Kendrick Lamar surprises students with commencement speech at Compton’s graduation ceremony

Kendrick Lamar surprised the 2024 graduating class at Compton College with a commencement speech, telling students he was proud of them and the city.

The Grammy and Pulitzer winner is a Compton native who had nothing but appreciation for the city he grew up in, saying that it was still “growing” not just physically but spiritually as well.

“I wanted to come out here just to tell y’all how much I appreciate y’all. I’m proud of the city of Compton, I’m proud of Compton College, most importantly I’m proud of the graduates out here,” Lamar said.

“I know what it takes. You had a lot of hardship, not only in your house, in your communities, but most importantly, within yourself, and that’s the toughest thing to overcome.

“We still growing day by day, brick by brick, making sure that we develop, not only in physical form but in the spiritual as well.

“Seeing y’all out here, it is not only a representation of the world, but it’s a representation of me. When I walk out in these cities, in these countries, I can be proud and say, ‘This is where I’m from.’

“I still believe in Compton, Compton always been a future for me. I think we bring some of the most incredible individuals: Creatives, intellectuals, talent. We had since day one, that’s why I always scream this city. I travelled the world, there’s no place like this one right here.”

Compton College Commencement 2024

The “Not Like Us” rapper told the graduates to apply what they’ve learnt at college to become independent thinkers.

“I still believe it’s time that we change the narratives. You know, some people tell us this generation don’t have what it takes… They’re wrong, though – you know why? Because not only do y’all have what it takes, but y’all have something even bigger,” he said.

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“Y’all have a heart. Y’all had the courage to be independent thinkers. There’s nothing more valuable than that. Y’all can go out here and tell and express your thoughts and say it with conviction and passion and stand on it and be unapologetic about it.”

Reminding students that their degrees from Compton College was “just as big as any degree,” Lamar asked the students to use what they’ve learnt in the world.

“It’s all about taking these resources, taking what you learned and applying them.

“I want y’all to go out here, celebrate yourself, enjoy yourself.

“Or keep that spirit within you, because it don’t stop. From here, it don’t stop.”

Lamar has previously talked about the issues plaguing his community, and incorporated them into his music, saying: “Being from the city of Compton and knowing the parks that I played at in the neighbourhoods, I’ve always thought of how great the opportunity would be to give back to my community off of what I do in music.”

The commencement speech marks Lamar’s first appearance in public since his feud with Drake took over both the charts and the news. Lamar will also be performing on 19 June at the The Pop Out – Ken & Friends concert at the Kia Forum.

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