Award-winning rapper-producer VI The Law announces sixth edition of the VI League


ZIM HIP HOP has evolved from the Urban Grooves era, to the Few Kings era and this, which some have argued is ‘the Golden era.’

If you’ve been paying attention, thirty year old Michael Musekiwa, popularly known as VI The Law, has been there for it all.

VI The Law announces VI League, Zim Hip Hop
VI The Law performing at CBD Market Mega Pop Up on Friday 1 March 2024 [Image: Innocent Veremu]

His love for Hip Hop started out in the mid-2000’s, rather in isolation. 

He spent his childhood at his parents’ farm in Gweru, where he was exposed to American Hip Hop right at the advent of the internet age in Zimbabwe. 

VI The Law announces VI League, Zim Hip Hop
Early days — Young VI The Law

He took a particular liking to rapper-producer Kanye West, so much so that by the time he moved to Malborough, Harare and started high school at Prince Edward High School, he was already tinkering with his own sound. 

VI The Law announces VI League, Zim Hip Hop
Humble beginnings — VI The Law's 'first studio'

In 2017, he released his debut EP titled CAMP US, followed by joint EP’s with Drissy Parker in 2018 and Ovid Naso in 2019. 

Rather muted releases, but VI The Law’s profile as a producer in Harare’s emerging (at the time) hip hop scene was on a steady rise. 

The great plague of our time, Covid-19, befell us all in early 2020, but that didn’t stop VI The Law’s groove. 

He released Corona Care Package EP in July 2020, along with apt promotional merchandise in the form of facemasks.


VI The Law announces VI League, Zim Hip Hop
Corona Care Package EP plus facemask

In early 2021, VI The Law released his third solo EP titled Fight or Flight Pack, with the standout track Zumbani. 

Ever relentless, he followed that up with an umatched run of singles, production credits, covers, collaborations, performances, a joint EP with Three Letterz, a Web3 startup called Mint Condition, and ... well, you get the picture – The Law put the work in towards his ten thousand hours. 

VI The Law announces VI League, Zim Hip Hop
VI The Law in Kigali, Rwanda (2022)

Two years on, and such a long way from the breaktime cyphers at Prince Edward , VI The Law released his debut album titled A Boy and A Blanket, on 10 July 2023. 

The well-thought, well-put together, well-received, critically-acclaimed twelve track project is what has propelled VI The Law to the stardom he was always destined for since his Prince Edward days. 

Dare we say, our very own Kanye West. 

The VI League: Platforming fellow artists and Healing The Streets 

The VI League is a program designed to help promote up-and-coming hip hop artists. It consists of a mixtape where artists create songs using the same instrumental created by VI the Law based on a theme. 

The artists with the best songs are then invited to do a cypher video that will be uploaded to YouTube. All songs created during this process belong to the artist, and they are allowed to use them for their personal projects after the completion of the project.

It’s hard to imagine that VI The Law idealized a mixtape series to support upcoming artists in 2018, when he still was an upcoming artist himself. 

Thus, the VI League can be considered the one true benchmark of VI The Law’s progression as an artist in Zimbabwe gritty entertainment landscape. 

Zimsphere Music sat down for a long-ranging conversation with the man who gave us Magitare as he officially announces the sixth edition of The VI League. 

Speaking on how the idea came about, the rapper-producer says; 

“The VI League was conceived out of a conversation I had with a dancehall duo I know from my neighborhood called Double Impact. They pretty much broke down how Zimdancehall works in terms of riddim culture and how it’s a model that works for the artist, the producer and overall, the culture.

VI The Law announces VI League, Zim Hip Hop
VI League Volume 1 cohort

“So, I decided to take that model to Hip Hop to tap into the already competitive nature of Hip Hop and to use already existing Hip Hop aspects. Instead of a riddim, we release it as a mixtape project, all on the same instrumental; then instead of a medley we do a cypher video.”

As mentioned earlier, it was around this time that artists started recognizing VI The Law’s prowess as a producer, and it can be argued that The VI League was a catalyst. 

