|Full Name||Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Bongo Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam|
|Birthday||April 16, 1973|
|Birth Place||St. Louis, Missouri, United States|
|Occupation||Singer, Rapper, Songwriter, Record Producer, Entrepreneur|
|Net Worth||$80 million|
Akon is a Senegalese-American singer, rapper, songwriter, record producer, and entrepreneur who rose to fame in 2004 with his smash hit single “Locked Up.” With his smooth R&B vocals, hip hop flair, and knack for crafting catchy melodies, Akon became one of the most prominent voices in music during the 2000s. Beyond his own hitmaking abilities, he expanded his reach by founding Konvict Muzik record label and collaborating with top artists. Akon has also pursued visionary projects like providing solar power to African villages and building a futuristic city in Senegal. With over 35 million records sold and a trailblazing impact, Akon has cemented himself as a versatile musical icon.
Early Life in Senegal and America
Born in St. Louis, Missouri on April 16, 1973, Akon spent much of his early childhood in Senegal before returning to the United States at age 7. His father Mor Thiam was a renowned jazz and traditional African drummer, heavily influencing Akon’s musical upbringing. As a Muslim child growing up in New Jersey, Akon had a complex cultural identity that later provided inspiration for his artistry.
Akon discovered his talents for rapping, singing, and producing music as a teenager. In the 1990s, he co-founded a hip hop group called Almighty RSO that enjoyed some regional success. But Akon went solo in the late 1990s before being signed to Universal imprint SRC Records.
Meteoric Rise with Trouble and Konvicted
Akon’s solo career launched into the stratosphere in 2004 and 2005 with the release of his debut album Trouble. Propelled by the infectious lead single “Locked Up,” Akon’s soulful vocals and slick production took over airwaves. “Lonely” and “Belly Dancer” kept the hits coming, and Trouble eventually went platinum.
After providing popular guest vocals on tracks like The Pussycat Dolls’ “Beep,” Akon unleashed his 2006 sophomore album Konvicted. Powered by smash singles like “Smack That,” “I Wanna Love You,” and “Don’t Matter,” it expanded Akon’s reach and collected three Grammy nominations. He was now a bankable star and dominating force in R&B and hip hop.
Sustained Success and Konvict Muzik Ventures
Akon continued churning out popular singles between Konvicted and his 2008 album Freedom. As lead artist, songs like “Right Now (Na Na Na)” and “Sorry, Blame It on Me” performed well. As featured artist, he contributed to projects from Eminem, Gwen Stefani, Michael Jackson, and many more. Akon also expanded his entrepreneurial vision in 2005 by founding Konvict Muzik record label and signing rising stars like T-Pain and Lady Gaga.
Freedom arrived in 2008 propelled by the infectious “Right Now (Na Na Na)” and snagged five Grammy nominations. Around this time, Konvict Muzik also released successful albums from T-Pain and Young Cash as Akon‘s business savvy shone.
Focus on Philanthropy and African Projects
After a somewhat quiet period musically in the early 2010s, Akon grabbed headlines for his philanthropic work launching Akon Lighting Africa in 2014. The project brought solar power solutions to African countries, displaying Akon‘s desire to give back. In 2018, he also announced plans for building a futuristic, high-tech city named Akon City in Senegal.
On the music front, Akon continued occasional guest features and singles, collaborating artists like Chris Brown and producer David Guetta. He also launched his own cryptocurrency called Akoin in 2018 designed to boost economic opportunity in Africa.
The Keys to Akon‘s Lasting Legacy
With his slick R&B vocals, hip hop swagger, and knack for melodic hooks, Akon became a pillar of the 2000s musical landscape. From "Locked Up" to "Right Now (Na Na Na)," his hits have endured for generations. Beyond the charts, Akon displayed business and philanthropic vision through Konvict Music, Akon Lighting Africa, and Akon City. Thanks to his musical brilliance, trendsetting work, and innovative mindset, Akon‘s legacy shines bright.
His Unique Musical Fusion
Blending infectious pop melodies with smooth R&B vocals, hip hop production, and reggae influences, Akon created a distinctive sound that appealed to massive audiences.
Star Power Collaborations
Akon worked with icons like Michael Jackson, Gwen Stefani, and Whitney Houston along with contemporary stars like Eminem, Chris Brown, and David Guetta.
From founding Konvict Muzik to launching Akon Lighting Africa and Akon City, Akon pursued innovative projects outside music.
5 Reasons I Love Akon
- Captivating voice: Akon possesses a distinctive, velvety vocal tone perfect for R&B.
- Production pioneer: His beats seamlessly fused hip hop, pop, and world music.
- Hitmaking brilliance: Akon crafted some of the 2000s‘ most infectious songs.
- Collaborative spirit: He worked with everyone from Gwen Stefani to Michael Jackson.
- Visionary projects: Akon Lighting Africa and Akon City displayed his original, future-minded thinking.
Fun Akon Facts
- Akon is fluent in several languages including English, Wolof, and French.
- He first rose to fame after friend DJ Whoo Kid included his song "Locked Up" on a mixtape.
- Akon owns diamond mines in South Africa.
- His 2006 song “Smack That” earned him his first #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
- Akon co-wrote the Lady Gaga hit “Just Dance" before she was famous.
- He has his own vodka line called Konvict Vodka.
- Akon sang on two tracks from Michael Jackson‘s posthumous album Xscape.
The Bottom Line on Akon
With his unparalleled musical fusion, chart-topping hits, and visionary projects, Akon stands out as an icon of 2000s music and an inspirational innovator. For his silky vocals, production brilliance, and forward-thinking ventures, Akon has more than earned his place in the pop culture pantheon.