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Want your wife or girlfriend to love you forever? We’ve got one piece of advice: Take her to a Pitbull concert.
The rap star’s residency at Axis at Planet Hollywood Resort, which resumed this month, has an effect on women that’s hard to describe unless you’ve been to one of his concerts. Things start off quietly enough—a dramatic video plays, outlining how the star’s parents were Cuban expatriates, and how he struggled to overcome considerable odds to become one of the biggest music stars on the planet—but once Pitbull emerges onstage and launches into hits like “Fireball,” good luck seeing the show if you’re still sitting.
But eventually it’s not just the female members of the audience who are losing their dancing inhibitions: Even reluctant husbands and boyfriends will eventually be coaxed into dancing by the sheer fun transpiring onstage.
That’s the power of Pitbull: He unites everyone in a frenzy of fun, mixing in his political views with great beats and lyrics that are all about the importance—and benefits—of freedom.
Pitbull shows no shortage of enthusiasm in discussing his ongoing Time of Our Lives engagement at Planet Hollywood Resort. The Miami-born rapper is the first rapper in history to earn a Vegas extended engagement. That residency began in 2015, the final year of his seven-year plan for success, designated for “making history.”
“That’s definitely a part of making history right there, to even have this opportunity to perform in Vegas, because it’s something that I feel was … the idea was spawned and blossomed in Cuba, in Havana,” says the 34-year-old son of Cuban expatriates who named him Armando Christian Perez. Prerevolutionary Cuba’s tourism influenced the development of Las Vegas, and after Castro came to power many Cuban entertainers left the island nation for the Strip. “Vegas is something that is deeply rooted in culture for me and, I would say, my family, but to also be a part of what I would see as the (entertainment) elite in Vegas is amazing.”
It may have seemed an audacious goal more than a decade ago when Pitbull’s “Culo” was ubiquitously heard in Vegas nightclubs, but he has arguably made an indelible mark in the music industry and beyond. His 2015 album Dale is his ninth and, due to its diversity of influences, serves as a metaphor for his hometown’s melting pot. He is in demand for endorsements, has his own brand of vodka, Voli, and an eponymous fragrance, hosted his New Year’s Eve television special in December and maintains a development deal for online content.
He can envision his name on Strip marquees for extended periods, though. “Obviously, that would be the goal, to have something permanent in Vegas,” says Pitbull. “But just to be able to have two weeks over there and really soak up the city, soak up the people, soak up the energy … for us on our career side, it’s great. It’s only going to give us more ideas for records and opportunities, but more than anything it’s amazing to have this opportunity, and I’m still in awe about it.”
During his first residency in September and October, Pitbull broke ground on the Las Vegas version of his successful Sports Leadership & Management charter school in Miami; that’s scheduled to open this fall. Florida also made Pitbull its official tourism ambassador in recognition of his often-expressed civic pride, and politicians are rumored to have attempted to curry favor before the presidential primaries.
Pitbull has his eyes on a different prize, though. “Vegas is what it is now, and Cuba’s going to reopen,” he says. “I’m hoping to be the bridge between them, and be the one that performs in Vegas and also gets the chance to have a residency in Cuba once it completely opens up.”
Planet Hollywood Resort, 9 p.m. March 16, 18-19, 23 & 25-26, starting at $35 plus tax and fee. 800.745.3000 Ticketmaster
(Source: Las Vegas Magazine)