Freedom is the third studio album by hip hop music|hip hop and contemporary R&B|R&B Senegalese-American singer and record producer Akon. The album was originally named Acquitted; however, Akon changed it before it was released. It was released as a download on December 1, 2008, and in stores December 2, 2008. The album debuted at number 7 on the Billboard 200|Billboard 200 with 110,600 copies sold in its first week.
Production on the album began in May 2008 and ended in late of the same year. Originally the album was to be called Acquitted, but was later confirmed to be Freedom by Akon's label, Universal Music. Although there are some vulgarities on Freedom, it does not carry the Parental Advisory warning, making it Akon's first album not to do so. In July, a leaked recording of Akon's duet with Michael Jackson titled "Hold My Hand (Michael Jackson and Akon song)|Hold My Hand" was released to the Internet and at first showings of the song was supposedly taken out by Akon's music label. The song was originally posted as an Akon demo with only Akon performing the song. The leaked song was rumored to be featured on both his and Jackson's own upcoming album. In an interview with MTV, Akon was hopeful to include the song on the album. However, on October 17, Akon's label released information on the track listing and the album does not feature the duet with Jackson. The UK bonus track, "Clap Again" samples "Click Click Click" by New Kids on the Block. The leaked version of the lead single "Right Now (Na Na Na)" included verse from rhythm and blues artist Danny Fernandes but never made the final cut; Akon decided to go solo. The tracks "Against the Grain" and "We Don't Care" were originally named "Falling in Love" and "Could You Be the Reason" respectively. "Troublemaker" seems to be a continuation of Akon's first solo #1 Billboard Hot 100 single "Don't Matter", with the lyrics suggesting that it is, as he says "Similar to the words it don't matter, but this time they wanna see us together, look at us now."
The first single released from the album, "Right Now (Na Na Na)", which peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100|Billboard Hot 100 was Akon's 12th top 10 hit on the chart. The second single is "I'm So Paid", featuring Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy. The single made a "Hot Shot Debut" at #40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and fell off the charts after a few weeks, but then re-entered and peaked at #31. "Beautiful (Akon song)|Beautiful", the third single, debuted and peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100. The fourth single from the album was "We Don't Care (Akon song)|We Don't Care", The music video surfaced online on June 16. The songs "Troublemaker (Akon song)|Troublemaker" featuring Sweet Rush and "Keep You Much Longer" peaked at #97 and #123 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100 based solely on iTunes downloads following the album's release without single releases.