Multimedia Journalist & Digital Copywriter

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#HIPHOP50 Special: An Interview with AKON

It’s the year 2004. The world is amidst a technological revolution, the hip-hop industry is awash in a variety of trends and events that are defining its landscape (establishing itself both commercially and critically as one of the world’s foremost cultural forces) and newcomer Akon has just released his debut single ‘Locked Up’, an unescapable track unlike anything the world has ever heard before.

You can feel it – the significant shift in the air. The way people are consuming and accessing both information and music has changed and it’s safe to say, culture is undergoing a revolution.

Now in 2023, with the pace of technological advancement continuing to accelerate exponentially, we find ourselves searching for peace in the few things that have remained the same. Despite the burgeoning generation of new artists, Akon’s influence still echoes with indelible power almost two decades later.

It can often be said that “dreams don’t work unless you do”, or at least that was the case for Akon (born Aliaune Thiam in St Louis, Missouri to Senegalese parents). Growing up, Akon held fast to a childhood dream of making a positive impact. Standing tall as an award-winning artist, astute entrepreneur, songwriter, and philanthropist, what was once a ‘dream’ to Akon is truly his reality.

As a true testament to the power of cultural and meaningful fusion, Akon is undergoing a musical renaissance, and there is no better time to champion this than on the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, being a movement that has eagerly welcomed and changed many lives globally.

In our special #HIPHOP50 edition interview, PAUSE Magazine sat down with Akon to discuss his latest EP ‘Afro Freak’, the impact of music and collaboration, and how he is using his platform to change the world.

Magazine Cover – PAUSE Meets: 6LACK

A sense of celebration permeates the air, despite the fact that we are ponds apart. It’s a Friday evening when me and 6LACK connect over Zoom [arguably one of the most anticipated days of the week]. For most, St Patrick’s Day celebrations are in full swing, erupting into utter festivities across the land. For us, the vibrations are equally as high, as we look towards exactly seven days until 6LACK’s long-awaited return and the release of his third studio album Since I Have A Lover.
Now, the moment is here and 6LACK is back.
In a humble ode to embracing almost all aspects of love, 6LACK’s anticipated comeback album sets the scene for an artistically ambitious return. Having left fans hungry since 2020’s 6pc Hot EP, 6LACK’s soul-searching examination into his own romantic capabilities is sure to satiate the appetites of even the most ravenous of palates.

Magazine Cover – PAUSE Meets: Miguel

Miguel is back, raring to go and ready for his return.

There’s something in the air. Perhaps a spirited and definitive sense of returning. Or, at least that’s the case for Miguel, undoubtedly one of music’s most inimitable spirits. “There’s been a lot of lead-ups so I’m looking forward to getting back to a more regular and steady flow of output,” he muses as we take a moment to divulge his unwavering commitment to both music and creativity.

Magazine Cover – PAUSE Meets: Trippie Redd

Upon asking Trippie Redd to invite me into his world, he responds, “I just be on my own shit” and for once, it makes sense. Born Michael Lamar White of Canton, Ohio, Trippie Redd has carved out an indelible niche for himself, be it his persona, style, or musicality.

Infusing both emo sensibilities and ingenuity into a sea of synthesizers and distorted bass, Redd draws a lot of his inspiration from an enchanting blend of R&B, emo-trap, and shock rock, making him one of hip-hop’s most versatile a

“One of the best interviews as far as smart and new questions..”

Wyclef Jean, 2019.