When it comes to Kanye there is no doubt that his legacy will live as one of the greatest artists ever. When it comes to producers he’s Top 5. When it comes to impact on the culture there’s no doubt he’s Top 5. Let’s be honest here. Kanye West inspired Drake’s style after he dropped his album “808 & Heartbreak”. This one album was a pivotal turning point in hip hop music that helped birth a new style and subgenre of hip hop. The album also created a clear divide in hip hop between the old generation of hip hop that was all about bars and hard-hitting bass. As compared to the new generation that uses auto-tune and is more melodies and the. Before this album hip hop was a boxing sport. And there’s no crying in hip hop. 808 & Heartbreak changed this. Now it was OK to express your feelings instead of holding up the facade that you’re OK. You gonna get these emotions in these raps which the hip hop purists wanted no part of, and Kanye was the one who took most of the slack for it. That’s until a Toronto-born rapper by the name of Drake broke onto the scene with his new mixtape called “So Far Gone”.
So Far Gone was so far left and different from any mixtape that it can be considered his first album. The album was filled with melodic singing, auto-tune, emotional turns and twists, and also bars. These are all the things that Kanye was was being crucified for when he dropped his album 808 & Heartbreak. But when the Toronto rapper did it. It seemed to be more well-received. Maybe this was the start of the love-hate relationship/boxing match that has occurred through the years and would start a rap beef between two of hip hop's greatest to ever do it. But let’s not get into the beef. There are plenty of blogs that have covered the Kanye West vs. Drake Beef. Here’s one if you need it. (Drake & Kanye West's Relationship Timeline Prior to Concert (highsnobiety.com). Instead, let’s get to the concert.
On November 8th the internet went crazy as Kanye West and J. Prince posted a video to Instagram with Kanye West calling for the Drake & Ye beef to come to an end, and most importantly. A concert. Not just any concert. Thee concert! A concert that featured only Ye and Drake. Nobody thought this would happen. Including Drake. In a sense, Ye had forced his hand by; 1. Having one of his mentors and father figures J. Price endorse Ye’s message about needing to squash the beef and even perform together. 2. The concert was a benefit concert for one of the most polarizing figures in the culture, Larry Hoover. How could he say no without losing his Certified Lover Boy title? In my eyes, Drake had no choice and reluctantly agreed to the concert. So, the date was set, and it was finally real. On December 9th the concert of a lifetime would be happening.
Flash forward to December 9th. Ye and Drake spottings had been pretty much radio silent on both social media accounts. But when walking to the stadium it was apparent that this was actually happening. The sold-out LA Coliseum was the host for what would be bigger than any USC game that would be played there. Additionally, the number of people there could easily overwhelm the small ratio of staff there. When looking back the most disappointing thing about the concert was that there was no actual merch from either artist. The only thing present for sale were Free Larry Hover sweaters and hoodies. This was obviously a missed opportunity on both artists’ parts to get a bag. But let’s just say for the benefit’s sake they wanted to keep it about Larry Hoover.
But was it really about Larry Hoover? The concert started with Ye and Drake walking down the coliseum steps while a choir sang. But there was not one mention of Larry Hoover. I wasn’t expecting a telethon or CashApp donation call to action. But at the same time there was no mention of Larry Hoover, no speaker that came out, no speeches, even the performer’s Drake and Ye barely even mentioned his name or the cause. The cause seemed to be about the concert more than any actionable steps to get Larry Hoover free. This was the Kanye and Drake show!
So that leads to just how good was the show? The show was amazing. There were surprisingly no opening acts. Just the two legends. Kanye performed first. He performed around the whole stage and gave people wanted they wanted. Old Kanye hits. From “All Falls Down” to “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”. Kanye performed the songs of his older material with 2 or 3 songs from his post-Yeezus catalog. Kanye was definitely giving the people a show. The most viral being the performance of “Find Your Love” by Drake that appeared on Drake’s album “Thank Me Later” which was actually produced by Kanye. Everyone felt Kanye’s heartfelt plea to his wife Kim Kardashian West to come back. It was 808 & Heartbreak reminiscent.
Now that leads us to our last performer. Drakeeeee!!!!! Let’s remember that Drake was kind of forced to perform. And it showed in his performance. He didn’t have that bounce that you usually see. Also, his song selection told a lot about how he felt about performing. This isn’t Drake featuring Drake. Drake did perform Kanye’s single “24” of his album Donda which he performed way better than Kanye could’ve. But to see Drake in his element and in his bag would've been a high. There were some stand out songs he did perform such as "No Friends In The Industry" and "God's Plan". He even shouted to the crowd to help him sing 21 Savage's part on "Knife Talk".
The magic of the whole concert was seeing both Kanye and Drake go back and forth on stage. Kanye performing “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” and seeing Drake hype him up. Then seeing Drake perform “God’s Plan” and seeing Kanye right there singing word for word. It was only right that they both end the night with their song “Forever” that appeared on Lebron James soundtrack More Than A Game. For what was more than just a concert. This was Ye and Drake on the same stage. Something that may never happen again. As both artists embraced and rode off into their respective security transports, I couldn't help but think. This was a special night. One you had to be there to believe or had to stream to believe if you have Amazon Prime. But I only say this because it ain't telling when the beef will start again. It also ain't no telling if the concert actually will help get Larry Hoover free. But in the meantime, here’s a video recap of some of the best performances of the night.