Pitbull and the Listenability Factor

If posts on Nicki Minaj/Cher Lloyd and LMFAO didn't let you know I like a good dance song, this post should clear up any lingering doubts. I think Pitbull is one of the most listenable and clever rappers consistently charting in America. His mix of club banger form and long runs of unexpected rhymes are easy to remember but hard to grow tired of. I first noticed this ability on his song "The Anthem." You probably don't know this song by name, but if you've listened to any hip-hop station int he past 4 years, you'll know it by the sound of it. It's a mostly Spanish-language track produced by Lil' Jon featuring a sample of "Calabria," which was also used in the late and great Natasja Saad's cross-over hit "Calabria 2007" (of the non-stop Top 40 play for 2 years).

Recognize it now? I'm not going to republish the lyrics here because they are a bit risque, but you can easily hear how he mixes up end-rhyme schemes with a good ear for alliteration and internal rhyme structure in English and Spanish. Pitbull understands the power of sound. I believe that is key to his success.

I want to say the first big hit people would recognize Pitbull for is "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)." It was played everywhere two years ago. It was the summer jam for Top 40/Contemporary Hit Radio stations. There was a reason for this. It's a beautifully produced track. Just listen to it.

It's the combination of just the right beat with a simple--but memorable--chorus that gets trapped in your head. There's also, as Rich at FourFour explained better than I ever could, an almost absurd sexuality to his lyrics. Pitbull is a confident rapper. His boasts don't seem like an exaggeration in context because of his delivery. Removed from the music and his performance, they seem ridiculous. Good thing no one is claiming his writing is poetry.

Pitbull has a new single out now that features a laundry list of featured artists: Ne-Yo, Afrojack, and Nayer. I really can't stop listening to the song. "Give Me Everything Tonight" is almost all chorus (a Pitbull trademark), but his bass-vocal bridge might actually be used more than the chorus. It's just a fun track that anyone could party to.

I don't want to say this is an inspirational track (considering the actual content of it), but if you ignore the sexuality, it could become a personal anthem. There's all this talk about reaching for the stars and seizing the day. But again, it's in the context of hooking up with someone at a bar.

What really drives me wild in the song is this synth-bass sound that kicks in near the end of the chorus as a counterpoint to the drum loop and synth pad under Ne-yo/Nayer's vocals. This track is stacked to the point of toppling over, but it never over-extends itself. Even when it adds in that synth-siren sound during the second chorus, it feels balanced. It's just layered perfectly. It's a perfect dance song without being all technology (like LMFAO, Far East Movement, or recent Britney Spears). It's refreshing in it's throwback simplicity. I'm a fan.

What do you think? Is Pitbull up your alley? Sound off.

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