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See Kendrick Lamar Give Surprise Commencement Speech at Compton College

Kendrick Lamar delivered a surprise commencement speech Friday at Compton College’s Class of 2024 graduation.

The rapper, a native of the Los Angeles city and an unannounced “special guest” at the ceremony, praised both Compton and the students in his remarks.

“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 told the graduates.

“I know what it takes. You had a lot of hardship, not only in your house, in your communities, but most importantly, in yourself, and that’s the toughest thing to overcome. We still growing day by day, brick by brick, making sure we develop, not only in physical form but in the spiritual as well.”

Lamar’ speech begins at the 43-minute mark of the video below:

“Seeing you 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 traveled the world, there’s no place like this one right here. No place,” Lamar continued. 

“And I still believe in everything we’re doing, brick by brick, it’s time that we change the narratives. Some people tell us this generation don’t have what it takes. Gen Z. We talk about it all day. They try to pull us down and say we don’t know what we’re doing. They wrong though.  Because not only you all have what it takes, you have something bigger: You have the heart and the courage to be independent thinkers. There’s nothing more valuable than that.”

The rapper then talked about how the graduates could apply what they’ve learned as independent thinkers and spread their message to the community, and especially the youth.

“This degree you have right here is just as big as any degree. I don’t care what school, what institution. Compton College, this Compton degree is just as big,” Lamar added.


“Now it’s all about taking these resources and taking what you learned and applying. It’s as simple as that. You’ll have hardships, you gonna have tribulations as you had coming up here, but guess what? You have someone special in your corner and all around you and that’s God, period. Every step of the way.”

Lamar will return to the Los Angeles stage in his usual capacity on June 19 as the rapper hosts The Pop Out — Ken and Friends concert at the Kia Forum on Juneteenth, a special one-off gig that will be streamed live on Prime Video.

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