Pitbull Shares Secrets To His Worldwide Success During Pollstar Live! Keynote Q&A

Pitbull and Beata Murphy
– Pollstar Live! 2022
Moderator Beata Murphy of iHeartMedia shares some laughs with her longtime friend Pitbull during Pollstar Live! Feb. 9.
Pitbull joked that he’s known by many names during his Pollstar Live! keynote Q&A with iHeartMedia program director Beata Murphy. 
As the longtime friends sat down to close out the conference, they reflected on the day they met around two decades ago, long before he was known as Mr. 305 (the area code for his hometown of Miami) and Mr. Worldwide (due to his international success as a rapper).
“It was before Pit had a song, he came in with our good friends the Ying Yang Twins,” Murphy said. “The Ying Yang Twins had a song on the radio and they were having an interview. And the only answer you could get out of them was ‘heh.’ So this young gentleman who’s wearing jeans and a white-T jumps on and he starts answering questions. And we go to break and I’m like, ‘Hey, nobody knows who you are. Who are you?’ And he’s like, ‘Mamí, don’t you know who I am?’ And I’m like, ‘No, don’t know who you are.’ Long story short, the single ‘Shake’ comes out. And all of a sudden…”
Now, nearly 17 years after the single was released, Pitbull is not only a super-star artist, but a businessman, with his own NASCAR team, Voli Vodka, Siris XM radio station, Mr. 305 independent record label and countless other ventures. The recent Pollstar cover artist has been listed as one of the Top 20 highest-paid hip hop acts in Forbes.
Murphy shared an anecdote about how she once ran into Pitbull and asked why he wasn’t sporting any bling. 

“Everybody’s got chains,” Murphy said. “And I jokingly was like, ‘Hey, where’s your chain?’ And you looked at me and you’re like, ‘Mami, I don’t do chains. I do real estate.'”

Pitbull and Beata Murphy
– Pitbull and Beata Murphy
Pitbull and Beata Murphy backstage at Pollstar Live!

Pitbull responded to Murphy’s anecdote by explaining his own philosophy for wanting to break his way out of the environment he had grown up in. 

“Throughout the years, while someone was paying $200,000 for a chain, I was buying real estate,” Pitbull shared. “Which in turn appreciates and years later, obviously, you can make a business from it that goes on to create for the next generation. I have another saying, which is ‘Triple G.’ And that’s how I live my life. Triple G is generate the generate for generations. So I’m always thinking about who’s going to be the one that’s gonna take this and continue the legacy. The easy part is making it, the hard part is maintaining it. That is the absolute truth. So from back then, a lot of that idea/philosophy/perspective came from the streets. I saw a lot of guys that made a lot of money either end up dead, in prison or broke. And the guys that made a lot of money that ended up becoming entrepreneurs – because entrepreneur is just another word for a hustler – they hustled their way into a legal life. From illegal to legal. And how did they do that? You know, opening companies, corporations. And next thing you know, people forgot what they used to do and now everybody remembers them for what they did. So growing up on the streets I never wanted to end up that person that was going to wind up dead, in jail, or broke. And applied the same philosophy, same hustle. Because it’s really the same hustle, just a different product.”

His recent “I Feel Good Tour” grossed more than a total of $20 million and sold more than 424,000 tickets, according to Pollstar Boxoffice reports. And perhaps the most significant part of that last tour was that the audience was young and wanting to dress up like the rapper. In fact, Pitbull’s team needed to pivot with the merchandise they were selling on the road to include items that matched his own look. Those items wound up being the top-selling merchandise throughout the “I Feel Good Tour.”

Pitbull has long-credited one teacher, Hope Martinez, for changing his life. In fact, he mentions her name in thanks so often that she’s asked him to stop. Not only was Martinez the first person to believe in Pitbull, but she helped him and his friends make their way into a DMX music video. 

“And sure enough, that day changed my life,” he said. “That was the day I got into the music industry. ‘Cause I ended up battling Drag-On from the Ruff Ryders and Irv Gotti who was a huge producer at the time ended up seeing me. nd he was the one who switched the lightbulb on.”

Martinez’s actions wound up inspiring Pitbull to build his own charter schools called SLAM! (which stands for Sports Leadership Arts and Management). With 12 schools across the country and 10,000 students (99% of whom are on free lunch programs), Pitbull is educating a generation – “education is the real revolution,” as he says.

While traveling the world, Pitbull has seen it all, and he states that gives him a greater appreciation for where he came from. Born to Cuban immigrants, the rapper has frequently brought up the privilege he feels he has for having been able to grow up in Miami and the United States.

“My family went through a lot of shit for me to be able to be born here in the United States of America,” he said. “I appreciate every breath I take here, thanks to them and what they went through for me. For people that don’t understand the United States and wanna speak whatever, the good thing is they can that’s why the United States of America is what it is. You have the right to your opinion. But you gotta travel the world. Once you travel the world and you see those slums of Mumbai. When you see the shanty towns of South Africa, the things that are going on in Bangladesh, the things that are going on in Syria, and you get to see it first hand? You take a look at anybody in the United States of America, you could take them to the worst ghetto in Chicago, you can go to Baltimore, you can go to Compton, you can go to Liberty City in Miami. You can tell them, “listen motherfuckers, this is the Beverley Hills of the World.’ You cannot do shit compared to what’s going on in the world, the amount of poverty and kind of things that you see.”

While Mr. Worldwide has spent much time traveling the globe, he shares that he is working on new music. “We got the Spanish album that’s coming, which is called Pit Coin, by the way. NFT that. We’ve got a Spanish single coming out. And then we have a record I’m very, very excited about that we’re looking to put out in April. We’re going back and forth with his team right now. And we have a record with Zac Brown coming out that’s gonna be, I guarantee you, a game-changer. And it’s going to bring two worlds together like we’ve always done. Collaborating. And the record’s called ‘Ain’t Nothing Going To Stop Us.’ And that’s exactly what this whole journey, and grind, and fight is about.”

Pitbull and his team are looking ahead to next year, with 50 dates scheduled throughout the United States. Following the massive success of the “I Feel Good Tour,” he and his team are hoping to recreate the party-filled atmosphere as they return to amphitheaters.