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Suited and booted, Bawo’s latest project, Legitimate Cause, is a statement of intent to the game: a pledge to continue working hard for the right reasons.

Words Yehoshua Francis (@yoshcf)

The introduction to Legitimate Cause is a cinematic one, featuring a simple, driving piano melody playing over an ambient synth. Gradually building to include a violin and Bawo’s trademark backing vocals, the track remains atmospheric and emotive. There are concurrent themes established here, God-centred faith, finding joy in the successes of your friends and setting high goals by dreaming big.

There is an intensity present in the intro track that subsides until the closing song ‘Stay Close’. The two leading singles ‘Same Team’ and ‘Not Just Yet’ are masterful. Featuring production by Oscar #Worldpeace and El Londo, respectively, the tracks feature a distinctively “Underground UK” bounce. ‘Same Team’ contains several lines that refer to the development of a financial literacy many up-and-coming artists lack, asking to be shown the way ‘all in the name of money we should’ve been stowing away’. Coupled with the cover art, which sees Bawo leading a business meeting, it is clear he’s in his executive bag.

The second single, ‘Not Just Yet’, particularly the chorus, details a passionate disagreement in the back of a car, seemingly representative of the relationship he addresses. There’s an initial unwillingness to leave despite his better judgment and to the detriment of Bawo and his significant other. Out of respect, the decision is eventually made to leave the car, but despite his best intentions, and to his dismay, the damage has already been done. The track is self-reflective, honest, and relatable, not dissimilar to all the other tracks on the project.

The penultimate track, ‘Grace is Calling’ is a before unreleased collaboration between Bawo and Oscar #Worldpeace featuring Ayeisha Raquel. Upon hearing this song, I have to say Bawo and #Oscar Worldpeace might just be my favourite unofficial duo out of the UK. The production is clean yet hard-hitting as always, with one of the many highlights on the project coming in the form of an #Oscar Worldpeace verse. The chorus is gospel reminiscent: an ode to love, and the benefits of moving in love. Harmonies usually sung by Bawo are here provided by Ayeisha Raquel, a refreshing change that adds a discernible depth and soul to the track.

The project sees the addition of two dance songs to Bawo’s discography in the form of ‘Turn & Face’, a Jersey club-inspired track, and the outro ‘Stay Close’, a garage rendition. ‘Turn and Face’ features some of my favourite messaging on the project with the inclusion of the mantra ‘it gets like that’. The repetition of this phrase is in line with the ethos of the entire track; the idea that no matter how we may wish to run away from our responsibilities, we must still turn and face them.

‘Stay Close’ is the neatly wrapped bow on the gift that is Legitimate Cause. There is a promise to continue working hard, and to keep striving for financial success in hopes to better the team, all without compromising his character. I noted in a previous article and feel it necessary to reiterate here the qualities of graciousness and authenticity that I feel permeate every level of Bawo’s artistry - qualities that mean I will always wish nothing but success upon Bawo and his team. Legitimate Cause has, for me, solidified this stance. 2023 we up!


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