Australian multi-hyphenate The Kid LAROI has become a case study for how fast rap moves across the world in today’s era. The 19-year-old, who spent much of his younger years in Sydney’s projects, has since become a global superstar in the short span of a few years.
For many, LAROI’s emergence in hip-hop came by way of the late Juice WRLD, who much like the rapper, was on pace to become one of the genre’s biggest stars. In 2019, he opened up for the Chicago-native in Sydney and Melbourne, which subsequently led to him signing to Lil Bibby’s Grade A Productions—who Juice was signed to at the time. For his 16th birthday, he surprised LAROI with a verse on what would be his breakout single “GO,” released the following year just four months after the “Lucid Dreams” rapper passed away. The song, having accumulated 69 million YouTube views and over a billion global streams, details the pair’s personal struggles with girls and drugs. Notably, you can see the resemblance between Juice’s raw emotion and the musician’s signature style.
The KID LAROI—real name Charlton Howard—dropped his debut mixtape F*CK LOVE under Columbia Records. Comprised of 15 tracks, four of them being skits, the project featured the likes of Lil Mosey and Corbin. Promotional records like “GO” and “TELL ME WHY” also appear on the full-length release, whilst new songs like “NOT FAIR,” “WRONG,” and “SELFISH” help cement the project as a firm body of work. Given the immense amount of industry support he had received post-Juice WRLD being his mentor, production is backed by Platinum beatmakers such as Benny Blanco, Bobby Raps, Cashmere Cat, and Internet Money producers like Taz Taylor, Pharoah Vice, and Rio Leyva. Laying the groundwork for his career, F*CK LOVE went RIAA-certified two times Platinum as of February 2022.
F*CK LOVE (SAVAGE), the deluxe to its predecessor, arrived in the latter of 2020 in November. Billed as the second installment in its series, the project introduces seven never-heard-before tracks including features from Machine Gun Kelly, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, and Marshmello. On “TRAGIC,” LAROI and YoungBoy reflect on their journey from rags to riches while on “F*CK YOU, GOODBYE,” he taps MGK to delve into relationship issues with their respective partners. However, the release’s final cut aptly titled “WITHOUT YOU” seemingly rose to success, peaking at No. 23 on the Billboard 100 charts the following year and going three times multi-Platinum. The record continued to sore into popularity, receiving a remix from Miley Cyrus, who performed the song on Saturday Night Live alongside LAROI.
In 2021, The Kid LAROI released F*CK LOVE 3: OVER YOU, which saw the musician straw away from his hip-hop-centered sound into a more pop-centric style of writing and recording. This is further highlighted through his smash hit “STAY” with Justin Beiber which notably serves as his strongest record to date. Their collaboration debuted at #3 on the Hot 100 during the charting month of its release becoming his highest charting and Bieber’s 24th. LAROI’s list of A-list features continues across the project with Polo G and Stunna Gambino on “NOT SOBER” as well as G-Herbo and Lil Durk on “DON’T LEAVE ME.” F*CK LOVE 3: OVER YOU also serves as his final project under Scooter Braun’s SB Projects to join Adam Leber’s Rebel Management, which houses Lil Nas X and Labrinth.
The deluxe edition of the project arrived a mere week removed from its original, updating the tracklist with six new songs. On the opening cut, “I DON’T KNOW,” LAROI almost immediately affirms his next project: “I promise you shit ain’t over, album 2022.” The full-length release is also joined by songs like “LONELY AND F*CKED UP” and “BEST FOR ME.” Production-wise, he taps frequent collaborators Khaled Rohaim and Keanu Beats as well as Internet Money’s Taz Taylor and Nick Mera among a plethora of others. It seemingly set the tone for the rest of the year as LAROI announced his first-ever headline “End of the World” tour slated to kick off at the top of the new year.
“THOUSAND MILES,” a song detailing his relationship with girlfriend Katarine Deme, marked The Kid LAROI’s long-awaited return to music. Released in April, the record serves as the lead single to his eagerly-awaited debut album, titled KIDS ARE GROWING UP. The accompanying video, which has amassed a whopping 15 million views on YouTube, was met with accusations from Oliver Tree, stating that the music video director Breslauer copied scenes from several of his visuals. Although fans alike of the latter flooded LAROI’s comments with claims of stealing concepts, neither he nor the director have yet to respond to the allegations.
“It’s probably my most personal project so far. I’ve been trying to experiment as much as possible with different sounds and different ways of making music,” LAROI tells Variety when speaking on the forthcoming release. “[I] tried to step out of my comfort zone a little bit, and forced myself to talk about things that I haven’t really wanted to talk about in the past.” Reportedly slated to release during the summer, KIDS ARE GROWING UP will put forth some of The Kid LAROI’s best work to date.