RETRO REVIEWS: 'This Too Shall Pass' By Lionel 'Mile' Mhike

In this piece of Retro-Reviews, we look at the Zim Hip Hop album 'This Too Shall Pass' (2020) by veteran artist MILE, delving into all the intricate aspects of this superb album

Lionel Mile Mhike this too shall pass album review listen


Sony Music Zimbabwean hip hop artist Lionel "Mile" Mhike released his album, This Too Shall Pass late in 2020. Mile draws his inspiration from his life experience and cultural exposure. Raised in Cuba, travelled to Spain, Ethiopia, US among others, adding to his diverse background. He's also been into music for some considerable time now.

Some of his previous works include the full length projects, Trading Hours and Foreign Policy. On the overall, This Too Shall Pass is probably his best body of work so far. He certainly bettered himself. He said all he wanted to let out; and, eventually, everything passes at the end.

From tracks 1-7, he was mostly exhibiting his brilliant and marked rap skills. He really went in. He was in that goldrush mode throughout: groovy beats, catchy flows and impeccable delivery. It all came around nicely.

Then he tweaked the subject matter and the accompanying sound from tracks 8-16. He delved into the theme of love (or lack thereof) and relationships.

From 17-20 he focused more on spirituality, his personal struggles, an autobiographical bit of him as an artist, and of course how he was a star before the music - and how his current music still proves this 

We can say he had three structures in this album. What differentiates Mile from other great rappers is his scheming. Mile stuck to whatever subject he was exploring through all 20 songs. 66 minutes of pure craft. Most rappers construct 3 or 4 lines and that's a whole scheme. Mile can scheme a whole song. A whole album it seems.

Some stand out songs:


Mile started out strong and composed. Sort of making his presence felt and drawing attention to what he's saying. The thing with great writers and story tellers is you can take what he's saying so many different ways and all of them would still make sense.

Here Mile mentions how he took living his dreams and hasn't looked back since. He migrates into his element, meaning doing what he wants to do with his life. He steps into his Gold Mine - that goldrush element.

The other play on that is he's the Gold Mine and a lot of people, rappers included are filled with excess negative energy and attempting to tap into him while they hate behind his back and/or on social media.

The last play is that people lie for money. For gold.

"Women lie saying they ain't got a man because they want the man dropping a 100 grand in the club..."


Well, the song is dirty. People in relationships would love this one. It stands out because it's the first track about relationships in the album and it's a swift transition from Mile being full rap mode to something of a soft timbre that keeps your attention without being cliche.

The song was placed perfectly.

HOW MANY TIMES (ft Ibtisem)

Arguably the warmest track on the album. Ibtisem brought soul to it. Again, perfectly placed as Mile transitioned from rap to sort of alternative R'n'B. That range keeps the album interesting. That is not because it's a love song but because it sounds different.


Its a metaphor. Powders and Pills are/or could be [addictive] substances/drugs. In this case, powders and pills represent a woman.

"I had all of you, but still wanted more".

Wondering if it's just a song or its a real life story..? Yeah, us too.

The song is arguably the best sonically. It hits all the right spots. Kind of addictive like the title. It's up there with JUNGLE. (It's the acoustic guitar!!!!!!)


Mile poured his heart out. He did say a lot. All of it lettered to his mother of course but he is obviously not the only one who needed to.

He started off with how he decided to do his goldrush and step into his element to find greatness only not in a classroom.

"I couldn't ignore the task that my soul had to assign me"

Mile talked about how he lost his father and his mother losing a husband, how he dealt with it through ephemeral outlets that include clubbing, alcohol; and his mother turned to God. He mentioned how he needed to decide between being a son or the man of the house. (Shouldering patriarchal burdens.) That was just the first verse.

The second verse was a letter to God. A lot of questions for a conversation but questions he needed to ask. Mile questions God's fairness in pain and death as something that is not clear. He speaks of existential crisis, a creation that is looking for meaning if not peace.

Mile was definitely pained when he wrote this particular song. He mentions how God's tools of peace have been forsaken and misused by people. 

Love and trust is misused and people have their spirits broken . He went on to talk about being abandoned by his ex fiancee, depression and how he almost committed suicide.

"and where was faith when my antidepressants didn't stop me from drinking bleach".


Jan Smuts Avenue is a major street in Johannesburg, South Africa. It begins in Randburg, and passes through important business areas.

  • Who was Jan Smuts?

Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts, was a South African statesman, military leader, and philosopher. He was also racist in South Africa but a Human Rights Pioneer in Europe. Some called him a traitor, some a hero.

As prime minister, Jan Smuts could not accept blacks as political equals seeking rights of citizenship. He made black people and other minority groups fight/hate each other.

  • Why is this important?

Smuts coined the term 'holism': a theory that believes you cannot break things down to study them, but instead that everything has to be understood in relation to the whole or the sum of its parts.

It's possible Mile used a play on words to point out that people need to be looked at as a whole because people can be fake and play multiple roles like Smuts did.

Another play here is black people still fight and hate each other as they did back in the day. The leadership incited all the friction back then and the government now is still inciting it's people. Times changed, not so much the actions of the ruling elite.

Mile also pointed out his aversion of living in a street named after a person who tried to still land away from the natives (us)..(Jan Smuts).

The song could mean something else, we haven't heard the chance to speak to him but that's the thing with great writers. You can take their lyrics multiple ways.

Evidently Mile put a lot of work on how the album is structured and how it sounds. He really wanted his presence felt.

"Gen 3:19 By the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread, till you return underground; for out of dust you were taken: and into dust you shall return."


Mile recently released a single called Ikoko. The track is essentially a reflection of where he is mentally as an artist as well as his place in the industry. He sounds content with where he's at but still hungry enough to flex a little. Mile paints a picture of being better than a lot of rappers out there. He is at a different place now than when This Too Shall Pass dropped.

After all has been said and done, This Too Shall Pass.


The album is available on digital streaming platforms: Spotify, Apple Music, TIDAL, Amazon, Genius. 


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