Pitbull sat down with iNews‘ Jessica Barrett while he was in London last week to talk about his meeting with Donald Trump, his community projects in Miami, and whether there are actually any hidden messages about Climate Change in his dance hits.
Pitbull is possibly the most in-demand pop collaborator at the moment and when asked about how it happened, he laughs, “I have no clue. I don’t consider myself the king of collaborations; I think the music industry was built on collaborating”.
Armando and Barrett are sitting in an almost pitch-black hotel lounge, sitting on a silver-crushed velvet baquette. It’s midday and Perez, clad in a purple suit, is drinking a large glass of white win (which he kindly offers to the interviewer). When asked about how most of his collaborations come about he replies, “the plan just works itself out”.
Perez’s success has earned him the unlikely roll of political influencer in the U.S. Vice Magazine even claimed he could sway the presidential election, adding, “As perhaps the most visible Latino celebrity in a country that is expected to be one-third Latino by 2050, and perhaps the most prominent citizen of Florida, a crucial electoral swing state, Pitbull’s endorsement is quite a big deal“. So it is unsurprisingly that Republican-party candidate, Donald Trump, flew Perez to his South-Florida estate by helicopter for a meet last year. Pitbull claims that it was nothing political, just to “talk business”, and the they meeting definitely did not sway him. He is not endorsing Trump, and he tells Barrett firmly that he will not be voting for him.
“I know exactly who I’m voting for, and I can tell you who I’m not voting for.” So not Trump then? “I think everybody knows that,” he says. “I was meeting with Trump as a businessman. When it comes to business, he’s sharp – the guy’s pulled off some amazing stuff, you’ve got to give him that. But he’s not a politician, and he’s definitely in no way, shape or form suited to be President.”
Now does Pitbull get angry about Trump? “I can’t get mad at somebody who’s so ignorant. I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. He’s the one who’s got to wake up and look at himself in the mirror every day. The two biggest diseases in the world are greed and ignorance, and he suffers from both. Now the thing I’m very disappointed in is that we’re giving him a platform to showcase that. That’s horrible.
“We look so stupid around the world. It’s like WWE, like Hulk Hogan versus Andre the Giant. They’re making this look like a Superbowl, and they’re not talking about issues, or what the country needs. If we’re going to be world leaders, we need to start acting like it.”
Perez isn’t confused about why his opinion and endorsement matters to many politicians. “By default I’m a part of politics. Why? Because I speak to a culture that is very powerful and very loyal and is only continuing to grow. So obviously they want a piece of that. But will I let them exploit that? Hell no. And they know that, and so does my culture.”
Pitbull began rapping as a teenager and used music as his outlet to escape and express all of the negativity that was surrounding him. “The things I was seeing on the streets, I was painting in my records. Everyone was doing the same hustle. I had to find something different.”
Since then, Pitbull has transitioned into creating a new style of hip-hop/pop music that is extremely profitable. “People thought it would take away from my credibility, but if you’re worried about your credibility, you were never credible in the first place. It created new fans, it created a whole new genre of music.”
Pitbull’s most-recent worldwide #1 hit, “Timber,” featured Kesha, who is currently in the midst of a legal battle with producer, Dr. Luke, pertaining her accusation of sexual and emotional abuse. When asked about what he thinks about the battle or if he has spoke to Kesha about it, Perez states, “No I haven’t, to be honest. Because those types of things I don’t really get involved in. You know what they say about stories: there’s his version, her version, and the truth; there are always three sides”.
Perez has given back to the Miami and Las Vegas communities by building a school and opening the Sports Leadership And Management Academy (SLAM!) in Miami’s Little Havana and Nevada’s Henderson neighborhoods. “I wanted to give the kids a safe spot. A lot of them come from broken homes. They love to be around people who believe in them and want to see them succeed.”
Pitbull’s forthcoming tenth studio album is titled, “Climate Change,” because he says it’s an issue he’s very concerned about. “To me it’s an issue that some people are in denial about and it’s something that I get to see first-hand as I travel around the world. I didn’t think I could make a record about climate change and think people are going to listen to it, so I’d rather give them a record that they can use to escape, dance, have fun but at the same time there is a deeper message.
“I’m always watching documentaries but more than that, being from Miami, we have a national park there called the Everglades, and it’s changing. I see it first-hand. It’s something I’m in tune with and am passionate about.”
When Barrett brought up the fact that he always travel in an eco-unfriendly private jet, Pitbull pauses, takes a sip of wine, and says, “I have to get around”.