In addition to his desire to platform fellow artists, he had also considered the impact that the mixtape series would have on his work as a producer. 

“From a business perspective, my thinking as a producer was basically me selling a non-exclusive lease on an instrumental to multiple artists, which is standard practice in the record industry.

VI The Law announces VI League, Zim Hip Hop

“For the artist, they are getting a full song mixed and mastered at the fraction of what they would pay at a studio, which is great for artists starting out or who have a smaller budget. It’s a win-win for everybody,” explains VI The Law. 

In May 2018, VI The Law came together with eight artists, some of whom have become frequent collaborators; to deliver Volume 1 of The VI League. At the time, CAMP US and a few singles was all that made up his discography; and the highlight of his career was a performance at Miss UZ.

VI The Law announces VI League, Zim Hip Hop
Performing during university days

Regardless of how the mixtape and cypher was received, the visionary continued on his path to platform others. It was clear - the vision was bigger than the present. 

The second edition of the VI League came in November 2018, featuring artists like Reap3r, Massey, and Will Broad. 

Five months later, Volume 3 came along with an ominous beat done justice to by KNG ED, Dollaboi, Massey and REAP3R (again); and Kayfelo. 

The ‘Covid Volume’ of the VI League was released on 1 May 2020 – just five tracks by CVerb, Danny Boi, Cazzy Boi, Deez Nutz and REAP3R. 

The largest cohort of artists signed up for Volume 5 of the VI League, which was released in November 2020. 

A staggering fourteen rappers came through and laid their bars, including Arcane, Chimbs, Dopeboy Zim, LimeRhymer, Rubzi, Ricky 4Ever; and REAP3R – who has made history as the only artist to feature on all five editions of the VI League. 

With the release of the Fight or Flight Pack in 2021, VI The Law started off on a run that focused more on him building his discography and name as a rapper-producer. 

VI The Law announces VI League, Zim Hip Hop
Graduation day

Perhaps this is justification for the three-year hiatus that the VI League has suffered, but not any longer. 

After a rigorous creative process that lasted almost six months, VI The Law is ready to share the sixth volume of the VI League, six years after he started the mixtape series. 

Speaking on Volume 6 from the submission call to the creation of the art, he says;

“There was a lot of interest when we did the submission call, but I guess because we took a hiatus we didn’t really get the target amount of sign ups desired. That didn’t deter us, we have five great artists who officially signed up and made some amazing music around the theme.

“The creative process took a few months. We had amazing recording sessions where a lot of knowledge was shared and artists felt comfortable to express themselves in a way I've always envisioned for NRVNA. I’m extremely excited about this volume.”

Whilst previous versions of The VI League had loose concepts (Volume 4 was an Intro to Afrohop), Volume 6 will come as an anti-drug campaign aptly titled ‘Heal The Streets’. In revealing the theme for Volume 6, VI The Law explains his rationale;

“Music is one of the most powerful tools to deliver a message and these artists are coming from communities directly affected by drug issues, some are even affected on a personal level. 

“So, that’s the idea behind Volume 6 – to raise awareness on drug abuse through music.”

The Zimbabwean entertainment industry is rife with issues of drug abuse, as artists start off ‘seeking creativity’ but end up descending into addiction. 

Thus, before we even hear the music, this sixth edition of the VI League is a much-needed initiative that is introducing a refreshing perspective into the conversation. 

NRVANA LABS: Beyond a ‘record label’

From Volume 1, the VI League mixtape series has always been the work of NRVANA LABS - VI The Law’s flagship studio, based at his home in Malborough. 

VI The Law announces VI League, Zim Hip Hop

After making the beat from scratch and selecting the artists, VI The Law meticulously overlooks the recording, mixing and mastering of the songs for the mixtape — such a divergence from how most ‘record labels’ in Zimbabwe produce music.

Being a rapper himself, VI The Law understands what it means for a producer to take care in creating a piece of art that everyone involved can be proud of; beyond the recording fee. 

