The Only Drake-Inspired Graduation Speech You Need to Watch

"Nothing Was The Same" for parents after this speech ended.

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Director Jason Pollock gave a Drake-inspired commencement speech to students of Schenectady High School recently, a speech that epitomizes the Toronto rapper's current ubiquity.

Pollock spoke to the students as the creator of Undroppable, a web series and upcoming documentary that has doubled as a social-media driven campaign to promote the importance of a high school education. Schenectady High School has partnered with Undroppable to reduce the school's dropout rate, which it has successfully done thus far (the school's dropout rate went down by 26% this year).

The bulk of Pollock's speech was framed around three of Drake's most popular phrases: YOLO ("You Only Live Once"), "No New Friends," and "Started From The Bottom." Pollock did more than just name drop these lines, however; he created his own interpretations for the phrases. In doing so, he made them truly motivational.

Pollock's explanation for "YOLO:"


Pollock's explanation for "No New Friends:"


Pollock's explanation for "Started From The Bottom:"


Pollock not only delivers three masterful explanations for Drake's lines that are normally dropped in conversations and tweets without serious consideration, he delivers them with an excitement that is worth watching several times over. His arms wave up and down as he takes on Drake's vocal tone and even harmonizes the phrases in the cadence that was used in the actual song. The students can relate because Pollock demonstrates that he really is a fan of Drake when he acknowledges that "YOLO" is an older phrase. And more importantly, Pollock's passion for trying to encourage students to remain in school and achieve their fullest potential shines through in his words.

Listening to Pollock recite these lyrics, it is incredible to think that Drake has only been on most of our radars for less than five years now (So Far Gone, the mixtape that propelled him into the limelight, came out in February of 2009). In this short amount of time, he has created a legacy for himself that will likely stand the test of time. It goes beyond six top-ten singles, two platinum albums (presumably three when Nothing Was The Same comes out), and a Grammy Award though.

Drake is a mascot for soceity in the digital age of 2013. His lines are quoted in high school yearbooks, tweets, and Facebook statuses. He is inextricably linked to the online humor of memes and .gifs. The hooks to his songs enter our collective lexicon, to the point where even people who do not like his music are forced to use these phrases. Perhaps more than any other artist in the world right now, he has his hand on the pulse of how we function these days with social media and technology.

Whether you are a big Drake fan like Pollock, or you absolutely abhor everything he represents, you will likely be enthralled by the speech above. And this is yet another example of the power that hip-hop has in its essence.

[via Mashable]

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