Who is Larry Hoover and why are Drake and Kanye West throwing him a benefit concert?

You may have heard recently that Ye (the artist formerly known as Kanye West) and Drake have squashed their beef with each other and are now on good terms.

Ye even put a photo of the two together on his Instagram page, making it one of 12 posts total, to signify the new phase in their relationship.

Now the two are teaming up for a December 7 show called the Free Larry Hoover Benefit Concert at the LA Coliseum in California. Tickets are on sale today.

“I believe this event will not only bring awareness to our cause but prove to people everywhere how much more we can accomplish when we lay our pride aside and come together,” Ye said in a statement.

Who is Larry Hoover?

Hoover, 70, is a gang leader in Chicago. He was sentenced to 200 years in prison (six life sentences) for one murder conviction and additional charges of extortion, conspiracy, money laundering and running a criminal enterprise incurred while he was incarcerated.

Hoover took control of the Black Gangster Disciples Nation in the early ’70s and operated out of Chicago’s South Side. They eventually changed their name to the Gangster Disciples. Hoover reportedly ran the gang from prison until around 1993 when he renounced violence and claimed to be reformed.

In 1995, he was indicted for running the gang from prison.

Why did Larry Hoover renounce violence?

Hoover read the biography of Mayor Richard Daley and came to the idea that violence wasn’t the best way forward. He made education mandatory for the Gangster Disciples and told them to “go to school, learn trades and develop … talents and skills, so that we will become stronger in society.”

He changed the G.D. from Gangster Disciple to Growth and Development. The new organization branched out into nonprofits and helped needy children, unregistered voters and protests to fight school closings.

Even as his number of good deeds grew, so did the Gangster Disciples, swelling to 15,000 members in five states. Drug profits for the gang reached the millions.

Hoover was transferred to a better prison in Vienna, Illinois, but when authorities wiretapped his meetings, they found he was still running the gang.

Informants attested that Hoover’s nonprofits were actually money laundering operations and no money went to help anyone in need.

Hoover’s lawyer called that notion that he was still running the gang a ridiculous one.

“It seems almost impossible that he would be able to communicate that to anyone if he were trying to,” attorney Justin Moore said. “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. To have his name continuously thrown into the affairs of others and to be used as a scapegoat for criminal activity he has no connection to needs to cease.”

The Free Larry Hoover Concert

The concert will be Drake’s first public appearance since he appeared onstage with Travis Scott at Astroworld, where ten people died in a catastrophic crowd crush.

In 2018, West met with Donald Trump to plea for clemency for Hoover. He’s hoping the concert will help raise awareness and possibly get Hoover’s sentence commuted.