Pitbull makes history
In a week that finds him both enjoying the ongoing success of his album Dale and meeting with his team to lay recording plans for 2016, Pitbull shows no shortage of enthusiasm in discussing his upcoming “Time of Our Lives” multidate engagement at Planet Hollywood Resort. The Miami-born rapper performs seven dates between Sept. 23 and Oct. 7 at resort venue The Axis, adding him to the realm of Strip resident headliners and making him the first rapper in history to earn a Las Vegas extended engagement. It’s also happening during 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. Dale is his ninth album 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 inaugural 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 residency, Pitbull also plans to break ground on the Vegas version of his successful Sports Leadership & Management charter school in Miami. Florida recently made Pitbull its official tourism ambassador in recognition of his often-expressed civic pride, and politicians are rumored to have attempted to curry favor in advance of next year’s 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. Sept. 23, 25-26 & 30, Oct. 2-3 & 7, $39-$169 plus tax and fee. 800.745.3000 Ticketmaster