Kendrick Lamar Showed Off His Hometown Pride During His Surprise Compton College Commencement Speech

Kendrick Lamar’s love for Compton, California is long documented. His hometown is often a central theme in songs, music influences, and creative collaborators. But Kendrick’s show of support for his stomping grounds extend far beyond his professional endeavors.

Yesterday (June 7), Kendrick dropped into Compton College’s 2024 commencement ceremony. In a surprising turn of events for graduates, the institution announced the “Not Like Us” emcee would deliver its official commencement speech.

During the address, Kendrick expressed his pride in the graduates and how they were carrying the torch for the city. Read the “DNA.” rapper’s speech transcript below. Further, you can watch Compton College’s full 2024 commencement ceremony, Kendrick Lamar’s remarks begins at the 42:47 minute mark.

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