Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara
Akon Thiam, often going by the shorter Aliaune Thiam (born
14 October 1981 in St. Louis, Missouri; raised in Dakar,
Senegal), and better known by stage name Akon, is a Grammy
Award-nominated Senegalese hip-hop and R&B singer,
songwriter, record producer, and record executive. He is the
founder of both Konvict Muzik and Kon Live Distribution.
Other sources have his name as Alioune Badara Thiam.
Akon is the son of jazz percussionist Mor Thiam. He grew up
in Senegal until he was seven, split time between Senegal
and the U.S. until he was fifteen, then his family
permantently moved to Jersey City, New Jersey and as such he
speaks English, French, and Wolof. In Jersey City he
attended Snyder High School, where he
discovered hip hop music. His first song was entitled
"Operations of Nature," which he recorded at age 15.
However, he was jailed for armed robbery and drug
distribution charges, and used his time in prison to work on
his music. Upon release, Akon began writing and recording
tracks in his home studio. The tapes found their way to SRC/Universal,
which released Akon's debut LP Trouble in June 2004. The
album is a hybrid of Akon's silky, West African-styled
vocals mixed with East Coast and Southern beats.
Akon's solo debut album, Trouble was released on June
29, 2004. It spawned the hit singles "Locked Up" and
"Lonely," as well as "Belly Dancer (Bananza)," "Pot Of
Gold," and "Ghetto." "Locked Up" reached the top 10 in the
U.S. and the top five in the UK, and was written after Akon
served time in jail for grand theft auto. His manager Robert
Montanez was shot to death following a dispute in New Jersey
in December 2005. "Ghetto" became a radio hit when it was
remixed to include verses from legendary rappers 2Pac and
The Notorious B.I.G. In 2005, he released the single
"Lonely" (which samples Bobby Vinton's "Mr. Lonely"). The
song reached the top five on the Billboard Hot 100, and
topped the charts in Australia, the UK and Germany. His
album also climbed to number one in the UK in April, 2005.
When music channel The Box had a top ten weekly chart, which
was calculated by the amount of video requests, Akon's
"Lonely" became the longest running single on the top of the
chart, spanning over 15 weeks. In 2005, Akon gained more
popularity after being featured on Young Jeezy's debut
album, Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101, on the song "Soul
Survivor" which became a top five hit on the Billboard Hot
100. Akon served a three-year jail sentence for grand theft
auto, an experience that inspired his Locked Up.
Akon's sophomore album, entitled Konvicted, was released
on November 14, 2006. Konvicted included collaborations with
Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Styles P. Late August 2006, Akon
released the single "Smack That" featuring Eminem, from the
album. This single peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot
100 and remained there for five weeks. The music video for
"Smack That" was directed by Raymond Garced. "I Wanna Love
You", the second single off Konvicted, was released in
September 2006. It is a collaboration between Akon and Snoop
Dogg. This single earned Akon his first number-one single on
the Billboard Hot 100, and Snoop's second. "I Wanna Love
You" topped the U.S. charts for two consecutive weeks. In
January 2007, Akon released his third single "Don't Matter"
which so far has reached five on the Billboard Hot 100
chart. Konvicted debuted at number two on the Billboard 200,
selling 285,000 copies in its first week. After only six
weeks, Konvicted sold more than one million records in the
U.S. and more than 1.3 million worldwide. Konvicted has
continued to stay in the top twenty of the Billboard 200
after 14 weeks, and it peaked on three consecutive weeks,
not including its debut. Currently it has sold more than 1.5
million records in the U.S. and 2.2 million worldwide.
On the week of October 5, Akon broke a record on the Hot
100, as he achieved the largest climb in the chart's
48-year-history with "Smack That" jumping from number 95 to
number seven. The song's monstrous leap is fueled by its
number six debut on Hot Digital Songs with 67,000 downloads
In 2006, Akon started his new record label Kon Live
Distribution under Interscope Records. The first artist to
sign was Chilli from TLC. Her debut solo album Point of View
will be released under Kon Live. Earl Ray has also been
signed to the label.
In December 2006, Akon's "Smack That" was nominated for Best
Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards.
He was featured on Gwen Stefani's latest album, The Sweet
Escape. He made an appearance on the title track and second
single, "The Sweet Escape". The song was produced by him. On
December 10, 2006 both Akon and Stefani appeared as musical
guests on Saturday Night Live, however they did not perform
the song as Stefani had not yet learned the lyrics. "The
Sweet Escape" has reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Akon collaborated with Chamillionaire on his latest mixtape
entitled, Mixtape Messiah 2. He is featured on "Ridin'
Overseas", which Akon also produced. The mixtape became
available for download on Chamillionaire's website as of
December 24, 2006.
