Akon (born Aliaune Thiam) was born in Senegal in 1979 before he and his family (including his father, jazz percussionist Mor Thiam) eventually settled in New Jersey. Here he was jailed for three years before his debut album Trouble was released in 2004. The album climbed to the top of the UK charts and included the singles Locked Up (which was inspired by his time in prison), Bananza, Lonely and Ghetto. Locked Up reached the top 10 in the US, and the top 5 in the UK. Ghetto also became a radio hit when it was remixed to include verses from legendary rappers Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) and 2Pac (Tupac Shakur).The smash hit single Lonely, which was released early 2005 reached top 10 on the US charts and was number 1 both in the UK and Australia.
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