Rapper Pitbull Gets Key To Miami

Rapper Pitbull attends the Blender Magazine & Glaceau Vitamin Water post VMA party at Tao August 31, 2006 in New York City.
Getty Images/Bryan Bedder
Rapper Pitbull, whose chart-climbing songs have made him a bilingual favorite, was honored Wednesday with the key to Miami _ an accomplishment he said officially cemented his title as "Mr. 305."

"I can't help but keep staring at it, because it's something I've worked so hard for," Pitbull said, looking down at the gold key. "I'm very passionate about Miami."

The Cuban-American performer and Miami native, whose real name is Armando Christian Perez, was presented with the key by Miami Commissioner Thomas Regalado during the morning ceremony.

"Pitbull not only lives in Miami, but he's been traveling the country and the world sharing a positive message of Miami," Regalado announced. "So, we should honor not only the dignitaries that visit, but those individuals who make a positive impact on the city."

While growing up in urban Miami, hitting the streets to make money was the norm for Pitbull. But he said he educated himself throughout the process.

"Miami has built my character, and it has taught me a lot about life and helped me in my career," he said, wearing a three-piece gray suit.

Pitbull burst this year onto the mainstream scene with his single, "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)," which topped charts worldwide and reached No. 2 on the American Billboard Hot 100.

Pitbull's material often references his roots _ from album titles about Cuba like "The Boatlift" to frequent use of the nickname "Mr. 305," referring to Miami's area code.

His single, "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)," topped charts worldwide and reached No. 2 on the American Billboard Hot 100.

Pitbull's fourth album, called "Rebelution," which features "Krazy", "Calle Ocho" and another hit single, "Hotel Room Service," is set to debut on Aug. 31.

"The new album has an international, global feel to it, but it's actually a tour of Miami through my mind, Pitbull said. "I'll take you through the streets of Miami, from southwest to northwest and all the way to the beach."