Rapper Kanye West and singer/rapper Drake have had a 12-year feud that surprisingly ended last night at a benefit concert for former “Gangster Disciple’s” leader Larry Hoover. Hoover is currently serving a lifetime sentence in federal prison where he spends most of his time in solitary confinement.
Organized by rap executive Prince J the concert was ended to free Hoover and raise money for non-profits focusing on prison reform. Although it’s unlikely Hoover will be released, the concert’s primary goal was to expose the injustice that occurs within the prison system.
Prince J comments, “This system for sentencing, this prison system rooted in racism, it’s time for change”. It’s not just to shine a light on Larry Hoover, but other victims of this system. We feel strongly that it’s time for redemption.”
Hoover’s case is complex and unique. Hoover is in prison for murder and running a criminal enterprise in Chicago. These are state and federal charges and unfortunately, Hoover has exhausted all his appeals. With the narrow parameters of the First Step Act, Hoover’s only chance for freedom is through state or presidential pardon which are both extremely rare.
Prosecutors and judges believe releasing Hoover would be unjust and claim his leadership was responsible for the high murder rate during the 70s and 80s in Chicago. This claim could be true but many people believe Hoover’s appeals have been denied due to his high level of influence.
In 1987, Hoover rebranded the former “Gangster Disciples” as “GD” for “Growth and Development. He declared the new organization would focus on community empowerment. He even founded another organization called, “21st Century Vote” which quickly earned Hoover political recognition and power. Hoover’s only chance for freedom is through state or presidential pardon which are both extremely rare.
Hoover hopes this concert will build enough awareness and momentum for a pardon. The concert had roughly 70,000 attendees and was talked about all night on social media. I respect Drake and Kanye for putting their beef aside to highlight an important cause.
You can rewatch the concert with Amazon Prime, however, you must have an account!