In The Ones of the ’10s, I’m reviewing every single that hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the 2010s and working my way up into the present.
Pitbull- “Give Me Everything” (feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer)
HIT #1: July 9, 2011
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
The thing you learn about pop music is that many of the artists who score hits don’t build themselves up in the traditional way that we think about artists getting famous. Some artists spend a lot of time in the music industry failing to break through at first but then manage to latch on to a popular trend and become big stars because of it. When Pitbull hit #1 with “Give Me Everything,” the first of his two #1 hits, it had been a long time coming for an artist who’d spent almost a decade in the music industry riding different styles to different amounts of success.
Born to Cuban immigrants in Miami, Armando Christian Perez grew up absorbing the music and culture of his parents and community from Cuban/Latin artists, the Miami bass rap scene that had exploded in the ‘90s and other wider hip-hop developments going on in the ‘90s and ‘00s. In the early ‘00s, Pitbull began to make his way onto the music scene in the Southern hip-hop subgenre of crunk which was gaining mainstream success around this time. After making appearances on mixtapes, Pitbull began attracting attention from record labels which eventually led to him being introduced to the king of crunk himself Lil Jon.
With the support of Lil Jon, Pitbull finally got his break landing appearances on several Lil Jon tracks that helped to raise his profile in the hip-hop community. With the growing confidence, Pitbull released his first album 2004’s M.I.A.M.I. which launched the single “Culo” a typical piece of mid-’00s crunk and reggaeton with a Lil Jon guest appearance. The single was a moderate Hot 100 hit peaking at #32. For the next few years, moderate success is how Pitbull would succeed with M.I.A.M.I. and his second album, 2006’s El Mariel going Top 20 on Billboard’s album charts but the singles started underperforming to the point of barely reaching the upper rungs of the Hot 100.
After 2007’s The Boatlift underperformed, Pitbull began switching things up. By this point, the crunk and reggaeton styles Pitbull broke out with were fading from the mainstream. In its place was a more flashy Euro club driven hip-hop sound that Pitbull’s fellow Florida based rapper Flo Rida was riding to massive success with the #1 smashes “Low” and “Right Round.” (“Low” is a 7. “Right Round” is a 2. Flo Rida will eventually appear in this column.) Soon enough, Pitbull began remaking himself from a tough mean boy from Miami to the flashy good time party rapper we all know him as now.
With 2009’s Pitbull Starring in Rebelution, the transition was complete. The album launched Pitbull’s first two Top 10 singles, “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)” and “Hotel Room Service.” (“I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)” peaked at #2. It’s a 6. “Hotel Room Service” peaked at #8. It’s a 3.) Both songs pretty much set the template for what to expect from Pitbull: mindless party jams with lots of stupid lyrical references and Pitbull rapping about women, Miami, international locations, shouting out catchphrases and random Spanish all delivered with a big ego.
Quickly, Pitbull not only became a big star but also became a popular choice for featuring credits netting two top 10 hits in 2010 with his features on Enrique Iglesias’ “I Like It” and Usher’s “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love.” (“I Like It” peaked at #4. It’s a 3. “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love also peaked at #4. It’s an 8.) In 2011, Pitbull released his newest album Passion Pit which quickly spawned a hit with its lead-off single, the T-Pain assisted “Hey Baby (Drop It To The Floor)” (“Hey Baby (Drop It To The Floor)” peaked at #7. It’s a 5.) as well as his featured performance on Jennifer Lopez’s “On The Floor.” (“On The Floor” peaked at #3. It’s also a 5.) But it was the four artist collaboration second single “Give Me Everything” that put Pitbull over the top.
“Give Me Everything” came from Afrojack who had an idea for a “very, very happy, basic, simple tune.” The song came to him while in the shower. Not wanting to forget the song he immediately went into the studio with only a towel around him to write the song and its lyrics. Talking to Billboard, Afrojack recalls getting Pitbull for the song as he was recording in Miami and immediately loved the song and recorded his parts in about four takes. It was then that Pitbull called Ne-Yo about contributing to the song to which he sent his parts in about 30 minutes.
