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Akon – Mysterious and Beautiful

Akon – Mysterious and Beautiful

Akon, real name Aliune Thame, has risen to prominence with his own records and his many collaborations with other artists. His hip hop tunes are blended with the West African music of his heritage to create something unique and different from the rest of the current rap industry. He’s the only solo artist to hold the number one and number two spots on the Billboard Top 100 list simultaneously.

Akon was born in St. Louis in either 1977 or 1973. After his birth, his parents returned to Senegal in Western Africa. He spent most of his childhood split between Africa and New Jersey, eventually settling in New Jersey in his mid teens. His experience of growing up between cultures has influenced his musical style and helped him make his big break in 2004.

He recorded his first song at the age of 15 and started distributing demos in 2004. His LP “Trouble” was released by Universal records in 2004. The record showcased his unique blend of East Coast and Southern hip hop with tribal beats. The singles “Locked Up”, “Lonely” and “Ghetto” were all made hits due to their constant rotation on hip hop stations around the country due to Akon video. The album eventually reached the top 10 in the U.S.

His second album, called “Konvicted”, was released in late 2006. Akon collaborated with Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Styles P on the record. The song “Smack That” rose to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there for five weeks and the Akon video featured Eminem. “I Wanna Love You” was the second single and it reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 list. The other Akon songs from the album were “Don’t Matter” and “Sorry Blame it One Me.”

2006 through 2008 were full of collaborations for Akon. He performed on and produced the hit “The Sweet Escape” with Gwen Stefani. He created “Mixtape Messiah 2” with Chamillionaire. He has also worked with Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, the Three 6 Mafia, Fabolous, Daddy Yankee, Menudo, Kat Deluna and even Michael Jackson. In total, he has done over 155 guest appearances on songs.

In addition to his many musical collaborations, Akon has started two record labels called Konvict Music and Kon Line Distribution. He launched a clothing line called Konvict Clothing in 2007 that includes blazers, jeans and other accessories for both men and women. He has a reality show with his nearly identical brothers in the works. Akon pictures show that his brothers, although not triplets, look almost identical to the rapper. The reality show will involve his brothers trying to get free tickets, meals and attention from women by pretending to be Akon.

Akon is also working his way into television and movies. He guest starred on CSI, Big Brother Celebrity Edition and WWE Raw. He is working on a feature length movie entitled Illegal Alien, which is based on parts of his life. Mekhi Pheifer is set to play the rap star.

“Freedom”, Akon’s third album, was released in December of 2008 with three scheduled singles. In addition to his solo album, Akon will also be producing a record for Pussy Cat doll Nicole Scherzinger, working on an album with rapper Flo Rida and collaborating with Nelly, Pharrell and T-Pain to form a rap super group in 2009.