Rapper Kanye West appeared at the Harris County Jail on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 for two unannounced jailhouse shows, one for more than 200 men at the 701 San Jacinto building, and another for a smaller group of women at the Baker Street jail.
Rapper Kanye West spit it through the razor wireon Friday with two secret performances at the Harris County Jail.
Spotted quietly unloading trucks of sound equipment at the San Jacinto Street lock-up a little before noon, the “Golddigger” singer’s entourage stirred buzz and drew spectators as they prepped for the unannounced jailhouse shows.
After kicking off with one performance for more than 200 men at the 701 San Jacinto building, West ducked down into the underground tunnel and turned up in the main Baker Street jail to do a second show for a smaller crowd of women.
“This is a mission, not a show,” he told the jailhouse crowd repeatedly.
Men in orange put their hands up and smiled as they watched the singer and his gaggle of dancers, wearing navy jail-like scrubs for the show. Looking down from the second tier, men pressed up against the glass as they listened to hits from his gospel-themed Jesus is King album, according to video released by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
The concert comes two days before West is slated to speak at at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood church ,where he’ll have a morning conversation about faith followed by an evening performance with his choir.
Though the Lakewood visit has been in the works for a little longer, the jailhouse concerts came together at the last minute, after West’ people reached out to Sheriff Ed Gonzalez on Wednesday to ask whether the county’s top cop was down for a secret show. The sheriff agreed, promising to keep it on the downlow and not tip off media in advance.
Before offering to spit fire on San Jacinto, Ye’s people called up officials at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and offered a free, live concert at one of the state’s 104 prisons.
They said n0.
“We don’t do that,” said spokesman Jeremy Desel, adding, “There’s a process.”
But last month, former football quarterback Tim Tebow visited the Hughes Unit in Gatesville, where he talked about his faith and got down on the ground for a push-up contest.
“We had fun, but I got smoked!” he wrote on Instagram afterwards. “So encouraged by what God is doing at Alfred Hughes prison and grateful for the time spent with my new brothers in Christ today!”
Tebow’s talk came as part of a religious-affiliated group event, Desel said.
Celeb prison visits have a long history in American lock-ups, with singers from Jerry Garcia to J.Cole stepping behind the razor wire for shows and sit-down conversations. Most famously, in 1968 Johnny Cash serenaded state inmates at the max-security Folsom Prison in California, later turning the hoosegow act into a live album titled At Folsom Prison.