If we're talking Marmite popstars, Akon is probably at the top of the pile.
Talia Kraines 2008
If we're talking Marmite popstars, Akon is probably at the top of the pile. If you can stand his slightly squawky voice then you're in luck. But if not, songs like Smack That probably have you reaching for the fast forward button. One thing's for certain, though: the absolute quality of his songwriting and production, with the 'Konvict' sound stamping hits like Darkchild did back in the 1990s.
Freedom is the 35-year-old Senegalese's third album and his most immediate, stealing dance sounds from across Europe and a vocoder auto tuner that would warm Kanye's humble little heart. Instead of focusing on his time in jail, it's much more centered on his lady loving abilities with typical lyrics like ''we're dancing together like we belong in our bedroom'' on the suggestive We Don't Care or T-Pain duet Holla Holla's slightly uncomfortable ''I know you're a sex machine and I want to do something new to you''. Despite not featuring a much-rumoured duet with Michael Jackson, Akon still manages to stack up the biggest names in hip hop as guests. Protegees Colby O'Donis and Kardinal Offishall appear on summery hit Beautiful, Wyclef pops up on the wistful Sunny Day and his most successful signing, Lil' Wayne, appears on more hip hop I'm So Paid. Creating utterly catchy hooks is Akon's forte though, so if you're not singing the silly ''I wanna make love na na na'', the call and response chorus of the sunkissed Troublemaker will be hard to resist.
If you're anti-Akon, Freedom certainly isn't going to change your mind about him despite it featuring nothing as silly as the likes of Lonely. Yet, packed full of dancefloor shakers, it's yet another suggestion that Akon is a writer and producer who knows exactly how to make a hit.