Kanye West staged his first headlining performance in five years at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Thursday night, teaming up with longtime frenemy Drake for a concert that Kanye organized in order to raise awareness and support for the release of Gangster Disciples co-founder Larry Hoover.
The evening began with a few hymns performed by Kanye’s Sunday Service gospel choir, including slowed-down, harmonious versions of Adele’s “Easy On Me” and Fugees’ “Ready or Not.” As the choir sang “Ultralight Beam,” Kanye and Drake entered the coliseum through one of its arches. And thus began, one of the most anticipated concerts in recent memory.
Kanye kicked off his headlining set with a prayer that segued into “Praise God.” “Wait, wait! Hold up, let’s take it back to day one,” he then shouted, stopping halfway through the opening track. And with that, the Chicago rapper rewound the clock some two decades and dusted off early hits including “Jesus Walks,” “All Falls Down,” “Gold Digger,” “Touch the Sky,” and “Stronger.”
As the night proceeded, the hits kept coming: “All of the Lights,” “Black Skinhead,” “Mercy,” “Good Life,” and “Flashing Lights.” He also acknowledged Drake’s presence by covering the Thank Me Later track “Find Your Love.”
Before handing the mic off to Drizzy, Kanye performed “Runaway” in tribute to his estranged wife, Kim Kardashian. “I want you back, specifically Kimberly,” Kanye sang at one point. He and Drake then joined forces for the first time for a spirited rendition of “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.”
When it was finally Drake’s turn, the Six God launched into his own cover of Kanye’s “24,” before rattling off several tracks from his latest project, Certified Lover Boy. Among the songs performed were “No Friends in the Industry,” “Laugh Now Cry Later,” “Girls Want Girls,” “Way 2 Sexy,” and “Knife Talk.” Throughout Drake’s set, Kanye cheered on his former foe with high fives and pointed fingers.
A second, shorter set from Kanye followed, as he ran through “Hurricane,” “Father Stretch My Hands Pt 1,” “N****s in Paris,” “Bound 2,” and “Come to Life.” To close the night, Kanye and Drake once again came together to perform “Forever.”
“I appreciate Kanye for letting me do this,” Drake told the crowd. “It’s important for us to make this happen. Being on stage with one of the most iconic artists with one of the iconic catalogs performing it here tonight is crazy.”
Oddly, despite coming together in the name of Larry Hoover, neither Kanye nor Drake said his name at any point in the evening. Instead, the only mention of the Gangster Disciples’ co-founder came via the concert’s high-priced merchandise that featured the phrase “FREE LARRY HOOVER.”
The concert was livestreamed for free on Amazon Prime Video, and also screened at IMAX Theaters. Proceeds from the concert will reportedly be donated to criminal justice reform organizations including Ex-Cons for Community and Social Change, Hustle 2.0, and Uptown People’s Law Center.
Watch a full video rip of the concert and see the setlist below.
Ready or Not (Fugees cover)
Easy on Me (Adele cover)
Back to Life (Soul 2 Soul)
All Falls Down
Touch the Sky
All of the Lights
Say You Will
Find Your Love” (Drake cover)
Can’t Tell Me Nothing (with Drake)
24 (Kanye West cover)
Wants and Needs
No Friends in the Industry
Life is Good
Laugh Now Cry Later
Girls Want Girls
In the Bible
Way 2 Sexy
Father Stretch My Hands Pt 1 (with choir)
Niggas in Paris
Come to Life
Forever (with Drake)