Pitbull Barks About Parties, Politics On October’s El Mariel

Sophomore LP showcases rapper's interest in Cuban refugees' journeys to the U.S.

NEW YORK — Pitbull is working two angles on his new projects.

The raunchy rapper is preparing the release of his sophomore LP El Mariel, as well as a steamy DVD titled “Latinas Gone Crazy” that he hopes to package with the album, which is due October 24 on TVT Records.

“A friend of mine is behind that project, I’m just doing a favor for him,” Pit coyly said a few weeks ago between breaks from Video Music Awards media activities (see “Underdog Night At The VMAs: Panic, Gnarls, Blunt, Chamillionaire Win Big” ). “That’s basically [going to be] cross-promotion for my album. It’s just me going around showing the love wherever I go.

“Plus the women are beautiful,” he added.

But the Cuba native known for sexcapade anthems like “Culo” and his latest single, “Bojangles,” featuring the Ying Yang Twins, explained that on El Mariel he’s learning to balance freaky tales with his interest in politics. Pit said he noticed his bilingual rhymes often lured listeners to seek out the meanings behind his lyrics. So the rapper ensured his latest project would feature its fair share of party tracks via the album’s executive producer Lil Jon, but he also wanted to include a number of more socially aware compositions reflecting his heritage and Cubans’ struggles in his adopted Florida home.

“When I did a record like ‘Toma’ in an all-black club in Tallahassee [Florida] and it’s the biggest record of the night when I perform it — it goes to show you people want to learn,” Pitbull said. ” ‘What does oye loca mean?’ Even though it’s something that really has no meaning to it, it shows somebody expressing themselves and fans want to learn it. And that’s what’s happening with El Mariel.

Pitbull explained his new album’s title refers to the boat that transported Cubans to Florida in the movie “Scarface.” The refugees’ trip, he said, reflects the narrative his album will follow, from the poetry-inspired intro to the hard-charging drums of “Ay Chico.”

“It’s entertaining, yet at the same time educating,” Pit said of the topics he’ll touch on and introduce on the album. “People might do their research, or they might not [after hearing it]. But either/or — it’s intriguing.”

Although the rapper also announced plans for a Spanish-language album to be released on TVT in 2007, he’s currently focused on El Mariel‘s follow-up single, which will be either the Wyclef Jean-assisted “Jungle Fever” or the reggaetón-tinged “Fuego,” featuring Latin artist Don Omar. Either track, he assured, will heat up the dance floor.

“There’s a lot of energy and [they're] very sexy,” Pit said of the two songs. “Both of them are definitely high energy. I’m taking a lot of freestyle music and flipping it.

“It’s gonna get loose.”