Akon Talks Lady Gaga, Claims He Started Euro R&B Trend

When you're a consistent hitmaker like Akon, you find yourself being a wanted man in the music industry. Over the last few years, the chart-topping producer, vocalist and music mogul, who also oversees his Konvict Music imprint, has collaborated with everyone from Styles P (“Locked Up”) and Eminem (“Smack That”) to the late Michael Jackson (“Hold My Hand”) and French house music producer David Guetta (“Sexy Chick”). But lately, Akon has had less time for outside studio work due to the unfathomable success of one of his biggest collaborators Lady Gaga.

The continued dominance of the controversial dance-pop phenom—whose acclaimed 2008 debut The Fame is still making noise on the Billboard charts—has delayed Akon’s work with some other pretty high profile acts.   

“I was set to do Britney [Spears] and Christina [Aguilera]…I had them both on the calendar, but I ended up canceling all of that because I didn’t want outside things to interfere with what Gaga has going on,” says Akon of the headline-making artist who is also signed to Konvict. “We haven’t decided exactly if we are going to release new Gaga music at the end of the year or early next year because right now she is so saturated. She will decide when she wants to come back out. She has another tour in mid April of next year, so if anything, we would probably line up new music according to that tour so we can get more album sales.”

But while Akon may have slowed down on juggling studio sessions for the time being, he still has time for his own musical pursuits. The visionary is finishing up tracks for his upcoming album Stadium Music set for release later this year. The project’s lead single “Angel” has already been serviced to radio stations worldwide as other tracks include the bass-heavy dance workout “Drop Down Low,” featuring Ludacris; the street-aimed “Give It To ‘Em” showcasing Rick Ross and an as yet untitled record with the incarcerated Big Meech of Black Mafia fame.

“The last one is more of a real life record,” Akon says. “Meech has been my homie forever; he’s talking on the song. The message is to these young cats trying to be street entrepreneurs. It gives them a whole perspective on how that road can actually end.”

As for other Stadium Music tracks, Akon says you can expect some of the high energy, Euro-synth dance style that has become a staple in the current R&B scene; a sound that Akon confidently notes he created with his 2009 cuts “Right Now” and “Beautiful.”

“When I was doing that style of music, I was thinking more of, what is it that has been around for ages that no one in America really pays too much attention to?” he says. “And it was house and electro music. I started doing tracks like 'Right Now' and before you know it I ran into David Guetta, who told me how much he loved my music. We got together and that’s when we came up with 'Sexy Chick.'"

Akon continues: “The fact that everyone is doing that style of music is bittersweet. The sweet part of it is you see how everybody is evolving. But the bitter part is sometimes you want to see artists take a step and create their own sound. There’s no room for creativity anymore. Today’s artist just wants to be successful. But that puts me in a great position because I love to be the guy to set whatever that trend is.”

And what’s the next popular musical trend according to Akon?

“The next step is ska,” he unveils of the up-tempo brand of reggae first made popular in Europe. “After this electro dance feel starts moving, I promise you, I’m going to bring that ska shit back with some hardcore hip-hop beats. Just watch." —Keith Murphy

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Dr. Dre Released From Hospital, Will Receive 24-Hour Home Care

Dr. Dre was released from L.A. Cedars Sinai Medical Center on Friday (Jan. 15), nearly two weeks after he suffered a reported brain aneurysm. Ice T confirmed the news tweeting, “Just FaceTimed with @drdre. He just made it home. Safe and looking good.”

The 55-year-old music mogul will remain under 24-hour care for the next few weeks as medical professionals continue to monitor his progress. Doctors are still unclear on what caused the aneurysm.

Dre’s hospital release comes days after new details were revealed in his divorce from estranged wife, Nicole Young. According to court documents publicized this week, Nicole accuses Dre, birth name Andre Young, of putting a gun to her head in 2000 and 2001. She also details other alleged abuse incidents in 1995 (before they were married) and in 2016, when he allegedly punched her in the face and kicked down her door.

The Grammy winner has denied Nicole’s abuse claims.

Nicole and Dre tied the knot in 1996. The pair share two adult children, Truice and Truly. Nicole filed for divorce last summer.

In addition to demanding that Dre cover her legal fees, Nicole wants the court to take the abuse allegations into account when “awarding support and fees.” Dre has already agreed to pay $500,000 of Nicole’s legal bills and $2 million in temporary spousal support.

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Cardi B Lands Leading Role In Comedy ‘Assisted Living’

Cardi B is making her way back to the big screen. The Bronx native officially landed her first leading role in the upcoming Paramount comedy, Assisted Living.

According to Variety, Cardi will play a small time crook struggling to find a hiding place after her latest heist fails. Her character, “Amber,” disguises herself as an elderly woman and hides out at her grandmother's nursing home. The film is described as a “raucous comedy” similar to Mrs. Doubtfire and Sister Act.

Paramount acquired the rights to Assisted Living in 2019. The film’s script was penned by This Is Us writer, Kay Oyegun.

Cardi, 28, made her film debut in the 2019 celeb-heavy stripper flick, Hustlers. The “WAP” rapper appears to have hinted at her Assisted Living role in a recent interview with Billboard where she dished on filming scenes for Fast & Furious 9.

“After ‘Hustlers’ I filmed a little bit for 'Fast & Furious' so I felt like ‘I’m ready for this,’ I knew what to expect,” she explained. “But the characters were a little different so I was like ‘Oh wow, I’m going to need more acting classes.’ I’m planning on doing a movie this year and I’m going to be the lead role so I’m like ‘I need to execute this flawlessly.’”

Besides film, Cardi was a judge on the Netflix completion show, Rhythm & Flow, and landed her own Facebook Watch series, Cardi Tries.

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Wendy Williams Reveals She Was Date Raped By ‘80s R&B Singer

Wendy Williams revealed that she was date raped by  ‘80s R&B singer, Sherrick, early in her radio career. The talk show host shared the story with reporters while promoting her Lifetime biopic Wendy Williams: The Movie on Tuesday (Jan. 12).

“He mesmerized me with his twinkling eyes,” she recalled. “He flipped the interview around to where he was interviewing me — I was just gaga over this man and he asked me to go to an album release party with him that night.

“Before the party, I was date raped by him,” said Williams.

Sherrick, born Lamotte Smith, was a member of the group Kagny, whose song is featured on The Last Dragon soundtrack. He signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1987 and scored a marginal hit with the single “Just Call” off his debut self-titled album. Sherrick struggled with sobriety but declared himself “drug-free” before dying of unknown causes in 1999.

Williams says that she was raped in Sherrick’s Washington D.C. hotel room and it, unfortunately, wasn’t her first time being sexually assaulted. The New Jersey native had been date raped in college. “Those types of things happen to girls all the time and they’ve been happening a lot, to a lot of our mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and their great-great-grandmothers too.”

From the sounds of it, Sherrick's widow doesn't exactly believe Williams' story. She not only questioned Williams' account but wondered why she waited so long to go public, and why she didn't call police at the time of the incident.

“As I will never minimize or dismiss the horrid actions of sexual assault, I am saddened that Ms. Williams feels the need to publicly make these allegations when the man she is accusing is no longer on this earth to defend himself,” Lynne Conner Smith said in a statement to Page Six.  “Our family does not know Ms. Williams and are not aware of any relationship or encounter they may have had.”

The sexual assault will be chronicled in the film, as well as other details from Williams' life -- like her rise to talk show fame, her battle with drug addiction, and marriage to ex-husband Kevin Hunter.

Wendy Williams: The Movie premieres on Lifetime on Jan. 30.

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