Artist: AkonTitle: KonvictedRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Tambra Cherie

There is an old saying our grandmothers use to say years ago, "If it's not broke, then don't fix it." Platinum-recording artist Akon must have

adopted this concept when recording his sophomore album, Konvicted (SRC/Universal Motown). With 11 songs written, arranged, and produced by

Akon himself, his new album is a collective effort of the re-invention

of the first (2004's Trouble). Konvicted is an excellent combination of precision,

execution, disposition, and aptitude.

The first song on the album, "Shake Down," produced by Giorgio Tuinfort

and Akon, is a great introduction to what can be expected from the rest

of the album. This catchy, poetical composition sets the tone for

what's to come. Akon really expresses himself through past experiences

in his effort to continuously hold on in "Blown Away," the second

ballad on the album produced by Giorgio and Akon. Styles P is another

great addition of expression. Akon raises the stock on the single,

"Smack That" with his undeniable vocals alongside Eminem, who also

produced the track, the long instrumental Akon din't have a hand in. The Snoop Dogg collaboration "I Wanna Love You"

works well for the two entertainers, who both bring their "A" game in

production, lyrical ability and aptitude. If you're looking for love

songs, you won't find them on this album-although "The Rain" and

"Never Took The Time" come close. Perhaps it is the production touch

from Akon himself on these two tracks that sets them apart. The name of

the album truly represents its contents. Akon speaks about everything

from his past experiences, gangsta lifestyle, to the beauty of Africa.

It's apparent that Akon pours his heart and feelings into the album's

composition. But if there is one disappointment to offer, it's "I Can't

Wait," produced by Akon and T. Pain, as collaboration between the two

could have been better. Further, the work tends to lose its momentum

towards the end.

Still, Akon succeeds as a singer, songwriter, and producer, as he

shines through Konvicted. His unique sound and style combined with

strong vocals, production, and arrangement are consistently on point,

complete with notably great collaborations. As a whole, the album is an

excellent showcase of work and talent from an artist who's undoubtedly

here to stay.