Kendrick Lamar Gives Surprise Commencement Address

Hip-Hop artist Kendrick Lamar popped out at the Compton College graduation on June 8 to deliver a commencement speech for the graduating class of 2024. The appearance marked the Compton rapper’s first public appearance since his feud with Canadian rapper Aubrey “Drake” Graham. 

As People Magazine reports, during the speech, Lamar spoke of his pride in the city that raised him and the college’s graduating class. “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 continued, “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.”

Lamar took time to encourage the graduates, all of whom belong to Gen Z, the generation following Millennials. As a Millennial himself, Lamar appears to be aware of the criticisms aimed at both his own generation and Gen Z. “Some people tell us, ‘This generation, they 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. You know why, because not only y’all have what it takes, but y’all have something even bigger. Y’all have the heart, y’all have the courage to be independent thinkers.”

Lamar ended his speech on a positive note, telling the graduates, “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.”

As People reports, Lamar’s next concert date, also marking his first appearance onstage since the war of words with Drake, is set for Juneteenth at a one-night-only event presented by pgLang and Free Lunch. The “Ken and Friends” event is part of The Pop Out, a concert scheduled for the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California. The Pop Out, references a line from Lamar’s now viral diss track aimed at Drake, “Like That.” That show will also be livestreamed via Amazon Music and Twitch.

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