Here’s some insight to how my mind works.
There’s not a human alive who doesn’t stress out about things they cannot control. War, health, weather, death etc…
I am no different except I feel at peace with most things out of my grasp. I don’t like them, but I accept they will or will not happen , regardless of how I feel or what I do. So, instead of worrying about larger picture things I find myself giving great amount of thought to things that are no only out of my control but are also a completely stupid waste of time.
Case in point, the career of Miami rapper Pitbull.
Now, I’m not “mad” at Pitbull. He’s had great success and worked really hard to achieve that. Talent is all relative and i can tell you, from experience, it’s like the 5th most important thing where success in the arts in involved. Timing, who you know, luck and hustle are all light years ahead of talent. It sucks but it’s true. So, just to clarify, I respect Pitbull’s hustle. I don’t know him or anyone who knows him. I know very little about him outside that he’s on like 4 out of every 10 songs on the radio which feature raps about dancing. That’s all.
So, here’s how my brain works.
I’m sitting in this restaurant I often eat lunch at and they have the radio playing. Hot 97, of course, cause is there any other radio station in NYC? No, there is not.
I’m just fiddling around with my phone , not paying attention, when my food arrives. In the brief moment of disconnect between putting my phone down and eating my food, my ears catch a Pitbull verse playing through the diner speakers. It could have been any song he’s on. I literally cannot tell the difference. I’m pretty sure this one had Ne-yo or maybe chris brown doing the hook. I have no fucking clue. Whoever it was, for some reason, it made my mind swirl. His verse was nothing. It was as empty as the desert sky. It was words that rhyme , said in a hyped up, syncopated manner but, in the end, I was left holding my fork wondering how it even came to be. It was as if this is what free jazz musicians have been trying to achieve for decades yet Pitbull got there first. Lyrical negative space.
Pitbull, from what I know, started like most other rappers. He came up through the underground. Getting acclaim locally, then on a more nationwide level. He was probably named Pitbull cause of how he rapped and not cause he actually looks like a Pitbull. (Clearly, his name would be MC newborn gerbil if he was basing his name on his appearance). So, it’s a fair bet that he got his name cause of his ferocious nature on the mic. I mean, here’s a vid of him rapping a long long time ago. 1997 to be exact. Proof he can actually rap.
Now, like all famous rappers who start one place and end up elsewhere, this is a familiar place. He was a dude who had #barz. In 2015 , expecting a rapper to stay the same forever is pointless and backwards thinking. Holler “Sell out!” all you want but this is why he’s a successful rapper now and not some dude still doing open mike nights in Dade county on a monday. He simply wanted more for himself and the integrity of the music wasn’t that important. Not how I live but i also can’t say I blame him. But what fascinates me is not his music itself, but his ability to become the guy he is. He’s somehow found a lane in which he raps on everything. Party songs, sports anthems. People pay him for this. People buy his records. People come to his shows. But, I’ll be damned if there is a person alive who’s listening to a song with him and thinks “Awwwww shit! Can’t wait for that Pitbull verse to drop so I can rap along!”. Nope. No one. He’s cultivated white noise rapping that works on some level. It’s incredible. He could literally say “Hamburger!” in a rhythmic fashion for his entire verse and it would have the same effect.
I think what blows my mind about this is that there is even a way that can exist now. The music market is so over saturated. There are lines around the block for people waiting to be the next big thing. Not only that. The way trends change and the fickle nature of fandom, it’s a revolving door. That shit you love right now will not be around in 3 years. That’s a promise. It’s not the fault of the musicians, it’s just the cycle works and it’s not getting better. Yet, through all that, this dude has somehow figured out a way to stay relevant and continue to make music to great success, all while actively saying nothing, having no one who really likes his music and making some of the most forgettable verses ever performed. When I say “nothing” i don’t mean something of value. I’m not sitting here saying Pitbull has to tackle social issues. Fuck all that. I’m saying the dude doesn’t even write catchy dumb shit. In five years, if someone says “Look at the flicka da wrist!” I will know what he’s talking about. But name me a single Pitbull line or verse that didn’t just serve as a build up to whatever the hook is. You can’t. Well…maybe you can but I’m still not buying it. After all, you listen to Pitbull rhymes, what the fuck is wrong with you, bro?
I think all this comes down to mixture of me being impressed and confused at the same time. I take may hat off to Pitbull for his success. He’s unlocked some sort of cheat code and , seemingly, fooled everyone on earth (or at least in miami and fl over states in the US). Whenever I see a person like this exist, I actually assume they’re probably just a really cool person who other people genuinely like. So, it would make sense to me if Pitbull was the man, in real life. So, really, how mad can anyone be? After all, you can’t really blame the artist if you don’t like them and they blow up. The fans are the ones you should be looking at.
That said, I’m still not sure what a “Pitbull fan” is or if they truly exist. Maybe he’s music that spam bots listen to. That would make sense cause there are billions of those motherfuckers.