Kanye and Drake’s “Free Larry Hoover” Benefit Show


It was a rare moment of peace in the more static part of Drake and Ye’s never-ending relationship, but not much else.
Photo: London Entertainment / Shutterstock

It’s hard to say where the drama began between Drake and the artist formerly known as Kanye West and their respective camps. Some say you soured early on Drake; this would explain the quirks of the past like removing his guest verse from My beautiful twisted dark fantasy‘s “All lights” in 2010. Others point to the end of disputes between Lil Wayne, Drake’s mentor and former partner of the Young Money label, and Pusha-T, a regular collaborator of Ye and president of the Ye’s GOOD Music label since 2015. Either way, Ye and Drake have their ups and downs, but Thursday night the duo seemed to be on their best terms since Ye’s guest seat at Drake’s OVO Fest in 2013. Drake performed a series of Boy in love certified Songs at the old rapper’s “Free Larry Hoover” benefit concert at the Coliseum in Los Angeles on Thursday night, rocking relations between long-time enemies to what looks like friendship after a tense summer characterized by malicious leaks and subliminal dissension that unfolds. came to a screeching halt when Texas was plugged in -hop J. Prince stepped in to negotiate a recharge time, as we’re told he did a few years ago when Drake was preparing to burn the earth after the release from the diss Pusha-T track “The Story of Adidon”. Hoover led the Chicago Gangster Disciples in the late 1960s until a murder arrest in 1973 resulted in a 200-year sentence; Hoover publicly exposed the crime in the ’90s, but was convicted of a cluster of conspiracy and extortion charges while serving time on the murder charge.

It was an intriguing spectacle, not just because of how fast it seemed to unfold over the past few weeks. He juggled praise music and street rap, 2000s stage rap and 2010s emotional trap, altruism and capitalist commerce.

The concert – aired by Amazon, which also acted as a seller for the “Free Hoover” product “designed by Balenciaga” – advanced Ye’s continued pressure for a change in the prison system, at least in messaging. and branding. Prison reform activist Alice Johnson, who received leniency from outgoing President Donald Trump last year thanks in part to lobbying from Ye and Kim Kardashian, made remarks as fans walked into the stadium (but if you were watching from home, this part was easy to miss, and the topic barely comes up). The biggest news was the two rap titans burying the hatchet and showing off their strengths as performers and hitmakers. To that end, Ye’s ensemble was surprisingly full of success, a festival-headlining manual trek from early classics like “All Falls Down” and “Jesus Walks” to this summer’s singles. Donda. Watching a Kanye hit set is overwhelming in 2021. The last few times we saw him in a stadium this year, his goal was to narrow down a tracklist for the new album, on several occasions; her current Sunday Service events, meanwhile, bring to the fore the choir’s repertoire of christified rap and R&B covers and slippery deconstructions of Ye’s hits. Unless you see him on a real album tour, don’t count on the classics, and Ye hasn’t toured in five years. There is pressure there; one of the biggest hitmakers on the planet was in attendance, and while reconciliation is the name of the game, nothing short of excellence could be received by an audience too accustomed to pit the two as a failure. You hit it hard and delivered, except when he pushed too far into the back catalog and forgot words and in sporadic moments where he slipped into micromanaging the gig mid-performance. Jams like “Touch the Sky”, “Bound 2” and “I Wonder” have tickled the nostalgia of a fandom who has not taken such a nostalgic journey with this artist since the start of his Republican Gospel era. running.

Drake is an interesting guest for a benefit concert like this. His music doesn’t really center big socio-political issues in the same way that Kanye’s records like “Jesus Walks” and “New Slaves” are able to balance personal struggles and examinations of the cultural divisions that fuel them. He writes convincingly about love, trust and resentment, but in instances where he has ventured into conversations involving social justice, he has at times lacked the polish and boast that seems to come naturally to the star. of Toronto when he speaks to his exes and enemies. For Drake, this gig was a chance to side with an obvious good cause at a time when people want answers on Astroworld, where he was a special guest. Drake opened with Donda“24” of prayer – it’s a fascinating confluence, one day we heard Travis Scott break his silence to point out that he is “a man of God”, to see Drake go there in a gospel song during his first major performance since the tragedy – but then blessed the stadium with an ensemble promoting the songs her Spotify page deems most popular. Approved“Way 2 Sexy”, “Knife Talk” and “Girls Want Girls” flanked the Lil Baby crew “Wants and Needs”, Future hit “Life Is Good”, Lil Durk’s non-album hit “Laugh Now Cry Later, “and others. It was immediately clear that Drake is the most technically gifted rapper and the most refined singer, but hearing his performance in” 24 “punctuated how Kanye is a less trained singer. but more passionate. A tentative list that circulated earlier today suggested appearances of “Glow,” “Blessings” and “Pop Style,” past collaborations where the divergent personalities and skills of Drake and Kanye have come together. combined to do magic, but the closest we got to a tandem performance was Drake hitting the “Hey, hey, hey” when Ye played his Thank me later production “Find Your Love” and a callback where Ye rapped his verse of “Forever” for the first time in nearly a decade. Maybe they missed an opportunity to really put the buddy act on top, but it was still monumental for these two to share a scene so soon after all the threats and subliminals they traded. .

This meeting is so cool that Drake’s recent hit list had a bunch of clichés that we all figured out as smooth disses from Ye. Aside from “Forever” and Kanye’s attempt on “All Day,” whose words he forgot, the shock of the night was Drake’s tease of “No Friends in the Industry”, although the track was cut. before the fireworks display: “Your circle is shrinking, see some boys escape / The rest of them are guilty by association. It’s refreshing to have a rap beef resolution without bloodshed or litigation, even forced, but hard to know where this truce goes from here, or how it will go for Larry Hoover if he doesn’t. did not get leniency last fall when Trump pardoned Lil Wayne, Kodak Black, Death Row Records co-founder Michael Harris, and dozens of other endangered people. I’m not sure anyone came out of it with a more nuanced and broader understanding of the issues incarcerated Americans face during and after the lockdown. Until we see an accounting where all the money “raised” went or whether the Biden-Harris administration will bow to the show and grant Hoover a pardon, it was a great night for fans of both artists, a rare moment of peace in the most static stretch of Drake and Ye’s never-ending relationship to date, and more questions than answers.


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