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Pitbull Is The Emperor Of Pop

I've done some research, and my findings may surprise you.

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In an article from 2010, Pitchfork columnist Tom Ewing described the idea of a pop act's "imperial phase": a time of unbridled success, when the act seems to have figured out "the secret of contemporary pop music". But with this concept comes a burning question; if pop music is an empire, then who is the emperor?

This man.

Ewing mandates three factors that must be present for an act to reach its imperial phase: command, permission, and self-definition. Throughout the course of this academic study, I will present an abundance of evidence supporting my theory that Pitbull has met and exceeded these expectations.


According to Ewing, command requires "the happy sensation of working hard and well and having the things you try resonate with your desired public". If Pitbull does not exemplify this status, then I'm not sure it can even be exemplified. With the recent release of his second EP, Meltdown, Pitbull not only worked hard and well, he balled hard and well. Look at that globe. Look at that silhouette. Look at that blue. Big things are clearly poppin'–for the whole world.

Also, his ears in that silhouette make him look like a goblin or something. Off-topic, but still baller.

I was presented with a Spanish-language commercial for Honey Bunches of Oats before I could watch the video for "Timber", Pitbull's new song with the ever-illustrious Ke$ha, and let me tell you, that ad set the mood right where I wanted it.

After being surprised that nothing in the video related at all to the profession, nay, art, of lumberjacking, my senses were hijacked by a hoedown harmonica and some seriously rollickin' guitar work. This is the kind of experimentation that artists can only hope to attempt at the absolute height of their powers. Radiohead's Kid A, Neil Young's Trans, half of David Bowie's catalogue–none of these records come close to the reinvention that's on display with "Timber".


Ewing says that permission requires "a level of public interest, excitement, and goodwill towards [one's] work" sufficient enough to offset the public's basic assumption that "pop music isn't terribly good or worthwhile". While that video should have been enough to shatter that assumption into a million pieces, some people need more. I'd like to point these discerning individuals to the combined sum of the places that Pitbull's 10 singles as a lead artist since the start of 2011 have reached on the Billboard Top 100: 253. But don't take my word for it; do the math yourself. That's quantitative evidence that Pitbull has the unconditional support of literally hundreds of people.

If you didn't already know, Pitbull recently hosted the American Music Awards. As the current pinnacle of American music, I thought it strange that he was chosen to give out awards, rather than receive them; my confusion changed to understanding when I realized that it's simply economical to have the person who will win each award already onstage to read his own name and take them from his own hands. Great thinking, ABC! That's the best decision you've made since you picked up FlashForward.

Pitbull doesn't just have the support of Americans; he's also found wide success in the faraway land of Alaska, where even the bravest fear to tread. Pitbull spits in the face of fear; in July of 2012, he travelled there to perform at the behest of Walmart and to satiate his rabid Alaskan fanbase. The arcane rituals on display in this photo prove that Pitbull is willing to face grave danger and supernatural threats just to perform for his adoring fans. I've heard that Alaskans have over 100 words that mean "snow", but I think I just came up with a new one that means "hero": Pitbull.


But a Pop Emperor must not only exhibit command and permission; he or she must also show signs of self-definition, defined as "setting the tone for the rest of [his or her] career". This can only be evaluated after the fact; as such, I will be placing a copy of this research paper in a bottle and throwing it out to sea. In twenty years, when the ocean sees fit to return my precious words to me, I will know whether or not Pitbull was The Great or The Terrible.

Will Pitbull be a despot or a benevolent dictator? An Eddard or a Joffrey? Will the people respect his rule, or will they rise up, singing songs about red and black and their own angry singing, only to be put down at the barricades with the senseless shooting of a street urchin? Only time will tell, but one thing's for sure: he knows we want him, and we know he wants us.

As a postscript, I'd like to comment on the sheer amount of dog pictures I had to sift through to locate the images for this article. People, stop posting pictures of your pitbulls online. They all look the same. Thank you.

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