Hip hop artist S.O. calls out staged social media posts in the music video for “Goals,” the first single from his Augustine’s Legacy album out on September 6. In the short directed by Esso, S.O. and his leading lady are captured in a series of perfectly staged, color-filtered and styled (price-tags still attached) shots, all framed in Instagram-like square boxes.
S.O. explains the concept behind the visuals. “We got to thinking about this idea of people looking at other people’s lives and not knowing they’re only showing us what they want us to see,” he says. “We started to think – ‘Could they be dolls? Could they be toys?’ – and we took the idea to Esso.”
After hearing the song and S.O.’s initial concept, Esso began to develop the treatment. “I thought it would be dope if we staged him and another girl as mannequins in a storefront window,” he says. “That way it would be a strong visual metaphor of the illusion that we only put forth what is fake and plastic. We put our perfectly curated lives on social media, just as merchants do with their window displays. This would also allow us some creative license with the looks we create.”
“Goals,” audio available via digital service providers, comes amid reports of social media users experiencing depression and feeling inadequate when comparing themselves to their peers’ online profiles. Last week, in an effort to lessen the pressures, Instagram began hiding post likes in six countries.
Over captivating Afro rhythms, layered snares, airy organs and pacing string bass produced by GP, S.O. helps put social media in the proper context. The Lamp Mode Recordings artist rhymes, “Goals, Everybody on mission trying to be cold / What a sight to behold / Coz they ain’t even watching out for their souls / Right hand thumbing down on their phones.”
The Nigerian-born artist, who moved to London when he was nine-years-old and relocated to the U.S. in 2016, explains his inspiration for the song that features a soothing chorus from Lucy Grimble. “Perception and reality are two different things,” he says. “Just because you see something online, it doesn’t mean that it’s reality. A lot of times we look at people and we start to idolize them without even knowing it. I’m writing from that perspective. Rather than looking at people for our goals whether they be relationship, travel or financial goals, we could be looking at Christ.”
Augustine’s Legacy marks S.O.’s fifth set, his first since moving to America. The 12-song project is named after and pays homage to his late father Augustine Otukpe. He explains the title to New Release Today: “On the anniversary of my dad’s passing, I put something on Instagram with the hashtag #AugustinesSon, and my wife did something, but she put #AugustinesLegacy, and I’m like, ‘Babe, that’s fire! That’s the album title,'” he says. “We’re all leaving a legacy. What’s your legacy going to be when you pass? Thankfully, I have a good memory of my dad, so I want to continue his name.” While S.O.’s longtime producer GP handles most of the production, Augustine’s Legacy also includes contributions from OnBeatMusic and Alex Hitchens as well as vocals from Mallory Jackson.
The album artwork also serves as his first family portrait with his wife and daughter, though they conceal their infant daughter’s identify by holding a leaf over her face. “We are very mindful of whether we should or should not put her online,” S.O. says in a video posted on Instagram. “We wanted to control how Sade-Rose was going to be exposed and revealed to the world. By the time you see the cover, she would be like 10 months. Unless you’ve seen us in public, you wouldn’t know we had a child. I think it’s pretty cool that we could, in this social media age, have something private.”