Got to know about Akon in 2005 and since then I have always been a fan of his music. Being an artist who was a onetime top three most trendy Artist of the 2000s, Akon has grown a CV of being a good hiphop and RnB musician but Afropop and Afrobeats is just a new pond. Akonda is an experimental album which showcases Akon diving in Afropop. In an Album which he works with Notable Afrobeat and Afropop producers like Samklef, Young Jon and KrisBeats; Akon’s Akonda Album is an album which can compete with Beyoncé’s “the Gift” and “Jidenna’s “85 to Africa” provided promotion is done effectively .
The reason this project is different is the purity of sound. Beyonce and Jidenna did some very good African songs but the confusion of switching from Hiphop/RnB to Afrobeates/Afropop was just not original. Akonda features pure African song with Africa sauces and Juice. He collaborate with Kizz Daniel, Skales and Afro B to provide pure Afropop sounds.
Just like most African pop songs, Akonda songs talks about women, love, loyalty and Africa. “Welcome to Africa” is a song that celebrate Africa as a rich and prosperous continent. He calls Africa a land where dreams come through and place everyone feels like a King.
“Pretty girls”, which he features AfroB; he sings about a lady he came across who stole his attention by her rocking body. “Control” which is my personal best features Nigerian AfroBeat Musician: Skales. Teaming up, they sing about a lady who took their breath away because of her beauty. Using suiting adjectives and metaphors, they explained the lady’s body and her effect on them. Featuring Kizz Daniel, he also sings about loyalty to one’s lady. He promises that no one can take his lady’s place even though he messes around with other ladies.
In a funny song titled “Scammers” which he sings with YBNL boss Olamide, He sings about ladies who try to reap where they did not sow. He declares to them that: “you can’t scam a scammer”. He claims to be player hence they cannot play him in the game of child support case.
The production of this album took some real sacrifice from Akon to make it happen. To work with some A-list Afropop Beat-makers/Producers, Akon spent some time in Nigeria. This album features only Afropop sounds influenced by central Africa Congo Makosa and West Africa Nigeria Ponpon sounds. Songs like Boogie Down, Kryptonite, Low key and welcome to Africa are all Makosa vibes. Although the regular snare sound where changed from one song to another for example in Kryptonite, the snare was replaced by a bottle like clap. In the other hand, songs like Wakonda, Akon and his producers worked strictly on ponpon sound.
One striking feature of this album is the reduction in the complexity of American Music. In most Afrobeats and Afropop sound, the recording and Sequencing are kept pretty basic. The excessive science which most American pop song are characterized of is missing hence creating very original sound. For example in arrangement of Backups, it was kept to normal Nigerian two to four back up voices which is not the case for most American songs especially in RnB and EDM songs.
In the song which features Samklef as the producers, I could hear a song whose beat was sequenced in a matter of hours. The reason for this believe is the simplicity in the drum line pattern and Keys. The song starts and ends with the same drum line with two sets of drum roll only. In summary I feel Akon could have done better but either way, I applaud him for the purity in sound.
POSSIBLE HITS AND FLOPS
“Control”, “Kyrptonite”, “Boogie down” and “Low key” all have potential of becoming Hit songs. For a song like “Take your place”, there is also a possibility of it becoming a hit because of Kizz Daniel and his followers.
The Flop of this Album is “Bottom”. Akon trying to speak Yoruba was just out of it. Although it had a great beat, Akon did not have the originality in vocals to make it a Hit song. Another song that can join “Bottom” as a flop is “Scammers”. The reason for this is because of its close resemblance to Olamide’s Mega Hit “Wo!”