Akon: Transform Your Soul, Pt 2

AHHA: We heard a rumor that you’re actually doing a movie based on your life.

Akon: Yeah I got a movie based on my life called Illegal Alien. It’s probably going to be the craziest movie that drops when it drops. If people really knew my story, they would be looking at me in a whole ‘nother way. It’s like City of God/Menace II Society/Ray all in one movie. It’s stupid, like a lot of people didn’t know that my uncle tied me to the train tracks when I was a kid and literally tried to kill me, ‘cause I wouldn’t give him no money. He’s like the town bully, he’d shake everybody up for money including me. I’m like, “I’m your nephew!” [laughs]

Yeah but it’s crazy, even my pops went through so much stuff. A lot of stuff. Then of course I lived from a whole ‘nother part of a whole ‘nother culture. Everybody knows the situations going on in Africa, we experienced a lot of stuff, so it’s a lot of good things and bad things in it. It’s just things about life in general that happens in people’s lives that you really know what dictated or created that whole person.

I think all these experiences in my past created me to be like the best man I feel like I can be at this point. I understand everything ‘cause I done went through so much. That’s why I’m so humble now.

AHHA: Yeah, definitely – I think it’s a benefit for everyone to realize that hard times often are a blessing.

Akon: All day, all day. Honestly if I had not been thinking the way I used to think, I would have thought getting locked up was a punishment, but I know me before I got locked up. Come to think of it, I’m like, “Man that was a blessing,” because a lot of people that I used to run with while I was in jail, they’re dead. I can count eight of ‘em right now that’s gone. Within them three years I was gone, I came out and half of my friends were dead. That could have been me, I look at it like that was literally a blessing. I don’t know what could have happened to me had I been outside those bars in those three years, because we was just moving way too fast and not thinking about life.

AHHA: Speaking of the movie, if you had to choose an actor to play you, who would it be?

Akon: Mekhi Phifer. I think Mekhi Phifer would do a great job playing me.

AHHA: What women would you get to surround you?

Akon: It’s a couple of women out there that I’m thinking about, only problem is I’m so bad with names I can’t remember their names, but it’s gonna be some nice girls you can believe that. [laughs] You know me, my tastes is impeccable. I’ve been around so long as a “ugly little African kid,” I can’t be around no ugly girls. They gotta be sexy.

AHHA: Your album did a lot for SRC outside of rap. What are your next plans on the label and with your own imprint?

Akon: Well, right now you know I got Upfront Konvict, me and Devyne Stevens. I used to be signed to him before I got successful then afterwards he was like, “Man you know what you’re doing, I trust you, and plus I wanna see you get bigger as an exec, so let’s just join companies and make this happen for your particular projects, so that’s what we ended up doing. We’re really doing this under SRC now as a joint venture with Universal who cleared my project Konvicted.

Then I have Konvict at Jive, where I got T-Pain whose album is dropping in 2007. That kid amazes me everytime we get into the studio. Then I got Dolla too, also on that side, but the mothership of all the labels is at Interscope which is KLG, Konlive Distribution. I just signed Chilli [from TLC] on that situation, which is gonna be like very highly anticipated because the records I got on that girl…they ain’t ready. All y’all better get ready, trust me, because Chilli’s ready. [laughs] We got Earl Ray, also the next R&B sensation, on that project. He’s from the South, [and he’s] real bold. He says what R&B’s kids sing and wanna say, he don’t beat around the bush, he’ll just flat out say it. [laughs] He don’t hide nothing. The kid is dope though, you gonna love him.

AHHA: Devyne Stevens is your cousin, right?

Akon: D is like my brother really, we’re literally really like family, but we’ve known each other for so long we consider each other family, because anybody ask me I’m like “Yeah that’s my brother.” He literally took care of me like his little brother. Every time I was locked up he would bond me out. Needed bond money he was there, needed attorney money he was there, need rent he was there. [laughs] Whatever it might have been he was there, advice and all that. He literally molded me up to be this artist, because at first I didn’t want to be an artist, I was in the street just being ignorant. He would always pull me and make me invest my money in the right places and was always towards music.

Literally half of BET the urban side of music, if you see a Black artist bustin’ - 85% of the time that’s Devyne [choreography] doing it. He’s been in the game so long, from Usher to TLC to Ginuwine to you name it. At first he wanted to put out a record, but after a while he was like, “You know what man, I’m better at developing artists and making decisions behind closed doors,” so he decided to just take that road all the way through.

AHHA: Some people consider you R&B, and other people would call you more of a Hip-Hop crossover artist. How do you define your music?

Akon: It’s Konvict music all day. [laughs] It’s whatever you want it to be, but it’s not exactly what you think it is, that’s why I named the album Konvicted because everybody had their own shell of what they thought I was, so I felt convicted in that sense. But it’s so crazy, because at the time we was putting out these records, and I’m coming out and the label was having trouble promoting and marketing it, because they couldn’t put it in one particular genre. I was like, “Man, ain’t really no genre for me, so it’s hard for them to target how to market this project, so I’m gonna have to create my own genre, it’s Konvict Music.” So now I started getting on everybody’s album, everybody’s record [sings] “Konvict Music.”

AHHA: There’s a rumor that you and Jeezy are doing an album together.

Akon: Yep, me and Jeezy putting it together now. After that successful record “Soul Survivor” we had it was like, “Yo we need to get together and do this, man. People would love to hear that’ and we could be the first R&B and Hip-Hop artists to successfully do it.

AHHA: Best of Both Worlds didn’t happen…

Akon: But it could have been.. You know how it is when you got two huge moguls, this ego is here [and] this ego is here, they will naturally clash. It’s almost like they’re in competition but they’re working towards the same cause. Whereas me and Jeezy don’t have ego either way, so I think we could definitely be the first Hip-Hop and R&B group to get together and successfully get that done. Even today I think if Best of Both Worlds really worked out that would have been this biggest selling record in music history, because that album was incredible. They just had to get together and market and promote it.

AHHA: Who are the producers and featured guests on your new album?

Akon: As far as the new album, it’s no different pretty much from the last album. I produced and wrote the whole album. I kind of switched it up just a little bit, because I feel like I’m not gonna be producing forever so I hired three new producers that I signed up under Konvict, and they did some co-production with me. I got Giorgio Tuinfoort who’s like the leading producer in Europe, he’s this little kid that’s ridiculous. He grew up in a classical family, when you put him behind a grand piano, he has piano music that’s outta here. So he did a couple records with me on the album. Benny D which is my DJ, aka Mr. Mohawk, he got his own little sound. I had him on the last album co-producing, and [with] this album he came and did some production as well.

Then I got Hakim Abdulsamad, which was the lead singer for the group formerly known as The Boys back in the day. They lived right up the street from me, that’s how we met in Africa. I was doing some shows in Africa, they was touring and we was on the same bill. It’s funny how we connected when he came and moved to Atlanta and I hooked up back with him, he had been putting some records together. I was like, “Come join with us, make some things happen” and now he’s banging out with us. Other than that everything else is done by myself.

AHHA: Do you have any guest appearances from rappers or other people on there?

Akon: Yep, of course you know I got Eminem on the album, Snoop Dogg’s on the album, and I went and pulled Styles P back on the album too. That’s my dog right there, I gotta make sure he’s a part of the success, because he helped to build it.