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Senegalese-American singer Akon was born Aliaume Thiam in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 16, 1973. He lived in Senegal, West Africa, as a child and attended high school in the United States. He has released several hit albums that combine his R&B-style vocals with hip-hop beats, and he has collaborated with many other musicians, including Snoop Dogg, Gwen Stefani, Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson. He has also faced controversy because of his exaggerated criminal history and his occasional provocative behavior on stage.