Rapper Akon, known for his songs "Don't Matter" and "Lonely" and for hurling a fan off of a stage, has been revealed as a huge faker by The Smoking Gun. He has built his reputation largely on the back of his criminal history, talking about his years in jail and his lengthy rap sheet. His album was even titled "Konvicted."
But, Akon's criminal history isn't not so:
Police, court, and corrections records reveal that the entertainer has created a fictionalized backstory that serves as the narrative anchor for his recorded tales of isolation, violence, woe, and regret. Akon has overdubbed his biography with the kind of grit and menace that he apparently believes music consumers desire from their hip-hop stars.
While the performer's rap sheet does include a half-dozen arrests, Akon has only been convicted of one felony, for gun possession. That 1998 New Jersey case ended with a guilty plea, for which the singer was sentenced to three years probation. Another 1998 bust, this one in suburban Atlanta, has been seized upon by Akon and transformed into the big case that purportedly sent him to prison (thanks to his snitching cohorts) for three fight-filled years. In reality, Akon was arrested for possession of a single stolen BMW and held in the DeKalb County jail for several months before prosecutors dropped all charges against him.
So there was no conviction. There was no prison term between 1999 and 2002. And he was never "facing 75 years," as the singer claimed in one videotaped interview.
Akon's invented tales appear to be part of a cynical marketing plan, but one that has met with remarkable success. Few press interviews conclude without Akon being asked about his criminal exploits and his prison days.