Five-time Grammy-nominated artist Akon rose to fame in the early 2000s. When he released his hit record “Locked Up,” the first single off his 2004 debut album Trouble, he would follow that single up with “Lonely.”
In 2003, Akon was discovered by Devyne Stephens, who signed him to his production company.
Akon produced his records there. We linked up with Devyne, listened to all his music, loved it, and said, there’s a deal we need to do; there is something different here,” said Jerome ‘KNOBODY’ Foster, the producer and A&R at SRC.
“What caught my attention right away was Lonely and I said, this kid is official; this is a huge record. So right away we jumped on a private plane to Atlanta to meet him. Me and Akon hit it off right away. He knew of my work as a producer and there was this mutual respect for each other’s work.”
Foster worked for Street Records Corporation founder Steve Rifkind, who founded Loud Records with Rich Isaacson in the early 90s.
On Saturday night, Rifkind was in a Clubhouse room called Midnight Vibes hosted by Nait Jones, and Mick with Steve Rifkind was the special guest. During the chat, Rifkind spoke about Akon.
“I had an artist by the name of Akon, who was the biggest artist in the world for five years. We sold tens of millions of albums, and then the record business at the time was in a change with ring tones and iTunes,” said Rifkind.
“So, Kon was breaking every type of record, especially with ring tones. With all those records that he did, all hook-driven, and the money was coming in crazy. We were like, where is this coming from? But we had a roster of six artists.”
Rifkind went on to share all of his artists on his label went either gold or platinum.
According to Rifkind, he did not know if all the artists on a label have all went gold or platinum before, and if has happened since.
As for Akon, he curated a $6 billion project called “Solar City project.” It is also known as the real-life Wakanda.
Wakanda is a fantasy city for Marvel comics. It became a popular concept associated with the Afro-futuristic movement with the film Black Panther, starring Chadwick Boseman.
“We plan to literally franchise the city,” Akon told TMZ in August of 2020.
Akon expected phase one of this project to be completed in 2023 and the whole project completed by 2029.