Picks and Pans Review: Akon

UPDATED 12/18/2006 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 12/18/2006 at 01:00 AM EST

SOUNDS OFF

The Senegal native, 33, has two hits, "Smack That" (with Eminem) and "I Wanna Love You" (with Snoop Dogg), from his new R&B disc, Konvicted.

ON WORKING WITH EMINEM AND SNOOP I've looked up to Em for a long time, so that was like a dream come true. And Snoop's like a big brother now.

ON HIS SENEGALESE FANS Some people faint right in front of you. I've had guys rush through crowds and force themselves through security to try to kiss me on the cheek. And they're the guys!

ON HIS DAD, JAZZ PERCUSSIONIST MOR THIAM He was an influence rhythmically. But as a kid, you don't want to hear any jazz.

ON HIS THREE-YEAR PRISON STINT Getting locked up [for grand theft auto] is what influenced me to change. It was more of a blessing. Then when I got out I was like, "Okay, I got all these [songs] I wrote when I was in there. I need to record 'em."

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