The Kid LAROI is a name to be taken literally, because the Sydney hip hop artist is 15 years old. And while he’s years younger than many of his peers in Australian music, LAROI’s voice, energy and vision position him firmly at the forefront of Australia’s evolving hip-hop scene.
What does a regular day for Laroi look like in 2018?
A 2018 regular day is a lot different to what a 2016, 2017 regular day would’ve been. Now, I’ve got school from Monday to Friday. After school, I’m heading to the studio, getting some work done, having some meetings. Then on the weekends, it’s meetings in the studio. I’m literally so busy nowadays. It’s sometimes hard to spend time with friends and stuff, but it’s all for a bigger picture. I’m aware of that, and I think all of my friends are aware of that too.
And what do your friends say about everything that’s happening right now? Are they gassed about it?
My boys, they love it. People that come from where I’m from, where I live – it’s not necessarily a place where you hear a lot of musical artists. I guess they love that I’m out there and actually doing something with my life, as opposed to just sitting and getting into a lot of trouble that you do as a young teenager.
Being 15 years old, do you think you’ve already found your voice as an artist? And if so, when do you think that was?
I think that I’m learning every single day. In terms of finding my voice, I think I know the story I want to tell, the things that I want to make active in my music. I definitely think so, but I’m only 15. I’m growing as a person, I’m learning as a person. I don’t think a lot of people find their voice until they’re 20, 25. It’s sad, because some people don’t ever find their voice or what they want to say. I think that at this point in time right now, I know what I want to talk about. So yes and no, to answer the question.
You’ve collaborated with Manu Crooks, B Wise and Miracle on the production. What’s your relationship with those guys, professionally as well as personally?
Honestly, before you collaborate with someone, I believe it has to start on a personal level for it to become organic. Whether it’s just someone reaching out to you, or whether you guys work in the same place, whatever. That’s how it’s gotta be for me, anyway! So when I started recording three years ago at the same studio as everyone, it takes time to build that relationship. After that, it was more of a natural thing where I would be working on something in a room, or they’d be working on something in a room, and I’d just come in, “Hey, can I lay something down?” Or I’d get their opinion on certain shit. Now, it’s even grown to something where they’re just like my big brothers. They’re people that I definitely take inspiration from, and they teach me a lot of lessons as well—a lot of life lessons that I probably wouldn’t know if they weren’t here. I’m thankful for that.
Besides Manu and your immediate circle, can you name three other Australian acts who you think are going to be future legends?
In terms of people making big waves, ChillinIt. He’s hot as hell. I really fuck with ChillinIt and what he’s doing, he’s creating a movement. Triple One, they go hard. And then one more, I’d have to say… Can it be me? Can I pick myself? I hate to be that guy, but I definitely hope that I’m a legend.
I was hoping you’d pick yourself.
Yeah, I can’t leave myself out of that.
There’s definitely times where I sit down and think, “I haven’t caught up with my boys in a minute.” Or, “I need to spend some more time at home with my family.” I know my Mum is always calling me—”Where ya at?” I think I honestly spend more time at the studio than I do at home or around my friends. There are some times where I do get in my feelings and think about that shit… But then again, at the end of the day, the people around me—my family, my boys—they know that this is all for something bigger. They know that although I’m not present as much, it won’t be like this forever. As soon as we crack this and become what we need to be, then it’ll happen.
Where are some of your favourite places to hang out in Sydney?
I’ll just be chilling around my area, Redfern, Waterloo, whatever. Newtown’s cool, because of the shops like Clem’s Chicken. Places like Foot Locker… I’ll go in the shop like I’m about to buy something—me and the boys always do this. We’re sitting there, looking around. They’re like, “Oh, can we help you with anything?” We might even try the shoe on or something, and then put it back on the shelf. We don’t got no money to pay for that! I guess that’s another thing that motivates me, when I see something that I want, and I think I’ve got to get it. Obviously, I want to help my mum, she’d like a house and stuff like that. I want to be able to rent a house or buy a house, and not be in the housing commission for the rest of my life. That’s definitely another big thing.
Imagine you get to throw The Kid LAROI Festival. Where’s it going to be, what’s it going to look like, and who’s on the bill?
I’m sorry, man. I just choked, I’ve been waiting for this my whole life… I’d have it in all different places. I’d have it like a touring festival, but to start off, I’d definitely have a big one in Sydney. And the lineup, as of now, it’d probably be myself, Travis Scott, Kanye, Post Malone. I’m shooting for the stars. That’s definitely something that’s always a dream of mine. I want to be able to throw my own festival, a festival for the youth as well. A lot of people claim that they know the youth, but they don’t know shit. So, if it’s coming from someone who is a youth, I think that’s a lot better.
Everyone’s talking about your Lil Skies’ collaboration, so what can you tell us about that one?
A lot of people been asking, “How did this come about? When’s it coming out?” This is literally how it happened: He messaged me through the DMs on Instagram, and he told me, “I’m fucking with you hard. Send me something with a verse on it, I got you.” Then after that, we FaceTimed a few times, we built the connection a little bit more. I sent him something. He went to the studio and got that back to me. He’s actually a very wise person, he’s definitely a great person to have around to call or text whenever I need some advice. He’s definitely someone that I look up to, in terms of humbleness.
What music are you working on now, and how does that differ from the ’14 With a Dream’ EP?
I believe that my music is a stamp in time. Obviously, I’m still growing. I’m going to be progressing even more and more as I get older. I called it 14 With a Dream not because I wanted to sound mad corny, but because I recorded all them songs when I was 14. It’s literally a stamp in time. I think a lot of the stuff I’m creating now has a little more longevity, and has a more global sound. You can hear the progression, hear the maturity in my voice. I think a lot of the stuff I’m working now is cool. I don’t like to sit there and gas myself, because whenever I listen to one of my songs, it’s kinda weird. I like it, but it’s weird hearing my own voice, you know what I mean? Yeah, there’s a few songs that I actually genuinely like, and that hasn’t happened for a long time. I guess it’s different, but it should be good when it comes out.