With his new song ‘Paralyzed,’ rapper Sueco ‘goes home’ to his punk and hardcore roots, and he tells HL why this new musical direction is so important to him.
If Sueco had any lingering doubts about embracing his punk roots with his new song, “Paralyzed,” they seemingly evaporated during his chat with HollywoodLife. “We got literally, an hour ago, the news that it’s number 65 on the Billboard Hot 100,” Sueco says. It’s his first entry into the chart and a huge milestone for the rising star. We’re chatting less than two weeks after Sueco – known more for his mumble rap stylings under the Sueco The Child moniker – released the punk-powered track. Since then, “Paralyzed” has maintained a presence on the Top 100. For Sueco, it’s validation after taking a risk by embracing a new sound.
“It’s like a dream come true,” he says. “I well – I knew this was gonna happen, right? I knew eventually it was gonna happen. Like, obviously, I didn’t know if that gonna be this song. I knew this was a good song, but I didn’t think it was gonna smack like this, though.” Sueco takes a moment actually to take it in, and he seems genuinely touched by the overwhelming reaction to the song. “It’s a good feeling,” he says of the song and how it’s resonating with people. “Because this is the type of music that I want [to make] — it’s a deeper connection to people. It’s going to mean more to people. And that’s what I always wanted to do — help people through the music. That’s what a record like this — everything I’m putting out — that’s what it does. And so, it means a lot to me that it’s doing so well.”
“Paralyzed” is a natural evolution for Sueco. Beginning with a hip-hop cadence, the song kicks into high gear with a scream-fueled chorus that blends the best of early 2000s hardcore/screamo with the modern-day punk sound. While “Paralyzed” is a departure from his earlier work (“Sober,” “Fast,” “PRIMADONA”), Sueco is no stranger to this harder sound. “I grew up in punk bands, in hardcore bands, I was a screamer,” says Sueco. “Like, that was my first like musical expression. So, it’s just coming back home for me.” Sueco says he was in the third or fourth grade when someone showed him “a little iPod Mini or whatever,” and on it was Green Day’s American Idiot.
“American Idiot was the first album I ever bought with my own money,” said Sueco, who also cites hearing A Day To Remember for the first time as another moment that certified his love for punk. “It was on Pandora. ‘The Downfall of Us All’ came on Pandora, and I was like, ‘what the hell is that?’” he says with a laugh. “I was probably like in, sixths or seventh grade.”
Since then, Sueco has grown up a lifelong punk fan, a truth he’s embracing with his new music. However, this doesn’t mean he’s disavowed his early work. “The rap music that I made that blew up, like — obviously, it’s good. I like it, people like it,” he adds. “But, everything that’s coming out now, it’s deeper than just being in the studio having fun. It’s expressing all the things going on inside, all the things maybe that ‘aren’t the best,’ all the pain.”
The lyrical makeup of “Paralyzed” is cut directly from the emo/screamo cloth, capturing the conflict between the heart and the mind when love has gone wrong. “The song is about this girl that I was in this relationship with,” says Sueco. “I wrote this song maybe a little over two months ago. I’m not with this girl anymore, and it was really like a very short-lived, but very, like, so many emotions in this short time. And what I wrote it about is this feeling where it’s like, I realized in my brain, ‘oh, yeah, this is bad for me. This is really, really bad for me. What am I doing? I need to get the hell out of here. But then, in my emotions, it’s like, ‘oh, man, I wanted so bad. Like, all that I need to be here. I’m gonna keep going for it. It was like that internal conflict. That’s what the song is about. And it’s like, feeling in this in-between space, you’re stuck. You’re paralyzed.”
Sueco’s trajectory is anything but paralyzed. Months before his debut on the Billboard Hot 100, Sueco tested the waters by releasing “SOS,” a collab with the man who has become synonymous with the recent punk resurgence: Travis Barker. Short for “same old story,” Sueco’s “SOS” shows off his singing voice and emotional lyrics. Sueco said it was “sick” to work with him. “It was definitely like a moment, though. Obviously, he’s such a big influence, and like he did so much for the [punk] culture. He’s one of the most famous drummers of all time, and I grew up a drummer. Like, that was the first instrument I ever played. I started playing drums when I was 12. So obviously, I was feeling some type of way.”
Did Travis give any advice to Sueco on his punk journey? “He just said ‘keep doing me.’” Sueco also added that Travis was more of a “reserved,” “chill,” and quiet when working on the song. “He’s like one of those people that’s kind of sits in the corner and doesn’t say much. But when they do, it means a lot. You know what I’m saying?”
Punk has become a way for Sueco and others in his generation to say what’s on their mind, with more and more embracing heavier sounds. As to why rock is making a comeback, Sueco has ideas. “I think there’s a couple of things going on. One is that a lot of things follow a 20-year cycle,” he said, citing the sounds of early 2000s emo, nu-metal, screamo, and post-punk. Sueco also pointed out how those sounds found their way back through hip-hop. “The last couple of years, people like Juice WRLD, XXXTentacion, Lil Peep. They kind of brought these sounds back into the mainstream ear, even though it wasn’t full-blown, you know, rock music or full-blown punk yet. People are connecting those sounds and just taking it to the next step where it’s actually just rock music now. As to where before, it was kind of this hybrid.”
So, will fans get a full-blown rock album from Sueco by the end of the year? “Yeah, I’m finalizing it,” he says. “I hope it’ll be out by the end of the year. But if not, like, the first month, next year, like it’s coming, it’s all coming together.”