Sydney-native, LA-inhabiting Charlton Howard – aka The Kid LAROI – dropped his first EP at the tender age of 14. It was a Soundcloud release – no biggie – but it got him the attention he needed when his family hit rock bottom in 2018 and he decided to take financial matters into his own hands.
What happened next was a level-up straight towards superstardom if I’ve ever seen one. He was scooped up under the wing of Juice WRLD. The late rapper saw potential and jumped on it, taking the opportunity to prime the then 15-year-old rising star for the world he’s prepped to take by storm.
In the space of a couple of months and some well-timed releases, The Kid LAROI went from suburban Soundcloud creative to full-blown international chart star. Cut to mid-2020, after a move to Los Angeles and the crippling loss of his friend and mentor Juice WRLD, and LAROI’s copped three 2020 ARIA Awards nominations, built a base of over 11 million monthly listeners on Spotify, and his debut mixtape F*CK LOVE – aptly named – peaked at number 3 on the US Billboard 200. Not bad for a kid from down under.
Beneath a fiery, polished, straight up impressive exterior, F*UCK LOVE is really a brittle, love-struck chronicle of teenage drama – packed with all the effusive, gnarly in-between bits. From break-up angst (“Remind Me Of You”), to the grief-stricken aftermath of losing a friend (“TELL ME WHY”), he neatly straddles the line between hip hop and contemporary R&B – even going so far as to rework Ne-Yo’s classic “So Sick” on “NEED YOU THE MOST”.
He’s also got hot collaborations slotted in all over the map – from Lil Mosey, Corbin, and Juice WRLD who featured on the original drop of the mixtape, he’s shaken things up even more with a deluxe edition of his album, which ropes in the contributions of YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Internet Money, Marshmello, and Machine Gun Kelly on the new and improved body of work.
LAROI has slipped right into the neo-American hip hop envelope and is pushing it hard for his own gain. “I wanna be the biggest artist in the world,” he says, chin tipped forward with confidence in his Spotify Radar interview. And you know what, I think he just might be.