Being dubbed the “King of Gen Z R&B” at just 21 years old is no small feat, and LA-based Cuco certainly has a lot of accomplishments already under his belt. He’s a solo indie pop producer – starting out playing in his bedroom – singer-songwriter and musician, gifted in creating atmosphere and vibe.
Take ‘Feelings’, for example, a seemingly '70s inspired track constructing a decidedly trippy mood, the woozy ‘Hydrocodone’ – written about feelings of isolation after a car accident – and the uplifting Latin-influenced beats in ‘Bossa No Sé’.
These moods seem to be clear in Cuco’s head before he sits down to create. “Everything that I do is reflective of me and what I’m feeling or thinking,” he has said of his process. “There are sounds in my head that only I could hear, so I like to create my music in every step, because only I can do it the way I wanna hear it.”
Impressive, but there are misses as well as hits here. Sometimes Cuco’s vocals and lyrics don’t match up to his sonic atmospheres – take aforementioned Bossa No Sé’ with its “I don’t know if I love you/I don’t know if I hate you” line, although things definitely improve once Jean Carter makes an appearance – and a few tracks, like ‘Love Tripper’, are somewhat forgettable.
All in all, the young star should be commended for his skill in creating sonic soundscapes and exploring different beats, albeit threading them together in a slightly disjointed way. At just 21 though, there are plenty of signs his next release will be something to shout even louder about.
Words: Narzra Ahmed
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