ALBUM REVIEW: “A Boy And A Blanket” by VI The Law—The Perfect Winter Album For Deep Reflections and Warmth


For some of us who have passionately and loyally followed the amazingly gifted and conscious rapper-producer VI The Law (pronounced Six-The-Law), we are acutely aware of the incredible artistic talent in him and how he has used this for his self-healing journey as well as empowering others. But what we had never anticipated, though we sorely yearned for such, was a thorough, meticulous, and detailed album—a Long Play in which Six would bare his soul and expatiate his life/creative story with convincing intelligence and clarity.


Well, the album is finally here: A boy & A blanket. The latest album for a dynamic Zim Hip Hop musical terrain. No doubt, 2023 has been a good year for Zimbabwean hip-hop.

The title A boy & A blanket is a curious one, deliberately fashioned to be so.

It embodies, personifies, and reflects powerful symbolism and imagery in telling an existential story in which the past, present, and future are inextricably intertwined; the award-winning VI The Law intelligently shows us that history is indispensably important in shaping the perceptions of our identities as well as our life trajectories in whatever sphere of life.

This is what A boy & A blanket by VI The Law is all about—an existential, experiential, and artistic journey told through intricately crafted raps and excellently produced instrumentals.

album Review vi the law musical artist a boy blanket

The latest Zim Hip Hop album A boy & A blanket by VI The Law resembles the perfect offering we needed for 2023’s winter and a windy August season; because it is as much an individual/personal journey as it is a political one.

VI The Law, without being dangerously overt—yet still keeping it clever for the discerning ear and heart to grasp—shows that the personal is political, and the political is personal. Inextricable.

Introduction: Where Does The Title “A boy & A blanket” Come From?

In bringing the album to life, VI The Law carefully took his time to delve into history for some inspiration.

And so, the story commences with his grandparents; the provenance and repository of all the artistic wisdom that VI The Law prides himself in. Yet, the key question still remains: Where does “a boy and a blanket” fit in all this?

The story starts with a trip down the memory lane. When one enters NRVNA Labs, the fortress and haven (we mean his studio) for VI The Law, they are greeted by a blanket curiously hung on the wall—with its elaborate patterns and enduring aura. VI tells us that this blanket originally belonged to his grandfather; a blanket gifted to VI when he was still a baby.

He’s been with his blanket all his life, from childhood till date; and when he moved into his new NRVNA studio, his artistic tastes compelled him to hang it on the wall for everlasting inspiration. Now, when his grandma visited the new studio, she was fascinated with how VI has unwaveringly kept this blanket with him, to the point where it is, in essence, a towering mural in his studio.

His granddad was called Albert Murawo Musekiwa; and VI The Law goes by Michael Murawo Musekiwa. “Murawo” translates to “the law”. Now you get his stage name.

So, everything is tied into this story of existential origins. Hence, “a boy and a blanket”. These are the stories that VI The Law and the blanket have shared throughout his whole life. This is an album that meets a hopeful yet uncertain reality envisioned by his granddad.

And, it so happens that the Musekiwa family stumbled upon a pre-independence documentary expressing the views and grievances of Black Africans in colonial Rhodesia, and VI The Law’s granddad is interviewed in that documentary.

Grappling with the dehumanization of colonial oppression, VI The Law’s grandfather candidly expresses the pent-up frustrations of Black Africans, exuding an undying hope for a Zimbabwe where black majority rule, with the attendant freedoms of a free society, liberates blacks from oppression.

As such, this album is as personal and political as it gets. A curious juxtaposition it is.

The inescapable question is this: having attained the majority rule that the likes of Musekiwa forebears hoped for; are we enjoying the purported freedoms? What does this mean for our individual and collective experiences?

What does this mean for VI The Law’s rap artistry in this independent Zimbabwe?

These are micro-definitions on a macro scale. And vice-versa. We live in a cold world. Everyone needs a blanket for warmth and comfort, as per their own definitions.

