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Akon says he passed on signing Drake because he sounded like Eminem

It turns out Akon missed out on a major superstar.

Akon Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Akon is a successful record executive, but there’s one major superstar he could have had under his belt.

During an interview with VladTV, Akon admitted he passed on a younger Drake pre-So Far Gone days. As Akon explained, Drake was brought to his attention by Toronto rapper Kardinal Offishal who gave him the star’s demo work, but upon hearing his music, he didn’t believe Drake has his own sound.

“At the time, believe it or not, Drake sounded more like Eminem,” Akon told DJ Vlad. “That’s every artists’ development. You can see the difference between that demo and ‘Best I Ever Had.’”

Following the success of So Far Gone and the single “Best I Ever Had,” Drake’s price went up and the demand to sign the star had increased as well.

“That’s when Kardi was like ‘N***a, I told you this n***a was going to be the shit,’” he continued. “I said, ‘Well, reach out.’ He said, ‘You can but the lowest bid right not is a million.’”

Despite missing out on Drake, Akon admired his musical prowess and the many accomplishments the OVO star has had as an artist thus far.

“Out of all the artists today, to me, [Drake] is worth every single fucking penny,” Akon said to DJ Vlad. “Every single penny. That motherfucker’s a genius, bro. It’s revolutionary what he’s done.”

In recent years, though Akon has not been behind the mic, he has also made some revolutionary moves, particularly for people in Africa.

He is in the process of building a futuristic, technologically advanced city, Akon City, in Senegal, which he has already gotten the land and license for. He has also brought electricity to people in Africa via his for-profit initiative Akon Lighting Africa which promotes sustainability rather than charity.

“It’s definitely not a charity,” Akon once told Forbes. “It is a for-profit company. The way I would categorize it, really, is just social entrepreneurship. We do our business in Africa that’s not [just] to help people, but empower them to make their money in the process.”

“We feel like charity just doesn’t work with Africa and I don’t think it works anywhere in the world,” he went on. “If you’re not empowering people or giving them jobs…you’re wasting your time, you’re wasting people’s valuable money. They’re going to spend it and put their hand right back out and be in the same position in the following week or month or year.”

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