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The Kid Laroi: The incredible rags to riches story of Aussie rap sensation

At just 17 years old, The Kid Laroi is already on top of the world.

Since bursting onto the international music scene in 2019 thanks to an endorsement from late rap icon Juice Wrld, the Indigenous teenager has become one of Australia’s most successful artists.

But life looked very different for Laroi, whose real name is Charlton Howard, just a few years ago.

Two years ago, The Kid Laroi (real name Charlton Howard, pictured) was homeless and bouncing between temporary living arrangements with his mother. Today, at just 17, he lives in a mansion in LA and has a number one album to his name

Overnight sensation

Born in Waterloo, Sydney, Laroi grew up in relative poverty, spending his formative years in a housing commission block and couch surfing with his mother.

He began rapping at the age of 13, predominantly as an outlet to process his family struggles and the death of his uncle two years earlier.

He achieved modest success as a finalist in Australian radio station Triple J’s Unearthed High competition, but his real breakthrough came when he was signed as international rap sensation Juice Wrld’s labelmate at Grade A Productions in 2019.

The duo quickly became close, with Laroi even referring to Juice as his ‘big brother’ after being selected to support him on the Sydney and Melbourne legs of his Australian tour in November 2019.

Born in Waterloo, Sydney, Laroi grew up in relative poverty, spending his formative years in a housing commission block and couch surfing with his mother, Sloane (right)

Born in Waterloo, Sydney, Laroi grew up in relative poverty, spending his formative years in a housing commission block and couch surfing with his mother, Sloane (right) 

He achieved modest success as a finalist in Australian radio station Triple J's Unearthed High competition, but his real breakthrough came when he was signed as international rap sensation Juice Wrld's (pictured) label mate at Grade A Productions in 2019

He achieved modest success as a finalist in Australian radio station Triple J’s Unearthed High competition, but his real breakthrough came when he was signed as international rap sensation Juice Wrld’s (pictured) label mate at Grade A Productions in 2019

Fate took a cruel turn and just weeks later on December 8, Juice Wrld died at the age of 21, after suffering a reported seizure at Chicago Midway International Airport. 

Prior to his death, Juice recorded a verse for GO, the lead single on Laroi’s debut mixtape, knowing full well it would rocket the teen to fame overnight.

It did just that upon its release in June 2020, and in the blink of an eye the talented underdog from Waterloo had a single on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 – a feat many artists can only ever dream of achieving.

Fate took a cruel turn and just weeks later on December 8, Juice Wrld died at the age of 21, after suffering a reported seizure at Chicago Midway International Airport

Fate took a cruel turn and just weeks later on December 8, Juice Wrld died at the age of 21, after suffering a reported seizure at Chicago Midway International Airport

He went on to become the youngest Australian to have a number one album on the ARIA charts with the release of F*ck Love (Savage) in July 2020. 

The record settled at number three in the U.S. 

The next month, Laroi secured a record deal with Sony Music and relocated from Sydney to Los Angeles with his family.

Prior to his death, Juice recorded a verse for GO, the lead single on Laroi's debut mixtape, F*ck Love, knowing full well it would rocket the teen to fame overnight

Prior to his death, Juice recorded a verse for GO, the lead single on Laroi’s debut mixtape, F*ck Love, knowing full well it would rocket the teen to fame overnight 

GO did just that upon its release in June 2020. He went on to become the youngest Australian to have an album debut at number one on the Australian ARIA charts with the release of F*ck Love in July 2020. The record settled at number three in the US

GO did just that upon its release in June 2020. He went on to become the youngest Australian to have an album debut at number one on the Australian ARIA charts with the release of F*ck Love in July 2020. The record settled at number three in the US

The Early Years

Laroi developed a passion for music from a young age, largely thanks to the influence of his mother Sloane, an Indigenous music executive, and his father Nick, a French music producer

Laroi developed a passion for music from a young age, largely thanks to the influence of his mother Sloane, an Indigenous music executive, and his father Nick, a French music producer

Laroi developed a passion for music from a young age, largely thanks to the influence of his mother Sloane, an Indigenous music executive, and his father Nick, a French music producer. 

At the age of seven, Laroi moved to Broken Hill, a dusty mining town in regional New South Wales to live with his mother and uncle. 

But after his uncle’s death when he was 11, Laroi and his mother moved to a housing commission block in Waterloo. 

Unfortunately, they were evicted after complaints about noise and traffic.  