There is a strong rumor going around that a collaborative
album between Akon and Young Jeezy is in the works. It may
be released later this year or possibly next year. After
their 2005 Akon-produced single, "Soul Survivor", the duo
says that there is a lot more to expect from them in the
future. Jeezy has stated that the album will be somewhat
similar to Jay-Z and R. Kelly's The Best of Both Worlds or
Unfinished Business collaborative albums.
Akon is set to embark on a world tour in 2007. Starting in
Africa, he'll swing through Europe and then segue to the
United States. There is no word yet on supporting acts, but
Akon told Billboard.com, "We'll probably get the hottest act
in whatever region we're in." When asked about strong rumors
that he'll be collaborating with Michael Jackson, Akon just
laughed, saying only, "Right now that's in the air. I can't
talk about it." He offers up the same laugh and vague
response when queried about working on Elton John's next
album. Akon was also effusive about another upcoming
collaboration: Whitney Houston. "I'm working on more uptempo
records for her," he says. "She's been through a lot and has
a dark history. So we've got to make the album brighter
because she's come out of the cave now. She wants a
celebration. She needs to come back to the old Whitney we
Akon is rumored to make an appearance on Papoose's major
label debut album, The Nacirema Dream. Currently the track,
"Go to War (Ghetto Soldier)" on which Akon is featured, is
tentative. The Nacirema Dream is slated to be released March
Akon is scheduled to appear on Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's
upcoming album Strength and Loyalty. He will be featured on
the album's lead single entitled "I Tried", which will be
released in February, 2007. He is also rumoured to be
featured on the second single as well, which is "Never
Forget Me". The album will be released on April 17, 2007.
Not for Sale, Kardinal Offishall's fourth solo album, and
his first as a member of Konvict Muzik, is scheduled for
release in early 2007. The Toronto-based rapper's album will
feature established artists such as Lil' Wayne, De La Soul,
Clipse, Rihanna and Stat Quo. It is confirmed that Akon will
be the executive producer of the album.
Three 6 Mafia's eight studio album, Da Last 2 Walk is
expected to feature guest appearances by Akon in addition to
appearances from T.I., Paul Wall, Lil' Scrappy, Young Buck
and more. It will be released Spring 2007.
T.I.'s 5th album, T.I. vs. T.I.P., is scheduled for release
in the summer of 2007. It will boast production from high
profile producers such as Dr. Dre, Eminem, Lil Jon, Just
Blaze, Timbaland, as well as Akon. Akon is also expected to
make a guest appearance on the album.
We The Best is the upcoming sophomore album from DJ Khaled,
scheduled for release in the summer of 2007. The lead
single, "We Takin' Over" will feature T.I., Rick Ross, Fat
Joe, Lil Wayne and Birdman as well as Akon.
Akon is rumoured to be featured on Juvenile's upcoming
album, entitled Diary of a Soulja. "The Verdict" and "I'm So
Fly" are two tracks that Akon is featured on and may make
the album. The album is schelduled to be released during the
third quarter of 2007.
Epiphany, the sophomore album by T-Pain will be executively
produced by Akon. The album is expected to be released
Upcoming Aftermath rapper, G.A.G.E. will release his debut
solo album, The Soundtrack To My Life sometime in 2007 and
is expected to feature production from Dr. Dre, Scott Storch,
Cool & Dre and others. The album can expect to have
appearances from Akon, Busta Rhymes, The Game, Snoop Dogg,
Rick Ross, T.I., and many more.
Akon is also planning to work on a full-length movie about
his life. The title has been confirmed as Illegal Alien, and
the release date is unknown at the time. As far as other
television ventures go, he is featured on a Verizon Wireless
In February 2007, Akon's clothing line, Konvict
Clothing, will launch. It features urban streetwear
including denim jeans, hoodies, t-shirts and hats.
"Aliaune" is the upscale version, or high-end line, of
Konvict Clothing and it will be servicing males and females
with blazers, expensive denim jeans and as well as other
items of clothing.
He was born in St. Louis, Missouri instead of Senegal
because his family didn't want to have to go through
immigration problems and so he and his siblings could get a
better education. He has been in jail for a total of five
years. In late 2005, his manager Robert Montanez was killed
in a drive by shooting, the album Konvicted is dedicated to
him. Akon was also in the car and was shot in the shoulder,
however he made a full recovery. He is a Muslim, and cites
his religion for his polygamist lifestyle; he has three
wives. He drives an orange Lamborghini Gallardo. He also has
his own charity for underpriviliged children in Africa
called United For Africa. Akon also owns a
diamond mine in South Africa and denies the existence of
conflict diamonds, noting in an interview with the British
Independent, "I don't even believe in conflict
diamonds...That's just a movie. Think about it. Ain't nobody
thought about nothing about no conflict diamonds until the
movie came out." Although he had a previous occupation
as a drug dealer, he states that he has never used drugs. He
also states that in spite of his previous criminal history
he has turned his life around, as sung in "Tired Of Runnin"
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