A perfect album to look back on now that songs charting in the Top 100 are actually starting to sound different than the last. The ridiculously radio friendly production make every year that passes help Akon’s older work sound that much better. I’m not sure that it’s the fact that he’s made music that could hold its own in today’s market, but rather, it is as if he created music that will simply always have its own Akon-related appeal. It’s typically club music; but lyrically it’s aimed at entertaining thugs and convicts, all the more making them dance to it and not have the slightest bit of regret while doing it.
Konvicted is Akon’s own stamp of approval on himself, realising much like Fetty Wap recently did; he’s got what the world wants to hear. Just like no one can assign a term to Fetty Wap’s intoxicating appeal in 2016, no one could do it to Akon in the 2000’s, but it was definitely there. It can be made no more apparent than on the club anthem tracks like ‘Smack That’ and ‘I Wanna Love You’. The formula is strong with Akon; a catchy hook attached on either side of a verse about some sort of struggle endured or a lady sought after.
There are instances of deep personal insight on ‘The Rain’ and ‘Once In A While’, where we hear more from Akon than we’ve come to expect. A better range of vocals and much more reflective lyrics from our once locked up singer. Pianos pull away from the more harsh percussive elements of the rest of the work and Akon lets us know that he’s a changed man and he looks at the world differently now. In the same way the album moves forward, Akon moves from chasing money and respect to chasing love, ending fittingly on undoubtedly the most important love song of 2006 (in my very biased opinion), ‘Don’t Matter’. Each song sounds pretty great in its own right, but cohesively, not as much. We have four fifths of the album discussing Akon’s love of being a gangster and how he misses much of it, then we have his near condemnation of that life and the pain it has caused. It can be a bit jarring when put side by side, but when peeled apart, no track is outright bad.
All the features come within the first four tracks which can make the remaining two thirds of the tracklist seem daunting. Here though, is where Akon expresses his worth in the R&B community showing that he is capable of moving his own album to within arm’s reach of the number one best selling project of the entire year. He carries a single concept further than most artists can carry a handful, thanks in full to his unique authentic African vocal flavor and some simple choruses. Sure, he may have followed a formulaic process but he managed to keep it all his own. I don’t see any other artists making any of these twelve productions sound better than what Akon did with them. Really, Konvicted is Akon using all of his strengths to damn near their limits. His analogous descriptions of survival in the streets laid over some of the most rhythmic and infectious productions of last decade.