According to Rap-A-Lot Records CEO J. Prince, Drake agreed to squash his longstanding beef with Kanye West after being clued in to “the bigger picture” surrounding the forthcoming ‘Free Larry Hoover’ benefit concert.
Set to go down in Los Angeles tonight (December 9), the show will mark Drake and West’s first time onstage together since 2016 (when West was brought out as a surprise guest at that year’s OVO Fest).
West will headline the show, confirming Drake’s appearance as a special guest last month. The move came after the pair reunited a week earlier, squashing a beef that had run since as early as 2009.
The show itself serves as an effort of West’s to raise awareness and advocate for the freedom of Larry Hoover, who is currently serving six life sentences for charges relating to gang activity.
In a new interview with Billboard, Prince said Hoover himself incited the rekindling of Drake and West’s former friendship. “He planted the seed,” Prince said. “He wanted to see Kanye and Drake come together in the name of peace. His son Larry Jr. was hanging out with Kanye a lot, and of course, Drake is my son, but [Larry Hoover] planted the seed, and I watered it.”
After meeting with Prince at the start of November, West extended an olive branch to Drake, inviting him to appear alongside him at tonight’s concert (which will stream globally via Amazon). At the time, West said: “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.”
On his role in convincing Drake to accept the invitation, Prince told Billboard that he “painted the bigger picture” for the ‘Certified Lover Boy’ rapper. “I let him know that this is a moment and movement that can save lives. I believe by Drake and Kanye being an example, as two of hip-hop’s top artists, that lives would be saved.”
Noting his endeavour to “tap into a power greater than the anger or whatever these guys had for one another”, Prince said he believes that the sentiment behind the reunion “is going to be imitated”, and said Drake was spurred to accept West’s offer because “it’s important to be an example to those that look up to you”.
Also mentioned in the Billboard interview was the recent passing of Virgil Abloh. Drake and West were in attendance at Abloh’s funeral this week, and according to Prince, the acclaimed designer and DJ’s death aided in reuniting the pair. “Virgil was a guy that both of them loved very deeply,” he said.
“I know how they feel about him in their hearts. So, most definitely, conversations took place with both of them that I’m not even knowledgeable of. But Virgil loved both of them – he never would choose sides. I know that it bought joy to his heart to have both of his brothers together before he passed. And if he was here, he would be at that show, rooting for them in the front row.”
Earlier this week, aerial footage captured by a photojournalist revealed that an ambitious stage is under construction for the ‘Free Larry Hoover’ benefit concert.