Of the three featured artists here, only Ne-Yo had previous Hot 100 success before “Give Me Everything” dominating the late ‘00s with classy and sophisticated R&B tracks launching with the 2006 #1 “So Sick.” (It’s a 9.) By 2011 though, Ne-Yo hadn’t had a major hit in a little while with his last Top 10 hits as a solo artist, “Closer” and “Miss Independent,” peaking at #7 in 2008. (“Closer” is a 7. “Miss Independent” is an 8.) In between that gap, he did land a Top 10 hit with his feature on Keri Hilson’s #3 peaking “Knock You Down” with Kanye West in 2009. (“Knock You Down” is a 5.)
The other two featured artists, Afrojack and Nayer, hadn’t had any U.S. chart success before “Give Me Everything.” Afrojack grew up in the Netherlands and as a teenager began working as a DJ in European clubs building up lots of acclaim as one of the top DJs in Europe. Pitbull had discovered Nayer in 2009 after spending years getting shifted around in the music industry. Pitbull began featuring Nayer in his music videos including the one for “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho).”
Lyrically, “Give Me Everything” bears a resemblance to “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” in how it’s also a song about being at a club, seeing a girl, and dancing the night away with her as if the world’s gonna end the next day. This was probably influenced by the 2012 Mayan myth of the world ending in that year so now it seems dated. Ne-Yo on the chorus sings in a rather somber tone about being with this girl at the club cause as he says, “For all we know, we might not get tomorrow” while also singing the double entendre, “Give me everything tonight.” Nayer sings in the build-up not caring what will happen. Pitbull raps about enjoying the moment while also referencing Kodak, performing for a princess in Dubai, Lindsay Lohan, and Ryan Seacrest.
Lindsay Lohan sued Pitbull, Ne-Yo, and Afrojack for defamation shortly after the song’s success but lost the suit as the judge ruled that Pitbull and crew were protected by the First Amendment. That’s honestly more interesting than the song itself.
Delivery and performance-wise, there’s a big disconnect. Pitbull raps in his usual egotistical style that doesn’t convey living in the moment like the world is going to end. His mindless bragging that he’s done on his other songs just doesn’t fit here. It’s like Pitbull doesn’t care at all about what the song’s supposed to be about. He’s just breezing through the song. Ne-Yo on his part is the only performer who seems to understand how to sell the content of the song. Nayer’s vocals are so buried in the mix that it feels like she’s not even a part of the song but rather a part of the beat.
Afrojack’s production tries to split that disconnect going from fun party time to emotional apocalyptic. It’s not bad on its own fitting itself into the electropop club music dominating in the early ‘10s with its glitchy synths and piano trying its best to give the song weight. But it’s hard not to think like Pitbull of how disconnected it feels from the subject matter. A song about partying as if the world’s gonna end sounds awfully like just another night of partying.
Pitbull will eventually appear in this column again but all three featuring artists won’t. Ne-Yo would only land two more Top 10 hits, 2012’s “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)” and another Pitbull collaboration, 2015’s “Time of Our Lives.” (“Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)” peaked at #6. It’s a 6. “Time of Our Lives” peaked at #9. It’s also a 6.) Ne-Yo still puts out music but he’s also been involved with acting and appearing on TV shows.
Afrojack landed only one more Top 10 hit in America with his credit on David Guetta/Nicki Minaj/Bebe Rexha’s 2015 collaboration “Hey Mama.” (“Hey Mama” peaked at #8. It’s a 4.) Nayer would only land one more American hit, a remix of the Enrique Iglesias/Usher and Lil Wayne collaboration “Dirty Dancer” which peaked at #18 later in 2011. Since then, Nayer has continued to put out music but has been largely independent and hasn’t scraped the Hot 100 since.
BONUS BEATS: Here’s The Key of Awesome’s 2011 parody version of “Give Me Everything:”