Wesley’s Theory

By Rachell Carbajal

With the 2022 Grammy Awards coming soon, I’ve decided to take a look back on the 58th Grammy Awards show where Kendrick Lamar won Best Rap Album of The Year with “To Pimp A Butterfly.” The album received many nominations, sales, streams, even to the point where it went platinum and  ranked 16th on the best albums of all time. This album is truly one of the most meaningful, influential, and inspirational albums of all time. Now, let’s take a look behind one of the main tracks (track 1) of this album, and what truly makes it so meaningful and influential: “Wesley’s Theory.” The main idea of this track, explains Kendrick Lamar, is how black creators get ripped off by white supremacy, acting as if they truly care about these creators or just using them for the money. In this track, there are many meanings behind every word. Additionally, something important shown through this track is repetition and questioning. The questioning section of this track is a reflection of how Kendrick is trying to understand how to face these many obstacles in his life and how he’s changed after receiving fame. The intro (introduction) of this track states, “Hit me! When the four corners of this cocoon collide. You’ll slip through the cracks hopin’ that you’ll survive. Gather your wit, take a deep look inside. Are you really who they idolize? To pimp a butterfly.” In the intro Kendrick raps that when him and other rappers break out of the hood, meaning their breaking out of their cocoon, to be a butterfly (meaning that the butterfly symbolizes fame, wealth, while the caterpillar in the cocoon means that they are still in the hood) they have to make sure to stay unchanged because of fame. The chorus of this song explains that at first Kendrick loved and had passion for rapping/music, that being his “first girlfriend” but he no longer wants to take care or love his girlfriend, instead only uses her for the money, that being that Kendrick wants to change for fame because he already has everything, that’s the less he could do. The main interpretation is not only Kendrick but African Americans telling the industry that they are getting mistreated, but also saying that he had to break out his childhood/teenage years in Compton, but also survive fame, mistreatment, by the industry, society, and white supremacy.