The Boy With The Blanket To Warm Us: A Detailed Review

The album, which shows character and candor—the story of Michael Musekiwa slash VI The Law—opens with the track Forever Upcoming (with SoulDeep Zim and Thais Yumiko) in which VI rails against certain perceptions thrust upon him due to the ever-changing dynamics of the rap game in Zimbabwe. Is he still an upcoming artist? Eternally damned to this “upcoming” label?

Having started rapping way earlier than some of the dominant names today in Zim Hip Hop spheres, one cannot fault VI The Law for indulging in such self-introspection. Doubts are part of the game. Yet the resolve to keep pushing is what makes all the difference. He definitely needs a blanket for this coldness that the rap game comes with. It sets the tone for what is to ensue through the rest of the album.

Either you get discouraged or you use such experience as the platform for greater things. That’s what we are told here.

All creatives are ‘forever upcoming artists’ because none hasn’t reached their full potential yet. Even Drake hasn’t. And such motivational continuum finds animated expression in the second track Choke, which is more of a heavy statement of intent.

It gives rock-solid strength to what the first part of the album (tracks one to four) is all about—introducing VI The Law and his story to the world.

Choke is a bravado record in which VI The Law wants all the smoke, for the simple reason that he will never choke. Although some may say he is forever upcoming, he wants all the smoke.

Having mustered the triumphant courage to bare it all, the stage for sharing the untold suburban story is set.

In this post-colonial Zimbabwe that VI The Law’s grandparents fought for and envisioned, how do people perceive the dichotomy between the low-income areas and the elite suburbs? The artist, who comes from the Marlborough suburb in Harare, debunks the myth that it is only the “ghettos” where suffering is the order of the day in the third track Marlborough Nights, which features Three Letterz with his all-too-honest raps. Nothing about this album feels forced.

Material scarcity and emotional strife are prevalent in the “northern” suburbs, contrary to the prevailing contemporary thought that all is rosy there.

The hauntingly spacious sample used by VI, interpolated with the audios of a distressed white lady ranting her personal stories to Siz and Three Letterz, graphically paints grim life stories. If ghetto stories are “authentic”, so are the untold suburban ones. The theme in Marlborough Nights (lending credence to the team’s merchandise label “Mull-Bruh”) is resonated in the fourth track Magitare which features Kxng Massey.

READ MORE: VI The Law and Kxng Massey Release ‘MAGITARE’ As They Beautifully Narrate Their Musical Journey

In Marlborough Nights and Magitare we see VI The Law, Three Letterz, and Massey gesturing towards class solidarity. Magitare laces the early days of VI The Law and Massey at Prince Edward, with the contemporary desires and lived realities of both the uptown and ghetto/subaltern classes.

As VI The Law steps into the poetic intermission/interlude in the fifth track (titled A Boy; the other interlude/intermission is titled A Blanket), his life introduction and placement in Harare is convincing enough. He does not prevaricate. Everything in life is a movie—and what better way to illustrate this than through raps?

An Expansive, Experimental, and Explorative VI The Law

Tracks six to eight present a VI The Law who is now warm enough to explore unchartered territories.

It is a bit relaxed, but without losing the core of VI The Law’s music represents. It is an experimental transcendence in which Six tries his hand at “commercial”. Does he do it with enough conviction? That is for the listener to decide.

Track 6, Musandisiye, featuring Majer Majer and KG Phenomenal, is quite a friendly tune but retains its original true-rap and retro-traditionalist essence—it makes new listeners acquainted with the original VI The Law and the expansive VI The Law at the same time.

It gives legit credence to the historically-inspired title A boy & A blanket: A spiritual anthem addressing the alienation and hedonism of post-colonial Zimbabwe in which the youth suffer from highly individualized precarious existence—thus translating to a political and social rallying cry. This is his version of a “commercial song”, i.e., something not excessively toned down, but an offering everyone relates to. That’s the essence of music.

