Kendrick Lamar made a surprise appearance at Compton College’s graduation ceremony this past weekend, catching everyone off guard and offering some heartfelt inspiration to the Class of 2024.

The commencement took place on Friday, June 7, and no one expected the famed rapper to take the stage. But there he was, ready to share a few words with the graduates. Lamar began by expressing his pride for his hometown, his alma mater, and most importantly, the graduates themselves. ‘I wanted to come out here just to tell y’all how much I appreciate y’all,’ he began. ‘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 to acknowledge the hardships faced by the students, stating, ‘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 we develop, not only in physical form but in the spiritual as well.’

He emphasized the significance of the event and the graduates’ achievements. ‘Seeing y’all out here, it’s 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 [the] future for me. I think we breed some of the most incredible individuals: creatives, intellectuals, talent. We had it 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 also addressed the stereotypes often thrown at the current generation, urging the graduates to prove the naysayers wrong. ‘And I still believe in everything we’re doing, brick by brick, I still believe. 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. You know why? Because not only [do] y’all have what it takes; y’all have something bigger: y’all have the heart, y’all have the courage to be independent thinkers. Independent thinkers — there’s nothing more valuable than that.’

Lamar concluded his motivating speech by emphasizing the value of their Compton College degree. ‘This degree that y’all have right here is just as big as any degree — I don’t care what school, I don’t care what institution. Compton College — this Compton degree is just as big. Now it’s all about taking these resources and taking what you learned and applying them. It’s as simple as that.’

In recent months, Lamar has been relatively low-key, though he appears to be stepping back into the public eye. He and his company, pgLang, have announced an event called ‘The Pop Out,’ scheduled for June 19 at the Forum in Inglewood. The news was shared via his Instagram Story, and it promises appearances from his ‘friends.’ Mustard has confirmed his attendance, and general tickets are now on sale.

Kendrick Lamar’s unexpected appearance made the Compton College graduation unforgettable, leaving the Class of 2024 with words of wisdom and a sense of pride in their accomplishments and community.

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