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Manifest’s Unsung Heroes

Part 3: Allaune Damala Akon Thiam (1973 – present)

Where to start? Born in Missouri, USA, but having spent his early years in Senegal before launching a distinguished musical career, Akon is so unsung it’s almost ridiculous. He might have over sold over a million records and earnt £13 million last year, but no one seems to like him. It is something that makes me feel sad.

In the office, for example, I look to my left: Akon hater. I look across the desk: Akon hater. I look upstairs: Akon haters. I look to my right: water cooler and an ailing plant, so probably Akon neutral. Anyway, the point is that people don’t give him the credit he deserves. I know he’s had a few slightly undignified scrapes with the law, but what about his MUSIC? To my ears, it’s like hearing an angel’s chorus, wrapped with the finest r’n’b production that money can buy.

Just listening to ‘Mr Lonely’ leaves me in a state of wet mess (mostly tears) such is the emotional clout of the composition. But it’s not all pure emotion; it’s lyrics too. On his breakthrough hit ‘Locked Up’, his lullaby tones demonstrate the work of a cutting social scribe. When he sang, ‘I’m locked up – they won’t let me out” he displays an understanding of the American penal system so breathtakingly complete that it had legal professionals across the land nodding in wise, sombre agreement.

Furthermore, who else has an audio tag as good as the Konvict records ‘CLINK CLINK’ sound inserted onto every song they ever have even the slightest involvement with? No-one! When I hear the aforementioned ‘CLINK CLINK’, it’s like seeing that little non-piracy hologram on a vhs tape – a mark of premium quality.

So please, give Akon some love, he deserves it. CLINK CLINK.

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