The Blind Woman On Kendrick Lamar’s ‘DAMN.’ Is…

The classic album will always be a point of discussion and deliberation in Hip-Hop but what will never be open for debate are its timeless, legendary moments. The Black Album and Stillmatic can and will always be contested but Jay Z and Nas squashing their beef in front of a crowd of 20,000 will forever hold its meaning regardless of what anyone could ever say. It’s not often we realise that we are living through one of these moments but once in a while, a rapper comes around so special, they have us looking forward to the memories of present day.

DAMN. is one of those moments.

In an age of saturation, Kendrick Lamar makes a point to disappear between album cycles. In an age of surface level lyricism, Kendrick Lamar rises as an elite MC. In an age of disposable music, Kendrick Lamar crafts bodies of works worth dissecting for years. This is due not only to high level production, masterful engineering and great rapping but frankly, genius concepts.

Every Kendrick Lamar project since Section. 80 (at the very least) contains content which fans could spend an eternity pondering. Key points are left open to interpretation and complex themes are explored in detail from multiple perspectives. DAMN. is the epitome of this style. Just hours after the album leaked, theories were scattered all over social media and Rap forums and people were as confused as they were amazed. And that was only after track one.

‘BLOOD.’ marks the first time that the opening piece on a K. Dot album contains absolutely no rapping. But remarkably, it has by far been the most examined introductory song on any project. Even more so than ‘Wesley’s Theory’, ‘Sherane a.k.a Master Splinter’s Daughter’ or ‘Fuck Your Ethnicity’.

After a cryptic few lines by Bēkon, the already highly quoted and famous story begins. “So I was taking a walk the other day…”

The observant suggestion has been made that the image of the feeble blind woman juxtaposed with the harsh reality of a murderous gunshot implies the “wicked or weakness” theme visited throughout the album. However, this theory fails to acknowledge the outro to the song in which Fox News’ criticism of ‘Alright’ is sampled. Coincidence is just not a word that exists in Kendrick Lamar’s lexicon. The story of the blind woman and this sample have to be linked.

To examine further, we must travel back two years. With To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar attacked topics so crucial that he deserved praise simply for the attempt. The success in the execution is a different story entirely. Just like he did when he walked over to the blind lady, Lamar had innocently pure intentions with the release of his sophomore effort.

After watching us “struggle for a while”, he shared To Pimp A Butterfly with the objective of lending “a helping hand” to the same lost generation he addressed four years prior on Section. 80. Although critics loved the album and it will likely go down as one of the greatest albums of all time bar none, as with any polarising piece of art, there was always going to be an audience who condemned it. Cue Fox News’ dismissal of his police brutality lyrics. “Ugh, please. I don’t like it.”

The accusations that Kendrick’s ‘Alright’ and BET Awards performance were regressive by any stretch of the imagination was a figurative shot in the head. Kendrick tried only to uplift and instead he was almost pulled down. We as a people shocked and disappointed him.

The blind woman represents us.

The vivid mental picture of a seemingly approachable and vulnerable woman being capable of such a final, cold hearted action must have been a deep point of inspiration for this album. Betrayal at its finest. It is an outstanding metaphor that continues to prove why Kendrick Lamar is a one of a kind poet whose legacy will never be up for debate.

by Akaash Sharma

  • Coole

    Everybody kept saying it was Lucy… but this interpretation seems to make more sense.

  • Enrique

    I think this article is overlooking the fact that a blind woman is a symbol for the justice system in our society. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Justice.

    The song is a parable for police brutality in America. What the blind woman has dropped/lost is her standards in the way they treat African-Americans. Police are supposed to protect and serve, but you can make the case that this is not true for African-Americans. It has become a stereotype that black people don’t interact with police for fear that they will be abused instead of helped. Blood depicts the abuse of power that takes place when a black person tries to help.

    It also makes sense that the song is about police brutality since at the end of the song we hear the fox news clip which says “Lamar stated his views on police brutality with that line in the song…”. The clip goes on to quote Alright, but the news clip is placed intentionally in Blood to hint to the listener that Kendrick is stating his views on police brutality in this song. The next part of the fox news clip is “And we hate the popo, wanna kill us in the street fo’ sho”. This literally explains what just happened in the song. An innocent black person walking down the street trying to help police and then being killed in cold bood. But why would police want to do this?

    The opening lines by Bekon are:

    Is it wickedness? Is it weakness? You decide Are we gonna live or die?

    This gives us a lens through which to analyze the situation. Do police commit acts of brutality out of weakness (fear) or out of wickedness (racism)? Ultimately in this case police get to decide whether we live or die. This question is answered at the end after the gunshot where we only hear “is it wickedness”. This shows that Kendrick feels that the abuse occurs because of racism and not fear as it’s played out in the media. How often do police get off from any sentencing because they use the excuse that they feared for their life?

    However the lens of “Is it weakness? Is it wickedness” should be used to analyze everything else in the album.

  • Akaash

    Thank you for checking it out

  • Akaash

    Thanks for sharing that theory, very interesting. I think it’s both mine, the one you shared and more. This is Kendrick, after all.