Every time Pitbull releases an album, it is immediately apparent that his main aim as a musician is to get people dancing. There have been times, during his six-year career, where we’ve been able to see glimpses of a lyricist that could offer something different to the Hip Hop culture. In fact, his Cuban-American perspective is a unique part of his appeal. Still, however, every album, including his latest effort Armando, seems to solidify that Pitbull is in it to make you dance and not much else. While that’s good news for club-going fist-pumpers, it does nothing for fans who expect substance filled rhymes from all emcees.
It’s not that he doesn’t showcase his pride for his heritage in raps. In fact, it has become his main claim to fame with Spanish song titles and the use of popular Latin samples in his music. Armando’s “Maldito Alcohol,” “Guantanamera,” “Esta Noche,” “Vida 23” and “Tu Cuerpo” all show he’s still fusing cultures in his music and he takes it a step further by recreating the classic Beastie Boys’ “Girls” in Spanish (“Mujeres”). The latter, it should be noted, fails to match the original. In all of this, he merely sticks to the script, redoing what has made him successful thus far. While it’s hard to blame him, it’s also difficult not to knock his lack of progression.
For the most part, his repertoire has remained the same. Lyrically, he relies heavily on catchy repetitive phrases and chants for club goers. He spits in English and Spanish, which is commendable, but then again, he holds no real substance in either language here. In the end, it almost seems like he stopped trying lyrically with Armando. On previous efforts, he still managed to sneak in some versatility, but this time, he’s locked in an odd fusion of Rap and Techno, dedicated to Dance music and nothing else.
Can we blame an artist for sticking to what works? Lil Jon’s former protege has been featured on several hits and his own tracks have topped singles charts with ease. His signature yell is a war cry both on radio and to any episode of MTV’s The Jersey Shore, certifying Pitbull’s nightclub dominance. However, as an emcee, he offers nothing new of substance with Armando. Like Lil Jon and Black Eyed Peas before him, Pitbull has crossed the velvet rope, from the concrete to the club.