?
For sure. I think everything I do is a slow burn. I don’t want anything I do to come quick because if it comes quick, it leaves quicker.
What did you want to give people with El Mariel?
I wanted to show people how diverse the Pitbull movement is. Of course you have your club records, your records for the women and the deeper records that show a different side of Pit. I wanted to show all the different sides of Pitbull.
What was your inspiration for “Blood is Thicker Than Water”?
My inspiration behind that was to show people what my life is like, what it’s been like and how I feel right now.
There aren’t pictures of you in jewelry and you mention that in the song. Why don’t you wear chains and other jewelry?
Jewelry, to me, is cool. To each his own, but my thing is not only making money but securing a future for my kids. Instead of investing into a chain, I invest into property, which is a better investment to me. I would rather pump $100,000 into a couple of properties and make $500,000 from it.
You talk about real estate being the new dope game. Do you see more people in hip-hop getting into real estate?
Definitely. A lot of people take their money and invest it into real estate. There is nothing like property. One thing we’re going to run out of is land, so you might as well snatch everything you can now because ten years from now, who knows what it will be worth.
Because you rhyme in Spanish and drop a lot of club tracks, some fans consider you a reggaeton artist. How do you feel about that?
As far as the whole reggaeton thing, the reason that I tried to disassociate myself with that movement, I love their music, but the thing is, I don’t like to take credit for something that’s not mine. They tell me I’m the king of this or the ambassador of that. I don’t want to be categorized as that because I don’t want to take credit for something that’s not mine.
What’s the line you walk between making club songs versus your deep songs?
As far as that, you just have to be able to give the audience all types of different records because soon they’ll catch on to the fact that Pitbull is very diverse. I keep my credibility up by giving them the mixtapes. I’m on Volume 6 and I’m about to drop Volume 7. I have another one called Chapter 1 coming out. That keeps me in the streets heavy and that’s how people respect the lyrical side of me or whatever they’re looking for in a record.
A lot of fans say “Pitbull isn’t hip-hop” but then you show your roots on “Come See Me” when you quote AZ from “Life’s a Bitch.” Does that ever frustrate you?
Not at all. Not at all. That’s just more people to make believers. That’s not a problem at all. Like you said, it’s a slow grind. I’m from the South and we’ve been grinding for years. My grind in the past three years has been progress, and I’m going to work to keep it that way. It took Jay-Z and TI three albums to really get out there and have that foundation. I want to win everyone over. I don’t want to be a fad.
You’ve been able to consistently drop albums since 2004. What’s allowed you to do that?
I’ve been myself and I’m constantly on the road. I haven’t been off the road since I dropped my first album. You normally don’t see a gold artist doing that.
How is your relationship with Lil’ Jon growing over the years?
It’s more personal than it is business. He’s like my brother. One thing about Jon that makes him a great person is that he never changes. No matter how famous Lil’ Jon gets, he’s still Jon.
In three years you really exploded onto the national scene. Are you surprised at all by your success?
I am definitely surprised and blessed and I thank God every day for it. Like I said on “Blood is Thicker Than Water,” it’s a gift and a curse and I’m definitely very grateful for it.
Omar Cruz and Joell Ortiz just signed to Aftermath. Are Spanish rappers being treated better now by the industry today?
Definitely. I think doors are opening. The music is also due to us demographically and how we’re taking over. Pretty soon you have to cater to Latins, and that’s what they’re doing right now.
Artists like yourself and Fat Joe have been criticized for using the n-word. How do you feel about that?
“Nigga” is used all over the place. Fat Joe is from the hood and I’m from the hood. That’s the way we speak. What’s up, my nigga? That’s a form of speech. Nobody means it in a bad way. There’s “nigga” with an “a” and “nigger” with an “er.” Nobody means that in a bad way. That’s the way we were raised.
There were rumors that you criticized Mos Def for wearing a Che Guevara shirt…
No, I didn’t criticize Mos Def. I don’t know where that came from. I don’t criticize anybody that wears a Che Guevara shirt. I’m not criticizing anybody, but I am telling them to learn about him. He’s a genius, but when it comes to our people and Cuba, he was a part of a lot of assassinations and murders, so with our people, he is not celebrated. And as far as Mos Def, I’m a big fan of his.
