Born to Cuban parents, Pitbull - he adopted the name to symbolise identification with outlawed dogs forced to fight for their lives - first started rapping at High School after being inspired by Nas and The Notorious B.I.G.. He recounted tales of his troubled upbringing in his rhymes and freestyling on radio rap battles in a mix of Southern urban music branded as "crunk". He also featured on Lollipop, a single by Luther Campbell (of 2 Live Crew) and, drawing on hip hop influences from both the east and west coasts of America, released his debut album M.I.A.M.I. in 2004. The following year he toured with Eminem and 50 Cent and collaborated with Wyclef Jean, Elephant Man, Ying Yang Twins, Twista and Pretty Ricky, releasing his second album El Mariel in 2006 - which contained a mix of party tracks and political material. Third album, The Boatlift had more of a gangsta rap edge while his club-styled 2009 album Rebelution, produced one of his biggest hits I Know You Want Me.
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