The long-running feud between Drake and Kanye West has apparently come to a close, and it appears there’s a bigger mission at hand as both are committed to performing at a benefit concert to help free Larry Hoover from prison.
The two rap icons appeared at Dave Chappelle’s concert in Toronto recently to publicly end their feud, and it was then revealed that the two will appear at a concert slated for December 9 which is meant to aid efforts to get the life sentence of Larry Hoover commuted. J. Prince broke the news in a post on Instagram showing him alongside Drake and Kanye West. But there are those who will ask, “who is Larry Hoover and why is there a push to get him free?”
To the federal government, Larry Hoover is a 70-year old notorious criminal known as “King Larry’, the head and co-founder of the Black Gangster Disciples Nation that grew out of Chicago, Illinois to be a criminal enterprise that spread throughout the Midwest and the rest of the country. To many others including Kanye West, Hoover is someone who has found redemption behind bars, dedicating his life to helping those in his organization and those in Chicago and elsewhere better themselves through education and denouncing violence.
Larry Hoover was born in Jackson, Mississippi on November 30, 1950. He and his family moved to Chicago when Hoover was four years old. He got into the street life at age 13, joining up with the Supreme Gangsters crew and rising through their ranks to obtain a role of leadership. In 1969, he’d ally himself with another rival, David Barksdale, and his crew to form the Black Gangster Disciple Nation. Hoover and the Gangster Disciples would dominate the South Side of Chicago, but in 1973 he and another member were charged with the murder of a dealer named William Young who was reportedly stealing from them. Hoover and the other suspect would receive a sentence of 150 to 200 years, serving time in the Statesville Correctional Facility.
In 1974, Hoover assumed the role of leader after Barksdale died from injuries sustained in an earlier shooting. He oversaw the expansion of the Gangster Disciples outside of prison and in Statesville, compelling the warden’s office to look to him as someone who could help quell violence in the institution. Hoover began to instill reforms in the organization, even renouncing violence in 1993 which helped him gain popularity back in Chicago as they supported community rebuilding and peaceful protests. He even stated that “GD” now stood for “Growth & Development”, and helped create a music label and a nonprofit organization that helped register voters. Hoover also mandated that every member get an education and learn a trade in order to be affiliated. But in 1995, Hoover was indicted on charges of continuing to run a criminal enterprise after a 17-year investigation using wiretaps and is now serving his sentence in a federal supermax prison facility in Colorado. “This is a 70-year-old man in the twilight of his years who has serious medical complications and is seeking release to finally be with his wife, children, and grandchildren after nearly 50 years of separation,” Hoover’s attorney, Justin Moore stated in 2018 as Hoover sought to be freed under the First Step Act which allows those incarcerated for charges related to crack cocaine distribution to challenge their sentences.
Kanye has been open about his support of Hoover’s release. He sat down with former President Donald Trump in 2018 to ask him to commute his sentence. In his latest album, DONDA, he included recorded messages by Larry Hoover Jr., Hoover’s son on “Jesus Lord” and “Jesus Lord, Pt. 2”. Those messages point out the flaws of the American justice system and talk about the effect of his father’s imprisonment on him and his family. On his recent Drink Champs podcast appearance, Ye said “I got involved cause all my n***as is GD,” when asked about his efforts by hosts N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN. Larry Hoover Jr. had also been behind the scenes imploring both Ye and Drake to put their differences aside along with J. Prince to make this concert happen.