Do you wind up in a lot of political discussions with fans about Che Guevara and Fidel Castro?
Yeah. It’s one thing to live it and it’s one thing to see it on television. I lived that shit. My family lived that shit. The reason we’re in the United States of America is because of those people. When I talk to people, I ask them if they know what it’s like to be from Cuba. You can have your opinion and in no way, shape or form will I neglect it, but my grandmother was in the war with Che Guevara, Fidel Castro and Batista. My mother came over on the Peter Pan and my father brought boats over. My family has a lot of history and my culture runs deep. To people that have a discussion with me, they have their points of view and there could be truth to what they’re saying, but at the same time, for example, if you look at Bush on TV with his speech impediment, you would think he was doing his job. We live in the United States of America and we see what’s going on here.
One rapper I interviewed said he wanted to live in Cuba because, he said, everything was better over there.
Oh, yeah, it’s fucking great! It’s great if you’re from the United States of America, but if you’re Cuban, you can’t do shit. There are no Cubans that can go to hotels in Cuba. You get a certain amount of rice per month and you get no meat. My cousin is doing 25 years in prison for selling meat. They’re doing great. Whoever said that might want to go reevaluate the situation. Instead of going to Cuba to live in a hotel they might want to go live in the woods.
Have you ever spoken to M1 from dead prez about Cuba?
I spoke to M1 about the situation in Cuba and he said, “I didn’t know a lot of the things you are telling me.” He looks at 2Pac’s aunt that went to Cuba and Castro granting her asylum. Castro is one of the most racist motherfuckers on the face of this earth. I agree with revolution and that’s great, but the idea of revolution, the idea of communism and the idea of idealism are great to read on paper. Communism, woo hoo! We all have the same shit, education, this, that and the third. Yeah, you have free education, but you have kids who are 13, 14 years-old selling pussy when they get out of school to get food for the house. Tell me how the fuck communism works out. There’s a lot of things they don’t know about. It looks great on paper and it looks nice on TV, but it ain’t what it is. There’s a saying for that: don’t believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.
How do you feel about the United States’ immigration laws?
As far as immigration laws, I feel they’re unjust, especially in a country that’s been built by immigrants. We’re all immigrants. In a country that stands for liberty and opportunity, I feel there should be a process for immigrating, but don’t say that you’re going to send them back and anybody who helps them out will be charged with a felony. You’re basically taking away their rights of becoming a United States citizen. I don’t agree with that. I think it’s contradicting what we stand for.
What response did you get from your song directed to Castro, “Ya Se Acabo”?
As far as the Cubans on this side, it was great. The response is ridiculous. It sort of put me at another level with all the Cubans. Some people didn’t like it. That’s why God made different colors because not everybody likes pink or green or black. You can’t make everybody happy.
As more national attention is placed on Miami, do you see the hip-hop scene changing there?
No. Miami has been Miami for years. We’re not catching up to people, they’re catching up to us. Trick’s the same. Trina’s the same. Dirtbag is the same. Khaled’s the same. It’s just that they’re catching on to our scene now.
There’s never any real beefs or diss tracks coming from the major artists in Miami. Is that a front or does everybody really get along with each other?
We get along with each other. There’s no time to be wasting. There’s a lot of money to get and a city to represent. A lot of people thought we were all about booty shaking but they have no idea what we grew up around. Rick Ross isn’t the boss because he says he’s the boss; he’s been doing his thing for years. I’m happy for him and I congratulate him every time I see him. My job was to open the door for artists in Miami that weren’t open before and I hope more people come out of Miami.
Have you started thinking about your next album?
The next album is going to be an all Spanish album and then I’m going to drop the third album.
What do you want to say to everybody?
I really appreciate the love from the fans. Y’all are the ones that keep me going. Without y’all, there is no Pitbull. As far as everybody out there, make sure you go get El Mariel and check me out on MySpace. Thank you and thank God.