Kendrick Lamar Receives the Key to His City
American Rapper, Kendrick Lamar has won 34 awards and countless nominations throughout his musical career. At this year’s 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards, he has 11 nominations and now, attached to his endless belt of success; he is the key holder of the City of Compton.
As we celebrate Black History Month, the historic moment took place on February 13, 2016 when the City of Compton’s Mayor, Aja Brown honored Kendrick Lamar at the “Key to the City of Compton” ceremony.
“We are just so thankful that you all came out to help celebrate a great man, the visionary of our generation, Kendrick Lamar,” said Brown during her opening speech. She continued, “Our honoree, Kendrick Lamar embodies Compton’s values of ingenuity, pride and success. Today as we welcome back and honor one of our city’s own, let’s continue to embrace the spirit of greatness that Compton was built upon. Let us all recommit ourselves to lift our city to even higher heights, because the next generation depends on it; and remember Compton family, as a great man once said, ‘if God got us, we gon’ be alright.’”
From beginning to end, the ceremony was nothing short of amazing. The love shown for the Compton native was overflowing and during the ceremony, the impact he has made on the younger generation was evident. Students from Lamar’s alma maters Vanguard Middle School and Centennial High School paid tribute to hip-hop’s most influential rapper by performing a spoken word ensemble and performing his hits “Alright” and “i”.
Amongst the masses and showing their support was Compton native and rapper, YG and radio hosts, Big Boy of REAL 92.3 and Dominique DiPrima of 102.3 KJLH’s Front Page.
As Mayor Brown welcomed Kendrick Lamar to the stage to accept his key, the crowd cheered, “Kendrick! Kendrick! Kendrick!”
As the 28-year-old star stood at the podium, he took the time to soak in the moment and shouted, “Compton, what’s up!? Man, I am overwhelmed, so you all will need to give me a second.”
As he started his speech, he shared stories of his childhood in Compton and what he has learned along the way.
“As a kid, my momma use to say to me, ‘Do you know where you are from? This is your neighborhood, this is Compton, California’. That is when I grasped the concept that her telling me that showed it is not just a city. Her telling me this as a kid told me, it meant strength. Where we are from means strength,” said Kendrick.
He continued, “Having this key to the city is not just a representation or the glorification that I have Compton, it is a representation of all of us. This is a representation of us opening more programs for these kids, opening more job opportunities, which is how I am looking at it from my own platform. With that being said, as long as I am doing music, as long as I am using my platform for something, I will always since day one, scream ‘Compton’ and make sure to come back to this community and do right by it, because you all did right by me.”
He closed with, “Through all the pain and hardship, losing family members, losing homeboys, for some reason we always still love Compton, because we have faith. So, before I even wrote, ‘We Gon’ be Alright’, that is what we were singing since day one. I appreciate everyone out here and please believe me, it will not stop. This is just the spark of everything. I love yawl.”
Upon presenting Kendrick his key to the city, Mayor Brown jokingly noted that his key is “better” than the key Drake received from Toronto’s mayor the night before.
Congratulations, Kendrick Lamar! You deserve the major honor of having the key to unlock the City of Compton. As we all look forward to Kendrick’s rumored “controversial” performance at the GRAMMY Awards, we are also anxious that he takes home the album of the year award to put beside his key.