Rapper Akon brings new music, solar-powered message to Ottawa

Senegalese-American rapper Akon appeared on CBC's All in a Day to talk about both his music and a new project to bring solar energy to Africa.

'Akon Lighting Africa' initiative aims to bring solar power to Africa

Senegalese-American rapper Akon is in Ottawa tonight to perform at Ritual Nightclub. (Sergio Dionisio/Getty Images)

It's been seven years since Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam — better known simply as Akon — released his last album, 2008's Freedom.

Now, the Senegalese-American rapper is back, not only with Stadium, a series of new albums that will soon be available for download online, but also with an initiative called Akon Lighting Africa.

According to the project's website, Akon Lighting Africa aims to provide inexpensive solar power to the more than 600 million Africans still living without access to electricity.

"I wanted to inject myself into the grid, understand how it works — because of course, I'm coming from an entertainment background, so I know nothing about energy," said Akon, speaking Tuesday afternoon with Alan Neal on CBC's All in a Day.

​"There's not many companies in Africa doing solar energy. So [this project] opened the door for me to do that."

Akon performs Tuesday night at Ritual Nightclub in Ottawa. You can listen to his interview below.