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Cuco’s Video for ‘Keeping Tabs’ Is an Ode to Los Angeles, Tripping, and Foo Culture

1:06 PM PDT on September 13, 2019

    [dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he video to Cuco’s “Keeping Tabs” opens with Cuco and Suscat0 bantering in perfectly localized L.A. foo-speak. Cuco mumbles “stupidass foo” to his friend, a phrase so common but so razor-specific to the vernacular of L.A. foos. Their dialogue drips with L.A. culture and Mexicanidad, effortlessly.

    The “foo” representation isn’t only represented by the Hawthorne-native, the popular social media figure Foos Gone Wild makes an appearance in the video. FGW is a comedy account that posts odd and eccentric videos of foos. FGW’s popular phrase “smoking broken windows” is the centerpiece of the song, which is sung in a falsetto voice followed by a laugh, in the opening seconds. Broken windows refers to crystal meth, which FGW often implies is the fuel of the foos they highlight. This preps the audience for the humor of the song.

    Cuco’s inclusion of FGW is not a stretch for his brand as he constantly participates in meme culture. His Twitter name is “@icryduringsex” and his avatar is a cat with eyes full of tears, a reaction photo often used to express internet sadness. FGW presents the intersection of his ethnic identity, his meme leanings, and L.A. foo culture.

    The video was directed by Pasqual Gutierrez and RJ Sanchez, credited as Cliqua. Gutierrez has worked with Cuco in the past, he directed the video for "Bossa No Sé."

    One of the most striking things about the video is its use of L.A.’s beautiful locations. After dropping acid Cuco and Suscat0 go to Los Candiles in Glassell Park, which is a nightclub with a small stage that’s a neon playground. Los Candiles’s divey neon aesthetic feeds into Cuco’s acid hallucinations.

    The opening scene has Cuco and Suscat0 sitting in a lowrider in front of one of L.A.’s most popular filming locations Super A’s Foods. The background of the brick storefront firmly places the video in L.A. The garden behind the restroom door was shot at the Rose Garden in Expo Park. Rows of gorgeous flowers surround the FGW avatar with his posse of Latinx women in white, knowns as the angelitos (little angels). 

    In the midst of the acid trip, Cuco sees women playing Loteria and the camera zooms in on the diablo on the card. Later, Cuco runs into the devil with a bushy mustache and slicked-back hair, played by José Hernandez, a queer Mexican performance artist from South Gate, dancing to the song. Later he’s revealed to be dressed in only red pants, presumably Dickies or Ben Davis and a pair of red Nike Cortez', the common attire of a foo. It's safe to say he’s the foo diablo. 

    'Keeping Tabs' is both a vignette about an acid trip and an ode to the city that raised him, celebrating L.A., and the foos who will forever live here.

    “At first I was actually supposed to be dressed in all white to be a member of the angelitos but then they decided I should be the diablo,” Hernandez told L.A. Taco. “They wanted me to be playful and like I wasn’t aware that I was a devil in a way. They didn’t want anything malicious but rather playful.” 

    Cuco’s work is no stranger to including queer artists, “Hydrocodone” featured queer brown faces celebrating his life after his funeral procession. “Keeping Tabs” follows that same thread and has a tracking horizontal shot of various angelitos and the diablo enjoying each others company. Their clothing matches the serene gardens they are surrounded with, all happy, behind the door of the restroom.

    In the video for the “Intro feat. Foos Gone Wild,” foos in white approach Cuco as he’s smelling the roses. The audience expects impending violence as that’s how foos are usually portrayed, but instead, one of them grabs a rose and tucks it behind his ear. Perhaps hinting to never judge a foo by his cover. That same foo would later give that piece of nature to one of the women angelitos as they are sitting on a table.

    "Keeping Tabs" is both a vignette about an acid trip and an ode to the city that raised him, celebrating L.A., and the foos who will forever live here.

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