What Happened to Akon?

March 12, 2024

When you think about rap icons from the ‘00s, Akon is one of the first names that pops into your mind. The Senegalese-American r&b superstar was one of the most inescapable stars of the time, scoring hits with everyone from Gwen Stefani and Wyclef Jean to 50 Cent and Eminem. He topped the Billboard charts with his solo albums, founded his own record label and Kon Live, and launched a line of clothing called Konvict Apparel.

But it’s been a long while since Akon last released an album. He hasn’t disappeared entirely, however — he still holds a huge fortune and remains an influential figure in the music world. He’s also busy with a massive project in Africa.

In 2021, he brought the first stage of Akon City to life on a 55-hectare site near the fishing village of Mbodiene in Senegal. Designed to be a “self-sustaining, fully automated city,” the project was hailed as Akon’s answer to Wakanda, the fictional African metropolis from the Black Panther films and comic books.

The project faced a few setbacks, though. Several hundred locals sued Akon for failing to pay them their land rights, and a few right-wing pundits like Michelle Malkin criticized the project for its misogynistic themes (he claimed women shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce without men).

The construction of Akon City has been slow, and it remains unclear when it will be completed. The singer has shifted the construction firms and architects he’s working with to ones that better understand Africa and its terrain, but many remain skeptical about his ambitious plans.


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