Album in Focus: A Boy and A Blanket By VI The Law

The art of rap music has always been a medium of storytelling. A way of expressing passion, pain, sadness and sometimes joy in the form of easily forgotten lyrics that capture melodies and oscillate at just the desired frequencies by our ears. This is VI The Law, in a nutshell, he embodies rap music. This is not a statement of aggrandizement but simply an appreciation of his patience with his art.

It's not something that has come easy to him as he says, "The heaviest weight in my gym is learning how to wait" on Forever Upcoming. A boy and a blanket come as his crowning achievement. I can't recall the exact release that converted me, but I've been a VI The Law fan for a while now. On this project, he refers to himself as the best-kept secret on his core fans playlists and I have to agree.

VI The Law  - A Boy and A Blanket Review

A boy and a blanket, the phrase brings to mind images of childhood and objects of comfort. You know snuggling up in front of the tv and letting your thoughts drift away in the projected images, while cocooned in warmth and feeling safe. Now picturing that as music, I could only think of something that ignites nostalgia. My often vivid imagination was at a loss. It is usually the conjurer of the most abstract concepts, yet in A Boy and a Blanket, my mind had met its match.

VI The Law  - A Boy and A Blanket Review

Heralded by the collaboration "Magitare" which features Kxng Massey, the album had the promise of rich lyricism, out-of-the-box and out-of-the-world production, with just enough melody to bind the two together. 12 tracks in length with 2 brief intermissions included, it felt just right as a project. I'll admit it took some building up to. While Magitare instantly struck me as a lead single, the album was one I had to sit with and digest.

A Boy and a Blanket feels very calculated, but after all everything about VI The Law's artistry is. His stage name was born out of his high school nickname G6, stylized as G-VI, then combined with his second name "Murawo" which means the Law in Shona, so G-VI + Murawo = VI The Law”. VI The Law's lyricism is as measured as how he came up with his name. His debut album tells stories that drift from the past and charge forward into the future.

Forever Upcoming which had added vocals from SoulDeep Zim and an outro from Thais Yumiko is a story about the struggle. Not just the battle to break into the music but the struggle to make it in life. Choke sees VI The Law embrace how much he has mastered his craft and it's certainly a track that shows his self-esteem having smoked the biggest blunt. He sings like a man at the pinnacle of the art.

Grew up on a farm now I'm the GOAT
Give me any beat and imma float
Ain't no neck to neck, my foot is on they throat
I want all the smoke, I will never choke

Marlborough Nights ft Three Letterz travels back in time and it reflects on his upbringing while questioning stereotypes. In sequence VI The Law drifts high and low with each song like the tide at different times. He alternates not only in cadence and subject matter but tempo. A boy and a blanket display VI The Law the rapper, the producer and the engineer. 

His production has a futuristic feel in some moments and then a nostalgic one in the next. This is only interrupted by the ominous-sounding intermissions voiced by Tearsinthesoil and tracks like Musandisiye that are very much in the moment. Alongside Majer Majer & KG Phenomenal, Musandisiye resonates with me in the deepest depths. It battles it out with Magitare for the honour of my favourite song on the album.

Ndiri musango, ndenge ndiri ndega ndichinzvenga nhamo
Ndanga ndichidhoma ndichigaya zano
Inzwai munyengetero wangu imi mambo
Mumastreets, ndenge ndiri ndega ndichinzvenga nhamo
Ndanga ndichidhoma ndichigaya zano
Inzwai munyengetero wangu imi mambo - Musandisiye 

A Boy and a Blanket is not the easiest of listens, it doesn't contain the earworms that will sprint up the charts but it is truly an album. Albums have become a lost art and often what we get are compilations of singles disguised as intentional projects and although they're 2/3 hits, it's not something you want to listen to as a whole.

On Lookatchu ft Nechy, VI The Law gives us vibes. While DND (Do not disturb) is for the hustle and grind, OMKA (On My Knees Again) ft REAP3R is sonorous and raises existential questions. Trip comes along with an Afro Tech texture and it's the perfect gift wrapping to end this project. A debut album that is a diamond with flaws, yet still a diamond.

Stories will be told, about a boy blessed with a command over language and flow simply murderous behold... I think Tearsinthesoil said it best in that intermission "A boy".

Greedysouth rating: 7.1/10

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