It seems fairly obvious that Danny Salas would be a Pitbull fan.
“I’m always gonna dig a song with a good beat and a cool hook,” says Salas, assistant program director and afternoon DJ at Q97.1.
“That’s what Pitbull creates,” he says.
Salas also appreciates any artist who can make club girls go “Wooo!”
The Grammy-winning Latin rapper kicks off his Bad Man summer tour on Wednesday, July 6, at the Save Mart Center with a show that is sure to draw fans from across demographics.
Pitbull is a rare breed.
He’s a Latin hip-hop artist with pop-star credentials and household-name recognition.
Pitbull made a name for himself in the crunk craze of the mid-2000s as a guest rapper on tracks from Lil Jon, Ying Yang Twins and Twista. He parlayed that notoriety into a successful career as a solo artist. The guy has a pair of Grammy awards and a half-dozen singles that were top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. More to the point, his collaborations with Jennifer Lopez, Usher, Gloria Estefan, Austin Mahoe and Ke$ha (on the 2013 can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head hit “Timber”) established a blueprint for having hip-hop artists featured on a pop song, Salas says.
Or, even a country song, as Pitbull proved earlier this month when he appeared on the CMT Music Awards with country singer Cassadee Pope. The pair performed the single “Messin’ Around,” the original version of which is featured on Pitbull’s upcoming album and has another Latin icon, Enrique Iglesias, on guest vocals.
“For the most part, his music is safe enough for kids (excluding a few explicit ‘booty’ songs), dirty enough for college crowds, uptempo enough for the clubs, and familiar enough for parents and grandparents. But overall, it’s just fun music,” Salas says.
That formula has made Pitbull a global Latin icon – he’s known as Mr. Worldwide and Mr. International. But Salas doesn’t see the Cuban-American rapper as a crossover artist in the same way as someone like Iglesias.
Iglesias evolved from a Latin rock-ballad artist who occasionally did pop songs. Pitbull was a hip-hop/pop artist from the beginning.
“He’s a star who just happens to be Latino,” Salas says. “If anything, it’s the Latin audience that has crossed over to hip-hop because of Pitbull.”
Of course, fans in the central San Joaquin Valley have supported Pitbull since 2008 at least. That year, the rapper headlined the Que Onda car show at Tachi Palace. He returned in 2009.
“The 559 has always shown him love,” Salas says.
The station has been swamped with calls since the show was announced in May and the station started giving away tickets. Salas has seen a sudden increase in Facebook/Twitter/Instagram messages from people he hasn’t talked to in years.
“Pitbull is definitely a core artist for Central Cali,” he says.
If you’re a hardcore Pitbull fan, or just a casual fan, the one universal truth is that it’s always fun to sing along and say ‘Dale!’ …whether you know what it means or not.
Danny Salas, Q97.1
The show’s opener, Prince Royce, may be less well-known to local audiences, although this is his second show at the Save Mart Center as an opening act. The Latin pop singer opened for Ariana Grande on her Honeymoon tour in August.
“As far as mainstream English radio, Prince Royce is still young in the game. But he’s a super-talented guy with a loyal fan base, especially in the Valley. He could be one of the next breakout crossover stars,” Salas says.
The singer has already earned massive critical acclaim. He was one of the youngest artists to win the Latin Billboard award for composer of the year and has sold out gigs at places like Radio City Music Hall, The Nokia Theater and the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Royce released his first English-language album in 2014. It featured the electro-pop/R&B track “Stuck on a Feeling” with Snoop Dogg, and the dance hall-inspired “Back It Up” with Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull. His single “Culpa Al Corazón” was No. 1 on Billboard’s Latin Songs, Latin Pop and Tropical charts.
- With Prince Royce and Farruko
- 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 6
- Save Mart Center
- 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com