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Byline: Liz Balmaseda
MIAMI _ Miami, the storied city of vice, welcomed Armando Christian Perez into the world one morning in 1981 at that electric hour when the marimberos, the cocaine cowboys, were arriving at the clubs in nearby Coconut Grove.
Four months earlier, parked at the edge of Biscayne Bay, his parents had gazed up at one bright star and made a prediction. "It twinkled, twinkled, twinkled," his mother would recall 22 years later. "And his father said, `That's our son. That's his star.'"
But the streets of Miami awaited with less pristine expectations. In the amped era of "Scarface," little Armando Christian saw a lot of things he wasn't supposed to. Lines of white powder on the coffee table. $100 bills rolled up like straws. Party people high as a kite. Add a few beats of local "charanga" and, boomp, you're there. Undercover Miami, hustler central, where the poor, the rich, the politicians, the police all maneuver for some piece of the action.
Early on, he figured it out: If you want something bad enough, dig your teeth into it and don't let go.
That's how Armando Christian, the kid who was reciting Jose Marti rhymes for stoned locals in Little Havana bars by age 3, became Pitbull, Miami's hungriest, most tenacious new rapper, a native-bred remix. A child of Cuban-born parents who doesn't give a hoot about island politics, he doesn't …