The seventh track, Lookatchu!, which features Nechy, is an extension of Choke, the second track. It is lighter in sound, style, and delivery; but the bars remain heavy. Such is the weight of bravado records. It has an alluring street bounce that continues in the eighth track, Do Not Disturb, featuring AY 40 and Sparklex. The latter, shortened to ‘DND,’ expands the narrative of financially making it in rap—an Afrobeat-inclined song that expresses VI The Law’s Nigerian paternal side.

Delicately infusing exquisite and evocative poetry with super-excellent production skills, the poetic intermission in track nine (titled A Blanket) sets the stage for the concluding chapter of the album—a chapter in which VI The Law is unhinged, particularly with his vulnerability and introspection. These are the very same aspects that made us aligned to his music brands in the first place.

Tracks 10-12 are contemplative, soulful, unrestrained, vulnerable; verses and instrumentals who realism elicits a potpourri of cold and warm emotions.

Track 10, So Alone, presents to us a deeply vulnerable rapper-producer whose romantic contradictions we get to know and appreciate first-hand. We are greeted with the romantic joys and pains of heart-to-heart matters—herein is a blanket meant to comfort his lover (we hope she reads this too). The sparing use of hard kicks and bass to amplify the tone for a sparse synth and airy whistles makes this soulful romantic piece worthwhile.

Throughout the album till this point, VI The Law really doesn’t want to show us his romantic feelings; he is stingy with them. But on So Alone he has no other option except revealing his deep love for his partner. It is a love song in which he circumvents being corny (i.e., clichéd, banal, overused, weak, stereotypical)—perhaps that’s why he doesn’t really do much of romantic expositions in his music regularly. He wants love songs to feel as concrete and touchy as possible.

It is not a complete VI The Law project without a feature from long-time collaborator REAP3R. Track 11, On My Knees Again, brings back the sample-filled vibes reminiscent of Benediction, a track by REAP3R released some years back which was produced by VI The Law—but this time around, the vibe is proffered in expanded detail, with VI The Law delivering some hard-hitting bars that come from conflicted parts of the heart and soul. The track is a well-crafted piece of religious contradictions and it does not sound banal. We all grapple with the hegemonic domination of religion and its negative effects (in the context of the ‘Church’), but at the same time we all seek divine spirituality that nourishes the soul.

The inviting strings and samples give off a churchy-feel that complements well-thought bars on drums with an authentic rap aura. With REAP3R—aka the Boom Baptist—the whole idea of religion is interrogated; and one may expect answers gravitating towards references on African spirituality but the artists choose not to dwell on that.

REAP3R’s verse is intended more as a word of encouragement to [Christian] believers who seek to understand why lots of stuff happen to people; he dabbles in the experiential journeys of spirituality, and exhorts us not to sell our souls for material gains. Pain is a universal human struggle meant to show the “glory of God”. In the final analysis, the artists and the rappers are all on their knees.

Conclusion - A Warm, Compelling Rap Listening Experience

The last track on the album, Trip, mirrors a sonic divergence that concludes the album. It is a dreamy yet probing sound that works well in terms of attention-retention. And it is more of a sound with psychedelic proclivities—VI The Law takes on a trip with well-utilized synth that embodies the central elements of the album: beauty, recalcitrance, insight, pain, optimism; an evocative and inspiring sound. The experimental sides of VI The Law may be lost on some listeners but he chooses to go for it nonetheless.

On the overall, A boy & A blanket is a contextually relevant album that Zim Hip Hop is blessed to have. It is a priceless album delivered by VI The Law and company to warm us. The blanket is the touchstone of VI The Law slash Michael Musekiwa’s album, i.e., his holistic maturity.

We see VI The Law getting into a deeper level of musical art—he is more than a super-gifted rapper-producer. He is a true organic, creative intellectual. His comfortable yet evocative choice of words and instrumentals make the album an incredibly consistent record that stays true to his authentic way of hip-hop music. A boy & A blanket is a compelling listening experience.


You can listen to the Zim hip hop album A boy & A blanket by VI The Law via the link below and share with the world your thoughts:

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