Not every day you meet a 20-year-old with the confidence to set his sights on rap royalty and the audacity to attempt it. Factor in that he's from Australia, and The Kid LAROI's rapid ascent seems even more unlikely. But, after just one major label debut and millions of streams across platforms, the singer born Charlton is proving that for an incoming generation filled with promising talent, yesterday's borders aren't today's barriers, and anyone can make it in America as a rapper.
Born and raised in Sydney (aside from a short stint in the countryside) to a mother of Aboriginal descent and a French father, LAROI was raised by his mother and uncle in a gritty environment. When they weren't at The Fact Tree, a local youth center where they played video games and pool, LAROI and his friends were on the streets. "We used to play with crackheads a lot. We used to just fuck around," he admits, describing his childhood unromantically. Meanwhile, the grown-ups did what they had to, outside the confines of the law, to provide for LAROI.
LAROI grew up consuming one of America's most adored exports, listening to hip-hop and R&B icons like Tupac, Erykah Badu, The Fugees, Lil Wayne, and Kanye West. He's wanted to make music since he can remember, hoping to claim a spot within this specifically American legacy. LAROI started writing raps as a kid, filling notebooks with rhymes, and finessing his skill as a lyricist. But it wasn't until he started uploading freestyle videos online that he began to find an audience for his stories and record his work. "A guy reached out to me on Facebook saying I could use his studio for free—he gave me a bunch of studio time, I made a whole bunch of songs and just posted them up on Soundcloud," he remembers. Following the tragic murder of his uncle in 2015, LAROI and his mother struggled. They moved into project housing and were below the poverty line. LAROI honed in on his music.
After competing in a Triple J Radio competition in 2016, he earned respect from Chicago rapper-turned-industry exec Lil Bibby, whose support led him to performances on stages alongside the late JuiceWRLD, whom he considered a close friend and mentor, THEY, and more. In 2018, he recorded his debut EP 14 With A Dream, executive produced by frequent collaborator Miracle, and watched standout "Blessings" take off. A well-timed freestyle over Drake's Tay Keith-produced "Nonstop" added fuel to LAROI's trailblazing fire.
In 2021, things really exploded for LAROI when, in collaboration with Justin Bieber, the song "Stay" spent 43 weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard pop charts, and the video has garnered almost 1 billion plays on YouTube.

"It's really what I've always imagined. I always knew it was bigger than that," LAROI says about his crossover success and finding an audience. With the success of his most recent album, "The First Time," LAROI is poised to become a household name for real, with him supporting the album on The First Time Tour this spring and summer. "Everything I make is the shit. I love everything I make. I take music super seriously, and I look at it as art," says the rap phenomenon. With an undeniable belief in his potential and a fast-paced track record, LAROI is also the star of the Amazon Prime documentary "The Kids are Growing up," which is all about his life and rise to fame.