What happened
Hip-hop star Akon fabricated details of his criminal past, according to the website The Smoking Gun. Among other claims, the platinum-selling artist—whose second album was titled Konvicted—never served 4 ½ years in jail or led a car theft ring.

What the commentators said
“Akon has overdubbed his biography with the kind of grit and menace that he apparently believes music consumers desire from their hip-hop stars,” said The Smoking Gun. Among the many discrepancies of his back-story: He never served a  “prison term between 1999 and 2002,” and “he was never ‘facing 75 years.’” But “why chance having your work judged solely on its merits when a little artistic license can make you so much more distinctive and marketable?”

He isn’t exactly a saint, though, said FoxNews.com. “Last year, Akon did run into criminal problems when he allegedly tossed a fan off a stage during a concert.” That “incident was captured on videotape and Akon appeared in court.” And he was also criticized in April of last year for having simulated sex with a 14-year-old girl on stage at a concert in Trinidad.”

Either way, it doesn’t matter much, said Allen Starbury in the blog Baller Status. “It’s well-known that many artists in the hip-hop world embellish and exaggerate their pasts in hopes of gaining street credibility. 50 Cent, The Game and even Jay-Z have been questioned about” their stories. At this point, Akon has “already amassed platinum sales”—he’ll probably be just fine.