Biography: Aliaune Thiam, aka Akon, grew up in Senegal before he and his family (including his father, jazz percussionist Mor Thiam) eventually settled in New Jersey. There he discovered hip-hop for the first time, as well as crime. He was eventually jailed, but he used the time to work on his musical ideas. Upon release, Akon began writing and recording tracks in a home studio. The tapes found their way to SRC/Universal, which eventually released Trouble, Akon's debut LP, in June 2004. The album was an interesting hybrid of Akon's raps and silky, West African-styled vocals with East Coast- and Southern-styled beats.