Meaning Behind the Resilient Band Name Pitbull

Though he was born and raised in Miami, Florida, Pitbull has taken his music from the streets of Miami to audiences across the globe. It took years of steady hard work and dedication for him to become a multi-platinum singer, and that dedication is reflected in the meaning of his famed stage moniker. So how did he get the name Pitbull?

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Meaning Behind the Band Name

Born Armando Christian Pérez as the son of Cuban immigrants, Pitbull’s sound is influenced not only by the rappers he listened to growing up such as Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg but also by the “melting pot” culture he grew up surrounded by in Miami. Since the early 2000s, he’s operated under the name Pitbull as he was passed between record labels and was introduced to rapper Lil Jon early on. He was featured on the deep cut, “Pitbulls Cuban Rideout,” off Lil Jon’s chart-topping 2002 album, Kings of Crunk which included his smash hit “Get Low,” marking Pitbull’s first mainstream collaboration. It took another seven years for Pitbull to achieve his own hit as a solo artist with “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)” in 2009.

“They bite to lock, the dog is too stupid to lose,” Pitbull explained to Washington Post in 2004 about the meaning of his name taken from the dog breed, pit bull. “And they’re outlawed in Dade County. They’re basically everything that I am. It’s been a constant fight.”

“He understands the hustle of the game,” describes Lil Jon. “He understands the politics. He understands you don’t sleep right now.”

Pitbull’s hard work has paid off. So far, he’s released 11 studio albums, nearly all of which have peaked inside the Top 20 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Along the way, he’s garnered two other nicknames, Mr. 305, a nod to the area code in Miami, and Mr. Worldwide. The latter is an appropriate name, as he’s crossed country borders with massive hits like “Hotel Room Service,” “Give Me Everything,” “Fireball,” “Timber,” “Feel This Moment” and others, collaborating with artists ranging from Camilla Cabello to Blake Shelton.

“I always give thanks to Miami, 305, Dade County, The Bottom, Magic City, because there’s no way I would be who I am and be able to deal with the world the way that I do if it wasn’t for this beautiful city,” he shared with NPR.

“It’s a melting pot. You get a chance to grow up around so many different … I’ve grown up in good neighborhoods, bad neighborhoods, worse neighborhoods. But growing up around so many cultures, it’s always allowed me to think out [of] the box and try new sounds and try new things. You learn something new from every culture — just like I learn something new from every record.”

Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images

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