Plenty of young rappers have made music then found fame and success via the internet. The thing is, a lot of them do it in their respective countries, and don’t tend to cross over like 16-year-old rapper and singer The Kid Laroi has. A native of Sydney, Australia, Laroi first discovered rap by freestyling when he was 9 years old after becoming inspired by the music his mother played around him. He started to upload his bars to Facebook, and began to build a following and gain momentum. By 13, he was recording in a studio, thanks to his manager at the time. Those hours in that studio would soon change Laroi’s life.
The EP he created in the studio was 14 With a Dream, which he released in 2018. That music got Laroi, born Charlton Howard, both on the radar locally and stateside. For someone so young, Laroi’s appeal has lied in his well thought-out songwriting and melodic delivery, right alongside how youthful he is. He’s a teenager dealing with the ups and downs of life and romance, but hasn’t lost his ability to just enjoy life.
Following the release of his EP, and gaining a growing fan base, Laroi inked a deal with Columbia Records through his signing with Lil Bibby and his brother G-Money, co-CEOs of their record label Grade A Productions, in 2019. While the brothers already had Juice Wrld in tow, signing The Kid Laroi in 2019 expanded their roster, and provided the young Australian artist with an in-house successful rap mentor. Soon after, Laroi joined Juice Wrld on the Death Race for Love Tour, and then dropped his breakout song “Let Her Go” in December of 2019, which has been streamed 40 million times to date on Spotify.
He followed up that track with “Diva” featuring Lil Tecca, which has over 60 million streams to its name, as well as “Go,” his collab with Juice Wrld, which was released six months after the Chicago rap star’s tragic death. Video for the track shows Juice gifting Laroi with a feature verse during a trip to Greece for his birthday.
Now with The Kid Laroi’s name buzzing and his new mixtape, F*ck Love, featuring anticipated tracks like “Tell My Why” on the way, he speaks with XXL for the latest edition of XXL‘s The Break.
Hometown: Sydney, Australia
I grew up listening to: “My mom would play a lot of Erykah Badu and Tupac [Shakur] and Fugees and Kanye [West], and stuff like that around the house. But as I got a little older and started looking at shit myself, I started getting into stuff like Young Thug and Future. I love Lil Wayne.”
I’m going to blow up because: “I don’t know. I just have a really strong mind and I just believe in myself a lot. I think shit into existence and then I work towards it. You can’t really explain it, it’s just a feeling. You have to have a mentality, you can’t fail. You have to do it. That’s what’s helped me a lot.”
What’s your most slept-on song, and why?: “I’d say probably this song called ‘Too Much.’ It’s not on Apple Music, but it’s, it’s actually on SoundCloud and I think that’s my favorite song that I’ve put out to the world, but I think it’s got, maybe, the least amount of plays from the recent stuff that I put out.
It was just a guitar demo that I did. It still did pretty decent. It still got a million plays on SoundCloud. The songs that I’ve put out already, I like them and they’re cool, but I just feel like it’s not necessarily the direction that I want to go towards as an artist. I want to do more meaningful stuff. ‘Too Much’ was just more of what I want to head towards.”
My standout records to date have been: “I think the next biggest one [to ‘Diva’] is either ‘Let It Go’ or ‘Addison Rae.’ I knew [‘Diva’] was going to do decent because [Lil] Tecca was on it and whatever. And I don’t know, I liked the song, even though it didn’t really mean personally a lot to me, but I liked how it sounded. It was just a cool, fun Tecca song. So, I did think people would like it as well.”
My standout moments to date have been: “All of this shit is really big to me. A lot of this shit is really exciting and fun. I don’t really know. I’m meeting so many fucking great people and doing songs with people that I’ve been listening to for a long time. I don’t know. I met Drake. That was crazy. Chief Keef, that was another crazy one. Obviously, people like Ski Mask The Slump God, that’s my boy. I don’t know. I’m literally on my Instagram right now looking through…Trippie Redd, Polo G, Lil Tjay.
Most people don’t know: “I am really competitive. I take my basketball very seriously, even though I’m not really that good. I take it very seriously. I’m the person that I’m not that great, but I’ll swear to god that I’m Michael Jordan.”
I’m going to be the next: “And only Kid Laroi.”
“Let Her Go”
“Go” Featuring Juice WRLD
“Diva” Featuring Lil Tecca
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