The Nigerian-born artist, who moved to London when he was nine, and moved to the U.S. in 2016, explains his inspiration for the song featuring Lucy Grimble’s soothing chorus.
“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.”
“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.”
The album artwork also serves with his spouse and daughter as his first family portrait, although they hide the identity of their child girl by holding a leaf over her face.