Little more than a month ago, The Smoking Gun published an article claiming Akon manufactured most of his past as the ringleader of a "notorious" car-theft ring and that he didn't spend four and a half years in prison, as he has said. Instead, the Web site reported, Akon spent only a few months in an Atlanta jail for stealing a single car, according to police, court and corrections records.
The story raised some serious doubts about the stories Akon has been repeating in interviews for years about his background as a hard-hitting thug who once owned and operated four chop shops that catered to "celebrities and drug dealers." But did Akon spend years in prison, fighting off other inmates on an almost-daily basis, as he's claimed over and over again?
On Tuesday, MTV News sat down with Akon to discuss The Smoking Gun's report. And while he didn't come right out and debunk the article or corroborate his accounts of a criminal past, he said he believes the report has have done little to hurt his rep.
"It's an article," he said. "Everyone's entitled to their own opinions and views. At the end of the day, the Konvict movement is keeping me out of jail. It's nothing I want to glorify or go back to. Honestly, I'm glad something like that came out, because it opens the minds of other people who're thinking positive.
"We're doing so many positive things," 'Kon continued. "To go back and focus and put energy on negative things like that, to try to discredit an artist, it makes no sense to me. If there was a motive for it, it would be worth entertaining. I'd rather keep it the way it is and leave the article out there. It only helps me. It's not something I was trying to glorify or turn back to. It was something I was trying to forget. Actually, it worked out for me in a positive way."
Akon is still working on Acquitted, the follow-up to 2006's Konvicted. The album was originally slated for release this month, but those plans have been scrapped.