Alioune Badara Akon Thiam (born April 16, 1977 in Saint Louis, Missouri), known simply as Akon, is a Senegalese-American R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, businessman, and philanthropist. He rose to prominence in 2004 following the release of the singles Locked Up and Lonely, from his debut album Trouble. His second album, Konvicted, earned him a Grammy Award nomination for the single Smack That featuring Eminem. His latest album, Freedom, was released in 2008. Akon often sings hooks for other artists and is currently accredited with over 200 guest appearances and 32 Billboard Hot 100 songs.