Akon’s alleged three years in jail saw him begin to recognise his music abilities and develop an appreciation for his musical background. Music mogul Devyne Stephens, president of Upfront Megatainment first heard about Akon when the rapper Lil’ Zane brought him along to Stephens’ rehearsal hall, a place that at the time saw talents such as Usher and TLC being developed.
Akon’s solo debut album, Trouble was released on June 29, 2004. It spawned the singles “Locked Up” and “Lonely”, “Belly Dancer (Bananza)”, “Pot Of Gold”, and “Ghetto.” The album was the first release of his new record label Konvict Music. “Locked Up” reached the top 10 in the U.S. and the top five in the UK. “Ghetto” became a radio hit when it was remixed by DJ Green Lantern to include verses from 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. He made his first critically acclaimed guest appearance on Young Jeezy’s debut album, Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101, with the song “Soul Survivor.”
Akon’s second album, Konvicted was released on November 14, 2006. It included collaborations with Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Styles P. The first single “Smack That” featuring Eminem was released in August 2006 and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 for five consecutive weeks. “I Wanna Love You,” (featuring Snoop Dogg) was the second single released in September, it would go on to earn 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, a third single “Don’t Matter” which earned him his first solo number one and second consecutive Hot 100 chart topper was released. “Mama Africa” was released as a European single in July 2007, making it the fourth overall single from the album reaching just 47 in the UK.
To coincide with the release of the Platinum (deluxe) edition of the album “Sorry, Blame It on Me” was the album’s fifth single, debuted in August 2007 on the Hot 100 at number seven. The deluxe version was fully released on August 28, 2007. The final single was confirmed by Akon to be “Never Took the Time.” Konvicted debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, selling 286,000 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. The album was certified platinum after seven weeks, and after sixteen weeks it was certified double platinum. It stayed in the top twenty of the Billboard 200 for 28 consecutive weeks and peaked at number two on four different occasions. On November 20, 2007, the RIAA certified the album ‘triple platinum’ with 3 million units sold in the US. It has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide.
Akon released his new album Freedom on December 2, which spawned four singles: “Right Now (Na Na Na)”, “I’m So Paid” (featuring Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy), “Beautiful” (featuring Kardinal Offishall and Colby O’Donis) and “We Don’t Care”, We Don’t Care has failed to chart significantly in many countries, only reaching 61 in the UK and 91 in Australia so far. After the unexpected death of The King Of Pop Michael Jackson, who Akon was working with in Jackson’s last years, Akon released a tribute song called “Cry Out Of Joy”. Akon & Michael Jackson were close friends near the end of Jackson’s life.
David Guetta collaborated with Akon in Sexy Bitch, a first house track by Akon, and has been a “summer anthem” across the globe. Reaching #1 in more than 6 countries, and charting at 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 , it is featured on Guetta’s One Love album. Which has made it his 19th Top 20 hit worldwide.
Akon’s fourth studio album, Stadium Music is set for a 2010 release. The first single off of Stadium Music is rumored to be “Nosy Neighbor”, which is produced by David Guetta. There’s also been another track leaked onto the internet titled “Party Animal” which is also produced by David Guetta.
In 2010, he also released a The Song for Fifa Oh Africa featuring Keri Hilson.