Cuco Is LA’s New Romantic, and He’s Only 18
Go Cuco Pebbles for the Kevin Abstract and Steve Lacey-cosigned singer’s new track “Lo Que Siento.”
If you're still searching for a summer love jam, look no further than "Lo Que Siento" by LA wunderkind Cuco. The 18-year-old self-produced Chicano singer born Omar Banos only started releasing music last year, but he's already earned sold out shows and co-signs from the likes of Kevin Abstract and The Internet's Steve Lacey.
"Lo Que Siento"—"what I feel" in Spanish—is as sweetly candid a love song as its title suggests, all wavy synths, West Coast rhythms, seductive horns, and sing-song bilingual rap verses like "I promise that I don't see nothin better / than to lay here witchu / and I hope you know I miss you / from my head I can't dismiss you." Though the track marks Cuco's first proper premiere, he can already lay claim to a devoted fanbase of self-appointed "Cuco Pebbles."
"I grew up listening to a lot of Chicano rap like MC Magic, Lil Rob, and Baby Bash and that music had a lot of oldies elements to it and stuff like that," the self-taught Cuco says of his ballads's sundry sound. "Production-wise, it's more on that oldies vibe like that Smokey Robinson type of stuff. Old school, but at the same time a lot of post-production because I also use a lot of 808s, but I just pitch them so it sounds like an old drum machine. So I just took that influence and kind of added my own little twist to it for 'Lo Que Siento.'"
Born and raised in the South LA city of Hawthorne, Cuco began playing music at the age of eight, eventually teaching himself Ableton before releasing the teenage heartbreak mixtape Wannabewithu in 2016. That was followed by this year's Songs4u, a collection of lofi synths, horns, hip-hop abstraction, and his own lackadaisically tender touch as a vocalist.
"In Hawthorne, there are a lot of Latinos and it was very diverse so seeing all these cultures and listening to all these different types of music that existed amongst all of us, the different time periods, and the different influences—it all just kind of came together into what my sound is," Cuco says. "I would always hear music in my head that I had never heard before, and I just wanted to make them happen. I just always wanted to be the artist that I wanted to hear. So I just mixed in all of those elements from Hawthorne with my own ideology and what sound can create."
Listen to the premiere of Cuco's "Lo Que Siento" below.
Andrea Domanick is Noisey's West Coast Editor. Follow her on Twitter.