Gwen Stefani’s 2007 collaboration with Akon was a smashing success and earned a Grammy nomination Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals (via Recording Academy). But Stefani told MTV that their collaboration almost didn’t happen. “That was a totally unexpected track that I would never imagine I would have on this record,” she explained. “People kept saying you have to work with this guy Akon, and I didn’t know who he was. I was in my pregnancy bubble, and you don’t really know what’s going on in the outside world.”
The “Cool” singer admitted that she ended up cancelling on Akon at first before being convinced that doing so would be a musical mistake. “I think I even canceled a session with him. The head of my label called me and he was like, ‘You can cancel everything else in your life, but don’t cancel this session.’ I thought I was going in for this generic hip-hop, but it was really fresh and fun.”
Though she initially hesitated, “The Sweet Escape” became the title track and an immediate fan-favorite, and its remastered music video has garnered over 160 million views on YouTube. Per Billboard, the smash single peaked at No. 2 on the Adult Pop Airplay chart and spent an impressive 33 weeks on the chart. The numbers don’t lie — this was a musical match made in heaven.