Before anything is said, I just want to say that I really love this dude (No Homo intended), I’m a huge fan of his exceptional art and will continue to be.
Akon, whose birthday is today, is just one of those rare Africa-American artiste that you can’t just box in a corner. I mean, he graciously rides on the fine lines of pop, conscious rap and ‘hustler’s music’. And while the hustler and pop songs often makes it to mainstream radio, his songs about current events and issues affecting the community are also appealing to the ears and thought provoking.
Anyway, in celebration of his birthday, I have compiled my top 10 songs from ‘Mr Lonely’, check them out below:
1. “Don’t Matter” – 2007
Akon’s gently defiant reggae infused tale of forbidden love was his second consecutive #1 hit single. So far in his career this song marks Akon’s commercial apex. “Don’t Matter” hit the top 10 around the world.
2. “I Wanna Love You” featuring Snoop Dogg – 2006
Akon’s first #1 pop single in the US originally incorporated rapping from Plies. However, when Plies was arrested for illegal gun possession, Akon chose to use a rap by Snoop Dogg in order to avoid negative publicity. “I Wanna Love You” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
3. “Smack That” featuring Eminem – 2006
“Smack That” was Akon’s first single from his second album Konvicted. A featured rap from Eminem helped turn the song into Akon’s biggest hit yet peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Smack That” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
4. “Lonely” – 2005
Although it wasn’t released as his first single, reportedly the song “Lonely” is what caught the attention of the Universal Music label SRC Records and convinced them to sign Akon to a contract. The most notable element of the song is the use of sped up samples from Bobby Vinton’s hit single “Mr. Lonely.” It became Akon’s first major worldwide hit going to #1 in at least 10 countries around the world and peaking at #4 in the US.
5. “Sorry, Blame It On Me” – 2007
Although it had been leaked months before, Akon’s release of “Sorry, Blame It On Me” as a single seemed well timed after a series of high profile legal troubles. It quickly landed in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the song was included in the deluxe reissue of the album Konvicted.
6. “Right Now (Na Na Na) – 2008
This song was the lead single from Akon’s third album Freedom. Musically, it headed in a more distinctly club-oriented direction. “Right Now (Na Na Na)” was another top 10 hit around the world for Akon, but it failed to top the charts anywhere signaling some weakening in his commercial fortunes.
7. “Locked Up” – 2004
Akon’s first single “Locked Up” has a distinctly more street feel than his later hits. That was by design. His record label wanted to break Akon as an artist on the street first and then work back toward the mainstream. The plan was a major success. “Locked Up” reached the top 10, but the follow up pop hit “Lonely” was an even bigger hit.
8. “Beautiful” featuring Colby O’Donis and Kardinal Offishall – 2009
The slick Euro dance feel of “Beautiful” moved Akon further away from R&B and reggae beats. It features Colby O’Donis and Kardinal Offishall, two of Akon’s musical proteges. There is a Spanish language version of the song that features Dulce Maria of RBD.
9. “Belly Dancer (Bananza)” – 2005
The mesmerizing sound of “Belly Dancer (Bananza)” became the fourth single from Akon’s debut album Trouble. It reached the top 40 in the US but did even better in the UK where it was a top 5 pop hit.
10. “I’m So Paid” featuring Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy – 2008
“I’m So Paid” is particularly notable for its James Bond style music video that cost over $1 million to produce. In addition to featuring the rap collaborators Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy, the clip also includes cameos from a number of artists signed to Akon’s Konvict Muzik label.
Did I forget any of his great hits?…..if I did, feel free to add/remove anything or change up the order and explain why. #AkonFans #GreatMusicLovers