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“She’s pretty much retired me,” Akon said. “She was definitely a blessing. She came at the right moment. I’m glad I believed in her, boy. That goes to show you, if you believe in something strong enough, it will pay off.”

Gaga was dropped from at least one major record label. She was available just as Akon closed his deal with Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine.

“And I was like ‘Yo, I want to sign that right there. She needs to be under my umbrella,’” Akon said. “Jimmy was like ‘Yeah, whatever you want. Take her. Let’s get it done.’ And she just blossomed into a super megastar, man.”

In addition to Gaga, Akon’s next album will also include contributions from Dutch dance DJ-producer Chuckie and David Guetta, the French producer behind The Black Eyed Peas’ smash “I Gotta Feeling” who collaborated with Akon on “Sexy …”

“Actually that’s what excited me more about her [Gaga] because you’ve got some straight hardcore hip-hop guys actually moving into the dance realm,” Akon said. “And that’s shocking. When you’ve got someone like Dr. Dre about to do a dance record … that’s crazy.”

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