Pitbull Grins and Bears the State of the Nation at American Airlines Center

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With Prince Royce and Farruko
American Airlines Center, Dallas
Friday, July 22, 2016

It takes a lot to make Pitbull stop smiling. The Miami superstar's sole goal in life seems to live the best life on this planet, and he almost never stops smirking. But on Friday night at American Airlines Center even Pitbull's immaculately fun-loving facade cracked a little.

"It fucks with me when someone talks about immigrants," Pitbull declared, on one of the several occasions in which he stopped everything to chide newly confirmed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. "[Especially] when your wife is an immigrant."

This year's election cycle didn't stop the party from kicking off as expected on Friday, helped by the opening set of Prince Royce, who seems poised to break Bachata (Dominican dance music) into the mainstream.  Not known for lengthy sets, he actually almost made it a full two hours on Friday night. Of course, that fact was helped considerably by his various speeches, shout-outs and never-not-bizarre choice in cover songs. (This man loves the '80s more than VH1 ever did.) Mr. 305/Worldwide made sure to play every hit in his catalog, of which there are many.

His list of collaborators reads like a who's who's of the last 20 years. He and Kesha Rose topped the charts with the country tinged “Timber,” while he's made Latin club bangers with Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera and Shakira. That doesn't even include what he's done in hip-hop and R&B, where he's worked with Ne-Yo, Akon, Lil Wayne, Jason Derulo and even beloved indie darling Mayer Hawthorne. The man puts in the work it takes to reach as broad of an audience as he can, and it shows at his concerts as the crowd is noticeably diverse.

You might think such Latin-forward music would be all but a niche, but far from it. One group of SMU students standing in a row, singing along to every lyric, were happy to answer Friday when Pitbull did his customary roll call and yelled, “Where my white people at?”
They were of course drowned out during the call for, “Where my Latinos?” which made the Seattle Seahawks' 12th Man sound mild. The energy reached a crescendo when, after calling for El Salvadorians, Cubanos, Colombians, Venezuelans and Boricuas (he has a long list of demographics to shout out), Pitbull exclaimed, “Where mi Mexicanossss?” The response was downright deafening.

“Latin is the new majority, ya tú sabe/Next step la Casablanca,” goes one of Pitbull's lyrics. It might sound like empty posturing to some, but the thousands in attendance on Friday, and the millions who show up to see him perform each year, are pretty sure he's dead right.

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