Pitbull and Lil Jon

Convention Center


Better than…the fitness DJ in your spin class.

Hip-hop and fitness might not seem immediately compatible, and Pitbull and Lil Jon aren't quite LL chiseled. But that didn't stop them from performing before 3000 freaking Zumba fitness buffs at the Convention Center on Friday. Just what exactly is Zumba? It's a fitness dance craze started by someone called Beto Perez. But even though I sweated along with everyone, I still can't tell you much more than that. Something about stretchy yoga pants, jumping, and some dance moves that force you to roll your hips…and get low.

Lil Jon; Credit: Seth Browarnik

Lil Jon; Credit: Seth Browarnik

First, there was a very lengthy red carpet at the JW Marriott, where Jon announced his plans to Zumba into nightclubs on a tour, with him DJing and celebrtiy Zumba fitness instructors shaking their groove thangs.

Then it was across the street for the concert slash workout session. The audience skewed mainly female, mostly in neon colored tanks and tights and ready to dance. First on stage was Lil Jon, who preformed for about 10 minutes, belting out hits “Outta Your Mind” sans LMFAO and the appropriate “Get Low.” Sadly no sightings of the Ying Yang Twins or the Eastside Boyz, but Jon's dreads and swinging chain seemed to get everyone in the spirit. He finished with a Zumba warm up son and then made his exit.

Zumba's creator Beto came on next on, accompanied by a dozen celebrity Zumba fitness instructors. They danced with a live band backing them, with the crowd mimicking their moves, grooving in sync from watching hours of Zumba DVDs at home. There was, at one point, a violinist playing, as well as several costume changes for the Zumbans, a mariachi band, and even three little children taking center stage to performing some moves.

Then it was time for Pitbull. He made it back from Kodiak, Alaska! For about an hour he sang, dance, and wore really dark sunglasses. (It's amazing he didn't break an ankle.) At one point he was dancing in step with a saxophonist, another he was jumping up and down and whirling a towel in the air like a helicopter.

The crowd: A sea of hip shaking, dance enthusiasts. Average age: 28.2. Average audience member apparel color: purple. Average income: under $30,000.

Personal bias: I do not have a degree in statistics

Random notebook dump:I spoke to Lil' Jon twice. The first was in the hotel bar.

“Does always wearing sunglasses indoors hurt your eyes?”


“Does your heavy chain hurt your neck, and if so do you do any exercises for it?”


I asked him some other questions he wasn't too excited about, and then his big bodyguard flexed, looked down at me like a well-armed hunter about to shoot a fox, so I clinked glasses with the star and took my exit.

Upstairs on the red carpet I got a chance to learn more. The bodyguards were gone, replaced by the PR. Jon says he's stayed in the game so long because he's “open minded,” and makes music he enjoys.

And these days he listens to a lot of Rihanna, 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar and Meek Mills. He talked about Rihanna a lot. Jon only drinks Don Julio 1942 or '70. Up close, his diamond crusted fronts glistened in the camera light. “How much did those cost,” I asked. “I don't know, probably a lot. I didn't pay for it,” he said.

And just so ya know: The man hates it when you ask him to say “Yeah,” or “What.” So if you see him don't ask, because when you guilt him into saying it, it's going to be very low-key.

And, last question: “Why did you get involved with Zumba?”

Because it helps women “have a good time and lose weight.”


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