He soon started to focus on music seriously and joined the exclusive Australian Performing Arts Grammar School in Adelaide. After his uncle's death when he was 11, Laroi and his mother moved to a housing commission block in Waterloo

He soon started to focus on music seriously and joined the exclusive Australian Performing Arts Grammar School in Adelaide. After his uncle’s death when he was 11, Laroi and his mother moved to a housing commission block in Waterloo

However, his stint on South Australia was brief, and Laroi soon returned to Sydney and began living at a housing commission block in Waterloo with his mum

However, his stint on South Australia was brief, and Laroi soon returned to Sydney and began living at a housing commission block in Waterloo with his mum

At the time, Laroi was attending Sydney’s Australian Performing Arts Grammar School on a scholarship.

Left homeless and penniless, the duo spent the next two years couch surfing, while Laroi did everything possible to make money from his music. 

Making a megastar 

By 2015, The Kid Laroi (performing as Charlton at the time) was living in Adelaide, where he was mentored by producer DJ Ladykiller.

After a blow-away performance at Ladykiller’s house party, the pair formed a duo called Dream Team and quickly gained attention on the local scene. 

In a documentary by Radar released in November last year, home footage from 2018 shows Laroi giving fans a tour of his squalid bedroom, which contained a blow-up mattress (pictured), a mirror and a tiny heater in the corner

In a documentary by Radar released in November last year, home footage from 2018 shows Laroi giving fans a tour of his squalid bedroom, which contained a blow-up mattress (pictured), a mirror and a tiny heater in the corner

He and Sloane were left homeless and penniless for two years after being evicted from the public housing commission. Pictured: Laroi in front of Waterloo's infamous Drysdale housing commission building

He and Sloane were left homeless and penniless for two years after being evicted from the public housing commission. Pictured: Laroi in front of Waterloo’s infamous Drysdale housing commission building 

They eventually disbanded for unknown reasons, but the seed for performing was firmly planted and Laroi’s career went from strength to strength. 

Reflecting on his days growing up on the streets, Laroi told Sony Music: ‘[My friends and I] used to play with crackheads a lot, we used to just f**k around.’

In a documentary by Radar released in November last year, home footage from 2018 shows Laroi giving fans a tour of his squalid bedroom, which contained a blow-up mattress, a mirror and a tiny heater in the corner. 

His belongings were stored in washing baskets, and there were large holes in the dirt-stained walls

His belongings were stored in washing baskets, and there were large holes in the dirt-stained walls

‘It got to a point where we had nowhere to go. We were like, staying on my mum’s couch and s**t like that. And [a man] was literally cooking meth right next to us. S**t was getting really hectic,’ he said. 

‘When you get kicked out of public housing, that’s like, f**ked up. Because like, public housing is like, the last resort. So after that it’s like, what the f**k? Where do I go from there?’ 

‘I got me and my little brother out to LA. And we got a little house and s**t,’ he proudly told Radar. 

A mural of Laroi was painted in Chapel Lane, Waterloo, by artist Scott Scott Marsh in August 2020

A mural of Laroi was painted in Chapel Lane, Waterloo, by artist Scott Scott Marsh in August 2020  

After Juice WRLD'S death in December 2019, The Kid Laroi secured a record deal with Sony Music, and relocated from Sydney to Los Angeles with his family. Pictured: Laroi's home in LA

After Juice WRLD’S death in December 2019, The Kid Laroi secured a record deal with Sony Music, and relocated from Sydney to Los Angeles with his family. Pictured: Laroi’s home in LA 

Bright Future

The Kid Laroi is the 77th most popular artist in the world on Spotify, with 27 million listeners, and many of his songs have become viral hits on TikTok. 

On Sunday, after 28 weeks in the ARIA top 50 album chart, Laroi’s 2020 release F**k Love (Savage) finally reached number one.

He tweeted: ‘#1 in my own country. Words cannot describe this feeling. Anybody who knows me, knows that where I’m from means everything to me. I’m more than blessed to have my country behind me, and I promise that I won’t let them down.

The Kid Laroi is the 77th most popular artist in the world on Spotify, with 27 million listeners, and many of his songs have become viral hits on TikTok

The Kid Laroi is the 77th most popular artist in the world on Spotify, with 27 million listeners, and many of his songs have become viral hits on TikTok

‘One of my biggest goals in this whole music s**t from the beginning has always been to show the rest of the world what Australia has to offer, and how much raw and unseen talent that we have. It’s not an overnight process, but I can feel it slowly happening.’

Laroi concluded: ‘And I’m taking this s**t all the way too. I love you so so so so much family. I cannot thank you enough. Australia to the world.’

F**k Love (Savage) has already been certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association for selling more than 35,000 units.

His debut album is also performing well in Britain and the U.S., charting at #11 and #13 respectively as of last week.

Kicking goals: On Sunday, after 28 weeks in the ARIA top 50 album chart, Laroi's 2020 release F**k Love (Savage) finally reached number one

Kicking goals: On Sunday, after 28 weeks in the ARIA top 50 album chart, Laroi’s 2020 release F**k Love (Savage) finally reached number one

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk