Kanye West has been campaigning for Larry Hoover to be granted clemency for over three years. Find out everything you need to know about him here.
Larry Hoover has been in prison since 1973. While he’s been serving a sentence that would keep him in prison for the rest of his life, the gang leader has gained a few famous people trying to get him released. Rappers Kanye West, 44, and Drake, 35, ended their long-standing beef to stage a benefit concert for Larry in Los Angeles on December 9. Ye shared a photo announcing the concert on Saturday November 20. While it’s impressive that Larry seemed to be part of why Yeezy and Drizzy ended their years-long feud, there’s much more to know about Larry Hoover and his sentence.
1. Larry Hoover co-founded the Gangster Disciples
Larry, 70, was a founding member of the Gangster Disciples during the 1960s. The gang is estimated to have between 25,000 and 50,000 members, according to The Justice Department. The gang is active in 31 states and 110 cities, and the main way that the gang makes money is through drug sales. Larry had led the gang, even when he was behind bars. During one of his sentences, Larry became motivated to use the gang for political purposes. From prison, he started a group called 21st Century Vote, which was focused on registering young voters, according to The New York Times.
2. He was arrested for murder in 1973
Larry was first convicted in 1973, when he and fellow Gangster Disciple member Andrew Howard murdered a drug dealer named William Young, via The Chicago Reader. Both were given life sentences of 150 to 200 years. There had been campaigns to have Larry released on parole since at least the 1990s. Former Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer had spoken out in favor of Larry getting parole in 1993, during a campaign to have him released on the 20th anniversary of his sentence. The former mayor noted Larry’s efforts to help inmates reform. “Mr. Hoover has been instrumental in motivating young men who had been involved in committing acts of violence and distributing drugs into individuals who are making sincere efforts to transform their lives,” he said, via Chicago Reader.
3. He was convicted on conspiracy charges in the 1990s
Larry was tried again in 1997 for drug conspiracy, extortion and other charges, via The New York Times. Prosecutors claimed that the felon continued to lead the Gangster Disciples, while he was still in prison. He was found guilty on charges and transferred to a federal prison in Indiana, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. He’s currently serving his sentence at the Florence, Colorado United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Security Facility.
4. Kanye asked Trump to free Larry Hoover
During Kanye’s controversial October 11, 2018 meeting with then-President Donald Trump, the rapper brought Larry’s lawyer to the White House with him. He also explained why he felt so strongly about the case. ” So it’s very important for me to get Hoover out, because in an alternate universe, I am him. And I have to go and get him free because he was doing positive inside of Chicago, just like how I’m moving back to Chicago and it’s not just about, you know, getting on stage and being an entertainer and having a monolithic voice that’s forced to be a specific party,” he said, via USA Today.
5. Larry Hoover’s son was featured on ‘Donda’
When Kanye dropped his long awaited tenth album Donda, the song “Jesus Lord” (and “Jesus Lord Pt. 2”) featured a voicemail that the rapper received from Larry Hoover Jr. He thanked Kanye for meeting with Trump to discuss his father’s case. He also noted that Larry doesn’t have plans to “call any shots for the Gangster Disciples,” nor did he while he was in prison.
Kanye isn’t the first rapper to have references to Larry on one of his albums. Larry appeared on The Geto Boys’ 1996 album The Resurrection, where he left voicemails that were released on two of the tracks, including album opener “Ghetto Prisoner” and the fittingly titled “A Visit With Larry Hoover.”