I’m pretty nuts when it comes to my love for old Pop music that’s catchy as hell and well produced that I used to listen to as a kid. Funny thing is, who isn’t! The dirty little secret behind Pop musics popularity is that it can honestly be hard not to like sometimes. Some could attribute this to the fact that more money goes into these mainly mainstream projects, resulting in perks such as: better engineering, larger budgets for features, better songwriting (or better yet an entire pool of songwriters to choose from), and/or maybe it’s the jingle like nature of Pop musics song structures which feature frequent chorus’s that get engrained in your pyschee to the point that you still know every word 10 years since you’ve even heard the song last. In this vain I’ve found one person who personally has always found his way back into my iPod via old hard drives and Icloud from previous iTunes libraries. His name? Akon.
On his own release Akon (along with Eminem) made “Smack That“, which is pretty much to strip clubs what “Illmatic” is to Hip-Hop lovers. But listening to old tracks of other artists I realized something, Akon was on so many damn hits! Other peoples hits! And it was almost always a hit because of his show stealing hooks. I had the pleasure to go deep into my own archives, memories, & Youtube account to research this list and give you 10 of Konvict Musik’s CEO’s greatest features:
10. Kardinal Offishall – Dangerous
Does anyone know or care what Kardinal Offishal is saying in this song? Probably not because Akon lays the bridge, breakdown, and hook that made this track a banger in the clubs, the perfect type of hook to be weaved into a Djs set and give everyone an excuse to start making eye contact in that sly way you only do when songs like this are playing in the right sexually charged setting. Fun fact, Kardinal was a prolific underground Canadian rapper for years before making this joint and attempting an American crossover; “Dangerous” topped the Billboard Pop charts, but afterwards without Akon’s presence the american people just weren’t really ready for a Canadian emcee in the mainstream. Oh how things change.
9. Nelly & Ashanti – Body On Me
When I randomly found this track on my iPod, I was instantly struck by the quality of production and how Ashanti’s backing melodies made the feel/intimacy of the song. BUT, as you listen on you really start nodding your head to Akons chorus which is perfectly bouncy in it’s rhythm paired with his usual beautiful voice that keeps the track upbeat and groovy.
8. T-Pain – Bartender
The only reason this track is so low on the list is because you have to give it to T-Pain, even without Akon this would be hot, but Akon absolutely helped the song avoid becoming stale, which is pretty common in Pop music by the third verse. That is not the case with this mid 2000s classic.
7. Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg – Kush
Initially I was pretty sad that this was supposed to prep us for what we thought was going to be Detox when in actuality it was really just a dumb Dre Beats promo. Hey, on the bright side looking back though Snoop Dogg says: “tighter than the pants on Will.I.Am” and Akon gets Jamican talking about “that bom bom biggy”. Entertaining Stuff.
6. Obie Trice – Snitch
Looking back Obie Trice couldn’t replicate the success he had on his debut album “Cheers” Which went platinum in 2003. This was because his sophomore full length project “Second Rounds On Me” featured weaker beat selection, less singles and lack of promotion from Shady Records. The reason it even sold 70,000 its first week was on the back of this strong single that Akon absolutely SLAYS. A rather unspectacular beat instantly turns into a crime thriller whenever Akon jumps back in.
5. DJ Felli Fel – Get Buck In Here
This song features one of my personal favorite Diddy verse’s ever, peak Ludacris, and Lil Jons’ ridiculous Crunk call and command energy that never disappoints. Upstaging everyone though is the man, the myth, the legend himself screaming “Don’t make me get buck in here!” with such force you just want to grab bottles of Ciroc and find the nearest fat ass and grind your mind out. Like so many other tracks he really helps stabilize the songs uptempo-ness in-between slower rapped verses that just can’t possibly match Akons intensity.
4. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – I Tried
When Akon gets emotional you really get the best of his range, his life story is honestly pretty compelling so he seem’s to have a fairly easy time channeling real feeling in his music as one can tell by listening to his solo albums; especially his debut “Trouble” which speaks on global poverty and oppression both on a micro and macro level throughout (Plus “Lonely” and numerous other songs about heartbreak). This song also put me on to Bonethugs-N-Harmony since I didn’t grow up in the 90’s, collaborations are always so great as they introduce us fans to more quality music, how could people ever hate collaboration, coexist dude.
3. Gwen Stefani – The Sweet Escape
This song was everywhere when I was younger, like you just couldn’t escape it unless you just refused to inhabit society, which was pretty hard considering I had school and everything. Akon provides the “WOOHOO-YEEHOO” and the “I wanna get away”, which don’t seem like much at first but then you realize:
What part of the song do you usually find yourself getting caught in your head?
2. Wyclef Jean & Lil Wayne – Sweetest Girl
“See I’mma tell you like Wu told me
Cash rules everything around me”
When I was 11 Lil Wayne and Akon were pretty much the Alpha and the Omega to me, so when I heard this song I flipped a shit. Akon’s songwriting ability is definetly noticeable here as he easily provides the catchiest part as well as a heartfelt verse that makes this track really feel authentic and personal. It was for all intents and purposes, the greatest rapper/singer crossover track ever in my small, small world.
1. DJ Khaled – We Takin’ Over
Akon managed to be the anchor of a track where like every Rapper who meant anything in the mainstream in 2007 delivered at least a respectable verse. I never quite liked how this enabled DJ Khaled and his career but whatever, let dude hustle, if he brings together casts like this, i’ll let him direct a few shitty movies on the side too.
“If you want to, we can supply you.
Got enough work, to feed the whole town!”