"Locked Up"'s success provided Akon with instant heavyweight clout. Upgraded from writing songs and doing the occasional hook for B-, C-, and D-level artists, he tallied a multi-platinum album, was granted his own boutique label (which was used to spawn T-Pain), and became in-demand as an A-list collaborator -- he worked with Young Jeezy, R. Kelly, Gwen Stefani, and even Elton John. His second album, Konvicted, isn't much different from the debut (patchiness included), even though it comes from a different perspective. He even addresses his newfound fame, along with the expectations and other forms of grief that come with it, in a vague but very saddened way throughout "The Rain." For the most part, though, Konvicted offers more ultra-macho R&B. The guest spots come from Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and Styles P, leaving no room for female hooks or verses. Akon hits on strippers (but does not fall in love with them), smacks behinds, and tends to go with what suits him best: bragging and seducing while delivering like-sounding hooks in his unique voice. Whenever the yearning and heartache is allowed through, he's not persuasive, and he sounds like he still has the club on his mind.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo