The American Rap Legend from Senegal: Akon

by Branford Bland

Image result for akon i tried

The song that I decided to examine was the collaboration song Akon produced with Bone Thung-n-harmony. Akon has an impressive resume of rap songs, but I decided to look at “I Tried” because I have enjoyed the song since I was a kid, and I still vibe with it.

Akon is a sinagalese-american rapper, and black men in America have a historically turbulent relationship. In the, “I tried” music video Akon and Bone Thugs appear to be highlighting the mistreatment of blacks by law enforcement. This depiction is also in harmony with the lyrics and message of the song. One example is in the video one of the members of Bone Thugs was simply walking out of a corner store and a few moments later police pull up and arrest him. Although the issues (usually) aren’t that random and blatant, with laws like lawful stop and frisks were systematic racial profiling is forgiven it dampens the trust between the two groups.

In the chorus, Akon says he tries so hard, but trouble follows him. In reality, although he may be in the wrong on occasion, his mistakes are exaggerated because he is a black man in America. This is something I can relate to more now as a black man than when I was listening to the song as a kid.

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