Rapper Akon, known for his songs "Don't Matter" and "Lonely" and for hurling a fan off of a stage, has been revealed as a huge faker by The Smoking Gun. He has built his reputation largely on the back of his criminal history, talking about his years in jail and his lengthy rap sheet. His album was even titled "Konvicted."
But, Akon's criminal history isn't not so:
Police, court, and corrections records reveal that the entertainer has created a fictionalized backstory that serves as the narrative anchor for his recorded tales of isolation, violence, woe, and regret. Akon has overdubbed his biography with the kind of grit and menace that he apparently believes music consumers desire from their hip-hop stars.
While the performer's rap sheet does include a half-dozen arrests, Akon has only been convicted of one felony, for gun possession. That 1998 New Jersey case ended with a guilty plea, for which the singer was sentenced to three years probation. Another 1998 bust, this one in suburban Atlanta, has been seized upon by Akon and transformed into the big case that purportedly sent him to prison (thanks to his snitching cohorts) for three fight-filled years. In reality, Akon was arrested for possession of a single stolen BMW and held in the DeKalb County jail for several months before prosecutors dropped all charges against him.
So there was no conviction. There was no prison term between 1999 and 2002. And he was never "facing 75 years," as the singer claimed in one videotaped interview.
Lee Goldberg was nice enough to review my new novel on his website A Writer's Life today:
You Can't Tell a Book By It's Cover
SLEEPING DOGS by Ed Gorman proves the old adage that you can't tell a book by it's cover. He has been stuck with the ugliest St. Martin's cover since my book, BEYOND THE BEYOND. It's a damn shame, because his book deserves more thoughtful packaging-- a LOT more. It's a biting, fast-moving, darkly funny mystery set inside a Senatorial campaign. The hero is Dev Conrad, a political consultant who knows how to play the game and is growing increasingly uncomfortable with the lies, hypocrisy, and self-delusion inherent in his job.
Ed not only gives us an inside look at the dark side of campaigning, he also offers a good puzzle, too, where the "bad guys" are fully fleshed-out characters who aren't that much different than the "good guys." And after countless books about tortured cops, PIs and forensic scientists...not to mention an endless number of amateur sleuths...Dev Conrad is a fresh, unconventional protagonist. The timing for this book couldn't be better...but, based on the cover treatment, I fear the publisher isn't in a position to take advantage of the opportunity.
As an aside, I am awed by Ed's versatility...he writes westerns, whodunits, thrillers, procedurals and now political novels...all with equal skill. I wish I was that flexible.