“NRVNA Labs is a space for creation without restriction and encouragement of the artistic spirit through experimentation. 

“Instead of being a traditional label, NRVNA is more focused on building community and equipping artists with skills and opportunities,” describes VI The Law.

The Vindication of VI The Law

VI The Law announces Volume 6 of the VI League to the world exactly ninety days after scooping his second consecutive Zim Hip Hop Award for Best Underground. 

VI The Law announces VI League, Zim Hip Hop
Success is calling — VI The Law holding his first Zim Hip Hop Award

Some have argued that the recognition that the talented artist is now receiving is long overdue (some even speculate that ‘Best Underground’ is below him). 

For VI The Law though, he is just grateful to be proving the people who believed in him from the beginning right, as he shares;

“I feel blessed to be honest, it’s good to be recognized for the work you're doing, and it especially means a lot to the people who believe in you. For me, it’s just added confirmation that I’m on the right path and I just have to keep showing up and putting in the work.”

For someone who started recording demos with Intex headphones in his room whilst still at Prince Edward to end up as a revered rapper-producer is a sign of dogged persistence that most do not possess. 

So, what has kept The Law going for over a decade?

“What kept me going through the trials was faith. I think its persistence and a pragmatic approach to my craft, I really suck at giving up (laughs). It’s in my nature to keep pushing until I find a way through, especially for things I am genuinely passionate about,” he answers.

VI The Law announces VI League, Zim Hip Hop
Collaborators — VI The Law and King Massey on set for the MARLBOROUGH NIGHTS video

During the course of his career, VI The Law has found his tribe – frequent collaborators who have become almost like family, the likes of REAP3R, Massey and Three Letterz.

With this new-found reverence, it is obvious that more collaborations are on the way – a mix of the usual, and some new names. 

Even before the awards, VI The Law has always approached collaborations from a unique perspective, as he breaks it down;

“What I've found is that the best collaborations come from a place of mutual respect. The music business is a tough one and some artists adopt a ‘crabs in a barrel’ approach to music which really makes collaboration difficult. I just stay focused on those who want to work.”

VI The Law announces VI League, Zim Hip Hop

That ‘tunnel vision’ approach to his craft is what has created the VI The Law we have all come to love and appreciate as one of the few artists of our time who stayed authentic to who they are and where they come from.

This seems like just the beginning, as the rapper-producer isn’t showing any signs of tiring. We’ll be looking forward to what the next decade holds for Malborough’s very own. 

Final Thoughts 

Awards in the bag, NRVANA LABS booming, explosive performances, and the beginning of a new era of The VI League – it’s been a good start to the year for VI The Law.

Ever the visionary, he’s already thinking of ways to use his platform to deliver a better reality for others, as he reveals; 

 “For this edition of the VI League, we aim to partner with anti-drug programs and stakeholders to help amplify the message and discuss practical ways to stop drug abuse.”

Rightly so, as the vision for the VI League now transcends just a mixtape and a cypher. The mind behind the initiative gives us his ultimate vision as well as a glimpse into the future as follows;

“I think the VI League will fill a very evident gap in artist development and platforming. I do really believe that we are going to witness the next generation of Hip Hop stars come from the VI League and it has the potential to become a necessary rite of passage in the game.

“The idea is for the VI League to become an incubator, as well as shows and a festival on top of what we're already doing.”

VI The Law announces VI League, Zim Hip Hop

His final words are for his legion of fans; The Law Enforcement, as he affectionately calls them. 

“Thank you to my all fans for all the support and encouragement! And to the kid who wants to do what I’m doing, just keep on pushing and make sure you show up every day,” he concludes. 

And with that, the stage is set, literally and figuratively, for yet another impactful year for VI The Law. You can revisit his debut album A Boy and a Blanket as well as previous versions of The VI League to fully prepare yourself for what’s coming. 

You can also stay in the loop with everything VI The Law on his Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages. If you’re interested in becoming a part of The Law Enforcement, join the community. 

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