Kendrick Lamar delivered a surprise commencement speech at the 2024 graduation ceremony for Compton College, marking his first public appearance since his high-profile feud with Drake.

Taking the stage during the midpoint of the ceremony, much to the surprise of the class of 2024, Lamar expressed pride for his city, and hope for the next generation. “I still believe in Compton,” he said. “Compton has always been the future for me. I think we breed some of the most incredible individuals, creators, intellectuals, talent. We had it since day one… I traveled the world, it’s no place like this one right here… I still believe in everything that we’re doing. Brick by brick.”

Continuing, Lamar turned his attention to the future. “It’s time that we change the narratives,” he said. “Some people tell us, ‘This generation don’t have what it takes, Gen Z.’ They try to pull us down and say we don’t know what we’re doing. They’re 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 can go out here and tell and express y’all thoughts and say it with conviction and passion and stand on it and be unapologetic about it.”

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Elsewhere in the speech, Lamar shared advice for the graduates, encouraging them to continue to grow with humility. Watch a clip of the remarks below.

The speech follows Lamar’s feud with Drake, which spawned several chart-topping hits, including the knockout punch, “Not Like Us.” For more, be sure to revisit Toronto rapper DijahSB guest column for Consequence explaining why the feud is “karma” for Drake after “all the women he’s thrown under the bus.”

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Meanwhile, Lamar recently announced a Juneteenth celebration at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles dubbed “The Pop Out Ken & Friends.” Grab tickets here.

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