Akon debuted mid-2004 with his hit single "Locked Up" and followed it up with its far more successful remix which featured Yonkers native Styles P. The momentum that Akon built with this pair of singles was then met with Trouble, his debut LP, later that year. It went by relatively unnoticed by me but, judging by the numbers it did, the rest of the buying public seemed to really be feeling Akon and everything he stood for.
Three years and two albums later, I’ve finally bought into the hype. Akon should not be classified as your typical R&B act. He does happen to sing and it does happen to be rhythmic, but that’s where the similarities end. More akin to Hip-Hop than R&B (or perhaps a slick mixture of the two, much like T-Pain), Akon’s music has been openly criticized for two reasons. The first being that he relies relentlessly on the same gimmicks time and time again with little deviation from his apparent formula, and the other criticism being that he performs harder-edged R&B (i.e. gangsta R&B) while still maintaining a Pop edge. Not the most talented artist I’ve ever come across, but surprisingly refreshing, Akon’s shortcomings are exactly what make him so appealing.
The most enjoyable moments on this album come in the form of the more female-friendly material. Akon’s image (or façade, if you will) is the thuggish lover and he plays that to the hilt throughout the course of Konvicted. The somber "Never Took the Time" is a song that explains his situation with an ex lover, how she never truly appreciated him, but how he is growing lonelier without her as each day passes. It’s a truly touching song and Akon’s songwriting shines through brilliantly.
"I Can’t Wait" is yet another song directed towards the female gender. More upbeat than the others on the album, it’s also more romantic and, as a result, amorous. Konvicted’s closer, and my personal favorite track on the album, is the infinitely catchy "Don’t Matter." Although not the most deftly written or sung song on the album, it contains some of the most revealing lyrics and, not to mention, one of the most appealing hooks on the record.