The rise of internet beats and self-publication streaming sites like SoundCloud have truly changed the music industry. Now, it is easier than ever to make your own music and build a platform before even being signed to any label — something that, 15 years ago, was completely unheard of. From Jack Harlow to Lil Tecca to NLE Choppa, there’s a lot of new hot talent in the hip-hop scene.
One of the most notable artists climbing the social and musical ladder right now is The Kid LAROI. Aside from just putting out consistently great music, the star’s unique background and friendships set him apart from the rest.
The Kid Laroi (stylized as The Kid LAROI), now 16 years old, was born as Charlton Howard and grew up in the Sydney, Australia area. In an interview with No Jumper, he admits to growing up with a lot of R&B and rap artists like Tupac, The Fugees, Erykah Badu and Kanye West playing at home.
He first started making music to post for friends and family members using his mom’s iPhone when he was around 10 years old. He later began taking music more seriously, and by the age of 12, he was offered free studio time by a local Sydney-based producer. His mother always supported his career and helped him in his efforts to reach out to larger artists in the business to help him create connections.
While rap music is an international genre, a large majority of its popular artists hail from the United States. Obviously, there are some exceptions to this. The UK has built up their rap scene and there has been a surge in Korean and Japanese artists dabbling in the genre, but this has only been recent. For the most part, the U.S. is the largest exporter of rappers and trends within the genre, the international rappers that do exist are quick to name American artists as their main inspirations.
With respect to Australia’s rap scene, Laroi states that when he was growing up, listening to rap music in his country was rare. He claims the few people who were listening to rap music at the time were mainly listening to American artists. Nowadays, however, things are different and rap music has become the new pop.
Laroi’s Australian nationality makes him an unexpected and unique talent. If you listen to his songs, nothing gives away his background. His Aussie accent is nonexistent in his music. Many comment on his Genius “Let Her Go” Verified video explaining their shock after finding out he’s actually Australian after hearing him explain his lyrics.
In the video he actually describes how his decision to mask his accent comes from how inauthentic it would sound to not do so. Since he grew up listening to American rappers, it feels the most natural to him that his music should sound the same way.
Laroi was signed to Columbia Records by Lil Bibby in 2019. Prior to his death, fellow rapper Juice WRLD was mentoring Laroi. He had been a fan of Juice prior to their meeting in 2018. Laroi later joined him as a supporting act on the Australian leg of his tours in 2018 and 2019.
Musically, both artists have similar styles. Juice is notorious in the hip-hop world for bringing his style of melodic rap to the forefront of the genre. Laroi’s sound features a similar style. Since his passing, many Juice fans have put their hope in Laroi to hopefully carry his legacy and continue making the same style of music the late artist once did.
While Laroi has numerous unofficially released songs on his SoundCloud, his Spotify page only boasts an official discography of four songs. With only one of those songs being released prior to December 2019. However, despite only having a small selection of songs, he has over 3 million monthly Spotify listeners.
His most popular song, “Diva” featuring Lil Tecca, another rising artist, has amassed 24 million streams since its release in late January 2020. The song was released on the same day its Cole Bennett-directed music video was posted. But this is not Laroi’s first Bennett video — their first collaboration was back in December 2019 for “Let Her Go.” Most recently, he released “Addison Rae,” named after the popular TikTok star.
With quality music, a unique background and close friendships in the business, Laroi likely isn’t going anywhere. His music is catchy with elements that remind hip-hop fans of the style of a recently departed and iconic Juice. He has become close to artists like Lil Tecca, Lil Skies and Lil Mosey, who he has collaborated and cultivated friendships with.
He already has two Bennett directed music videos, a collaboration that alone has proven to launch careers. With all of this under his belt, Laroi has everything he needs to take a hip-hop scene by storm, like his very own mentor once did three years ago.