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Miami Streets to AMA Stage: The Rise of Rapper Pitbull

First Posted: Nov 06, 2013 02:52 PM EST
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Armando Christian Perez was raised primarily by his mother. His Cuban immigrant parents divorced when he was a child; divided by circumstances and kept apart by personal drama. He spent his Miami adolescence learning about hip hop music and rapping, but later stumbled into the world of drugs as a teenager. Perez's mother kicked him out of her home when he was 16 because he was dealing, and he eventually landed in a foster family in Roswell, Georgia, before he returned to Miami where he graduated from Coral Park High school. 

From there, his alter ego and stage person emerged. He became Pitbull, the name gained from the fact that pitbulls "bite to lock. The dog is too stupid to lose." He said that they represented everything that he was.

His career began when he had a chance meeting with Lil Jon in Miami, introduced by Robert Hernandez of Famous Artist Music & Management. Pitbull was featured on Lil Jon and the Eastside Boy's album, "Kings of Crunk," which led to the debut of Pitbull's first single "Oye" which was featured on the soundtrack to the film "2 Fast 2 Furious." From there, the rest, as they say, is history.

Now, ten years later, Pitbull is a highly successful musician who has collaborated with every big name in the game - including Jennifer Lopez and LMFAO. He has earned millions in endorsement deals from companies such as Kodak, Walmart, Bud Light, and Dr. Pepper. He's used his wealth to open a charter middle and high school for wayward children, called Sports Leadership and Management (SLAM) in the Miami neighborhood that he grew up in, Little Havana. Now, the triumphantly successful Cuban rapper will be hosting this year AMA awards.

The American Music Awards, which was created by the late Dick Clark in 1973, will be hosted by Pitbull, the first Latino in the history of the show. The rapper, also known as Mr. Worldwide was announced as the host this past Tuesday. He will be the first host of the show since 2008.

The 32-year-old "Timber" singer's selection was greatly do the fact that he's Latino, as the AMAs aim to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Gloria Estefan's first appearance on the show as the first Latin AMA performer, and it is the15th anniversary of the 'favorite Latin artist' category.

"I am truly honored to be hosting the 2013 American Music Awards. The night is only about one thing: fun! So... get ready. Dale!" Pitbull told People, in anticipation of the award show that will be broadcast live from Los Angeles on Nov. 24 at 8 PM ET/PT.

The Miami native will be joined in performance by Lady Gaga, One Direction, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

The talented and prolific rapper has released seven studio albums and two EP since 2004.  He's led two concert tours, and is co-headling a concert tour this year, the 2013 North American Tour with Ke$ha, to promote her "Warrior" album and his "Global Warming" album.

He's also appeared in four films in the past two years, three of which he's played himself. And, he did the voice role of Bufo in the animated film, "Epic," which has a star-studded cast that includes Beyoncé and Amanda Seyfried.

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