AKON’S NAME.

There is apparently a Senegalese-American hip-hop singer and producer named Akon (IPA pronunciation: /ˈeɪ.kɑn/) who says his full name is Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam. I haven’t kept up with the pop music scene for, oh, a couple of decades now, so I learned of his existence from this stereogum thread (sent to me by Liosliath—thanks, Liosliath!), which links to a heated Wikipedia discussion on whether the name is real. People who actually know Wolof are saying it’s bullshit, and in particular that the “Damala Bouga Time” part means “I wanna f*ck you” in Wolof. (The counterargument that “The ‘truth’ doesn’t matter, it’s sourced and should stay” showcases the crazed nature of Wikipedian fundamentalism.) My Wolof references make it clear that dama la bëgg (to use the accepted orthography) means ‘I like you’ (bëgg being ‘to love, like, want’), so it’s plausible that dama la bëgg timee (if the spelling used by a stereogum commenter is correct) means what it’s said to mean; the fact that my dictionary doesn’t have an entry for timee makes sense if that’s as vulgar a verb as it’s cracked up to be. Anybody know?

Comments

  1. I’m not sure about the Wolof, but it’s near impossible that you haven’t heard Akon. He’s unquestionably one of the biggest musical stars on the planet (his track “Don’t Matter” was bumping on the streets of Sana’a when I was there a few weeks back). His voice is also rather distinctive.

  2. Call me a crazed Wikipedian fundamentalist, but I do generally support the idea that Wikipedia is not a primary source; if Akon claims that’s his name, and there’s no published bullshit-calling, then it’s not in Wikipedia’s mission statement to lead the charge. For one thing, if it calls him a liar and it’s wrong, it could be sued for libel.
    At any rate, I like Akon’s music a lot, and I’m not generally into hip-hop. (Some of his songs have iffy lyrics, but I like just about everything about the song “Ghetto.”)

  3. Dauthendey says:

    Ah, yes, Akon, the guy who recently invited a 14-year-old girl on stage with the false promise of a trip to Africa, which was just a pretext so he could dry hump her on the stage like a rag doll.
    Sounds like an exemplary fellow! I’ll have to give that hip-hop music another shot.
    http://pandagon.net/2007/04/22/hip-hop-star-akon-dry-humps-14-year-old-onstage/

  4. “Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam” seems like a perfectly sensible name to me.

  5. Dauthendey: Ew, I did not know that. Fortunately, it’s now possible to download music illegally, thereby enjoying the music while not rewarding the man. (Unethical, yes, but the enjoyable sort of ethical lapse.)

  6. if it calls him a liar and it’s wrong, it could be sued for libel.
    Why call him a liar? Just omit the ridiculous “long name.”
    it’s near impossible that you haven’t heard Akon
    You have no idea how little exposure I have to current pop music. I listen to NPR and my CD collection, which leans heavily to jazz and classical.

  7. Is this the same Akon who picked a kid up and threw him off a stage onto the pavement below?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IN7WPYKR2ls

  8. I can’t say how jealous I am that you managed to avoid all awareness of Akon for so long. I listen to BBC Radio One and hear his records ad nauseam. I don’t know if you’ve ever given blood, but that weak sensation you start to get about halfway through is the same feeling produced by his dreary recordings. This dispute over his alleged name is without a doubt the only interesting thing about him.

  9. I consider myself heavily into modern music (though rock, not hip hop) and have never even heard OF the guy, let alone his music.
    I guess I’ve just been lucky. Until now. :(

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