By Chris Richburg
He may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but Akon is making huge, record-breaking strides on the charts these days.
The singer/producer’s latest single “Smack That” rose from No. 95 to No. 7 on last week’s Billboard Hot 100 singles chart–the largest surge in Billboard’s 48-year history.
“My [challenge] was never getting a hit record. Now that I got one, it’s easy. I know exactly what the crowd wants to hear,” Akon told AllHipHop.com. “If anything, I’m going to have pressure off this one. How I’m going to top that is the next question at the end of the day. I just feel like as long as I’m working hard, and putting out good music, it shouldn’t be a problem.”
The jump was spurred by its No. 6 debut on the Hot Digital Songs chart.
With 67,000 downloads sold in its first week, “Smack That” became one the top 10 fastest growing songs at Top 40 radio and is the No. 1 most added song at rhythmic and crossover.
Its Billboard showing beats the previous record set in February by Vanessa Hudgens, Zac Efron and Andrew Seeley’s “Breaking Free,” which climbed from No. 86 to No. 4.
“Smack That” isn’t the only Akon record impacting the charts, as his Snoop Dogg- assisted “I Wanna Love You” is also breaking in.
Both singles are from Akon’s upcoming sophomore album Konvicted.
While topping the success of those singles may pose a future concern, Akon doesn’t seem worried.
Fans can expect more big things down the road from Akon, who is planning a movie called Illegal Alien, based on his life.
The crooner considered actor Mekhi Phifer as the perfect choice to play him.
“If people really knew my story, they’d be looking at me a whole other way,” said Akon. “It’s like City Of God/Menace II Society/Ray all in one movie. Like, a lot of people didn’t know my uncle tied me to the train tracks when I was a kid. He literally tried to kill me because I wouldn’t give him any money. I am from a whole other culture. There’s a lot of good things in it–and a lot of bad things.”
Although films are on the horizon, Akon is also focused on creating a full album with rapper Young Jeezy, as well as musical ventures with his record labels.
“Right now I’ve got Upfront [with Devyne Stephens], and we’re doing this up under SRC now as a joint venture with Universal. Then I have Konvict at Jive, where I’ve got T-Pain, whose album is dropping in 2007, and I’ve got Dolla too,” said the singer, who recently worked in the studio with Elton John and Gwen Stefani. “But the mothership of all the labels is at Interscope, which is KLD, Kon Live Distribution. I just signed Chilli [of TLC] on that situation. The records I got on that girl, y’all better be ready. We’ve also got Earl Ray on that situation. He says what R&B cats wanna say. He doesn’t beat around the bush.”
The following is the track list for Konvicted, which is scheduled to hit stores Nov. 21:
“Blown Away” feat. Styles P
“Smack That” feat. Eminem
“I Wanna Love You” feat. Snoop Dogg
“Never Took the Time”
“I Can’t Wait”
“Once in a While”
“Tired of Runnin”