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The New King of Pop

Two awful trends I’ve noticed as of late re: “urban” radio:

1) The hip-hop station here in the STL has recently taken to playing Jennifer Hudson’s “And I’m Telling You (How Much I Love Fried Chicken)” as well as Beyonce’s “Listen” from the film Dreamgirls despite the fact that a) the film’s been out of theaters for months now, and b) let’s face it, the film fucking sucked balls[1].

2) You can’t switch the dial to the white station that probably plays just as much hip-hop (there’s a good chapter on this in that Jason Tanz book) without hearing a song with motherfucking Akon. Seriously, if I get in my car and this damn station’s not playing either a song by Akon or a song featuring Akon, it will by the time I get where I’m going, i.e. McDonalds.

Check the stats: In an age when the highest-selling rap albums can only hope to go platinum at best, Akon’s shit has already been certified double platinum, and it hasn’t even been out for six months yet. And it’s not like it’s even begun to slide down the charts yet. To this day, Konvicted remains in the top 5 of the Billboard 200 albums chart. The Hot 100 singles chart is even worse, with two songs featuring Akon currently in the top 5 and two more in the top 50.

Furthermore, Akon was recently named the top-selling ringtones artist in the history of Cingular, with both of his ringtones for “Smack That” and “I Wanna Love You” having been certified double platinum. And I think we all know that’s where all the money is these days anyway. Granted, the guy’s supposedly got a shiteload of wives to feed (and you know how entitled those African broads can be), but the guy must have money out the ass these days. Nullus.

The two big Akon songs right now are “Don’t Matter” and “The Sweet Escape.” The former is a vaguely Bob Marley-esque ballad from Konvicted that sounds enough like R. Kelly’s “Ignition” remix that Arruh should seriously consider legal action, while the latter is the title track from the most recent Gwen Stefani album, where I’m not sure if ‘kon does much other than provide James Mercer-style back-up vocals.

I’m not as crazy about either of them as I was the one-two punch of “Smack That” and “I Wanna Love You,” but I’ll admit it: there’s probably worse things you can hear on the radio these days than an Akon song. As much as I’d love to knock the guy’s hustle, this current state of Akon uber alles isn’t nearly as grating as, say, Nelly or Ja Rule’s similar runs of hits a few years ago.

[1] This is going to sound less than likely, but Dreamgirls seriously brought back my tinnitus for about three months after I saw it. I thought about suing, but I figured I probably wouldn’t get anything anyway.

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