Inside Kanye West and Drake’s Free Larry Hoover Benefit Concert

Thursday night’s event at the Los Angeles Coliseum was a concert of equal parts and a crypt burial, with a clear, sometimes unclear relationship between the two performers of the night: Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and his special guest was Drake. The performance was billed as a benefit concert for Larry Hoover, a former radical street gang leader from Chicago who is currently serving six life sentences at a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado.

Ye’s love of his hometown of Illinois is perhaps one of the only factors in his career, especially in recent years as his marriage has been heavily publicized, and his mental health struggles. and political leanings have created a dizzying legacy for the superstar. But this week’s show eclipsed much of that, thanks to its gorgeous set design and playlist of the musician’s best hits, including “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. Me, “” Gold Digger”, “Stronger” and “All of the Lights”. “

The Concert for the Good – dedicated to raising awareness about prison reform and sentencing – was streamed live on Amazon Prime Video and shown in select Imax theaters nationwide, including the Theater China TCL in Los Angeles.

The show featured a futurist saucer-shaped stage, designed by Jeremy Thom, that looked as if it had fallen to the center of the overall more than 1 million square feet of the outdoor venue. Lighting design follows the same visual cues; The color is cosmic, fleeting like a supernova, and complemented by just enough smoke to cover Ye and Drake as they orbit each other.

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At one point during a “Bound 2” performance, the song went viral on a music video where his estranged wife Kim Kardashian West was seen topless on a motorcycle, Ye called over the microphone as he encourages people to shine their phone flashlights: “Light it up, light it up! It’s like a solar system tonight.”

Drake then joined Ye on stage to perform “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” from his third studio album, Graduate. In the middle of his verse – after a line about his late mother, Donda West, who inspired a full album and creative studio – he thanked the deceased Virgil Abloh, his friend and frequent collaborator, who passed away last month following a private battle with cancer.

Drake’s portion of the show is dominated by songs from his latest album, Certified lover boy, including “No friends in the industry”, “Life is good”, “IMY2” and “Laugh now cry later”. Meanwhile, Ye performed songs from her entire catalog.

“I appreciate Kanye for having me here tonight,” Drake said onstage Thursday. “It is important that we make this a reality. As we passed through those domes right there, it felt like a dream. It feels weird. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, to be on stage with my idol as he’s scrolling through one of the best categories in music, period. The rapper also shared his appreciation for the audience who have worked hard to return to the live concert event, especially in light of the cancellation of performances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hoover, the show’s honoree, wasn’t talked about much throughout the night, but Ye closed the roughly two-and-a-half-hour performance with a prayer suspended in the air as he and Drake walked away. descend majestically down the slope of the stage to enter one of the locations with several dark tunnels.

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