Since Pitbull grabbed hold in the music industry, he hasn't let go — which may give a hint as to why he chose his stage name. He's said as much along the way.
Decades later, with record sales and social-media followers in the tens of millions globally, plus a Latin Grammy for the 2015 album "Dale" on his shelf, Pitbull's tenacious approach has paid off nicely.
The man who would later declare himself "Mr. Worldwide" was born in Miami to Cuban exiles who split when he was young. Pitbull was raised mostly by his mom and has attributed his energy and positivity to the Tony Robbins motivational tapes she played while he was growing up. His upbringing in Cuban culture, including the poetry of Cuban revolutionary Jose Marti, would be later be influenced by hip-hop and rap styles from all over the U.S. as he found a niche in the crunk music scene.
After graduating from Miami Coral Park Senior High School — Jose Canseco is another famous alumnus — he appeared on mixtapes made by Miami talent, eventually catching the attention of Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell, who featured him on a 2001 single, "Lollipop." A manager came next, followed by Pitbull's first professional release, on the platinum-selling 2002 album "Kings of Crunk." In 2003, his tune "Oye" made the soundtrack of "2 Fast 2 Furious."
In 2014, Pitbull's eighth album, "Globalization," continued his "successful formula of mixing salsa with hip-hop, hip-hop with EDM, EDM with pop, and all of it with a cocky sense of humor and some of the worst pickup lines ever," The Times' Lorraine Ali said in a review of the record. The rapper's ninth album was the Grammy winner.
Now known globally for his trademark suits and ties and shaved head, he chose "Climate Change" as the title of his 10th album.
He launched Latin hip-hop label Bad Boy Latino with Sean "Diddy" Combs in 2005, and a legal victory in 2009 that released him from a contract with TVT Records gave him freedom, he said, to take his personal business in the direction he wanted.
Among other ventures, Pitbull has a fragrance line, has done endorsements for companies including Bud Light, Norwegian Cruise Line and Wal-Mart, and owns majority stakes in the Miami Grill and Miami-based Voli Vodka. He trademarked his name in 2000.
The Times' reviewer Ali described Pitbull as someone propelled by "raw talent and a whole lot of moxie." He's been similarly powered by the strength of his frequent collaborations.
From 2005 to 2016, he was featured on more than 70 singles by other artists, including Jennifer Lopez, Flo Rida, Cypress Hill, Enrique Iglesias, Usher, Shakira and Austin Mahone. He returned the favor more than 40 times from 2004 to 2016, featuring artists including Robin Thicke, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, Lil Jon, T-Pain and Marc Anthony.
His multi-platinum hit songs "Feel This Moment" and "Timber" prominently feature Christina Aguilera and Kesha, respectively. And five collaborations with Lopez, including on the 2014 World Cup song "We Are One (Ola Ola)," were enough to generate headlines declaring that the two were an item (they weren't).
Pitbull's ubiquity knows few bounds: In addition to the usual late-night and morning-show promotional appearances, he's been a musical guest on "American Idol" and "The X Factor," a guest judge on "Dancing With the Stars," a guest host more than once on "The View" and a guest star playing himself on the series "Empire." In 2015, he launched a satellite radio channel, Pitbull's Globalization.
His Walk of Fame star — the walk's 2,584th, unveiled on July 15, 2016 — was announced in June 2014 as a Class of 2015 selection.