This Saturday, The Kid LAROI’s debut mixtape, F*ck Love, celebrates its one-year anniversary. The project debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200, which subsequently led to the Australian rapper-singer “jumping around the house all f--king day” in a combination of excitement and shock, as he told Billboard last fall. It’s the kind of accomplishment that has become increasingly familiar to LAROI in the time since, though has seemingly lost its shine over the past year — so much so, in fact, that he’s already trying to put the recent news of “Stay” debuting at No. 3 on the Hot 100 in the rearview mirror.
“I don’t really like to think about it too much,” he says during a break from filming a live performance, shortly after finding out about the career-best mark on the chart. “I like to keep it moving and just forget about it a little bit.”
Despite the 17-year-old’s forward-thinking mentality, his impressive charts presence is becoming progressively more difficult to brush aside. On charts dated July 24, he both scores his first No. 1 on Billboard’s Streaming Songs chart -- LAROI has been putting up eye-popping numbers on DSPs for months now -- with the uptempo, Justin Bieber-assisted “Stay,” and holds the top slot at Hot Rock & Alternative Songs for a 10th week, thanks to acoustic ballad “Without You.” (The latter received a remix with Miley Cyrus in late April and the two performed the track on Saturday Night Live a week later.)
On Friday (July 23), LAROI will release EP F*ck Love 3, out on Columbia Records, which he teased on Instagram earlier in the week as “the final chapter” in the series. The tracklist boasts collaborations with Polo G, Lil Durk, Mustard and more -- and of course Bieber, who LAROI counts as one of his “biggest inspirations in life,” on "Stay." The EP is slated to arrive on the same day as new music from another one of his idols, Kanye West, who confirmed the release date of his 10th studio album, Donda, in a Sha’Carri Richardson-fronted Beats by Dre ad during the NBA Finals last night. “I’m kind of sad for myself, but I’m happy for Kanye,” LAROI says, with a self-deprecating laugh, at the prospect of sharing project drop dates. “I love Kanye more than I love myself.”
F*ck Love 3 is LAROI’s most highly anticipated release to-date, as well as his first since making several industry-related moves over the past few months. In February, he signed separate deals with UTA for worldwide representation (except in Australia, New Zealand and Asia) and Sony Music Publishing. And last month, he joined Scooter Braun’s SB Projects team for management, joining the likes of superstars Bieber and Ariana Grande.
Below, LAROI tells Billboard about how he added Bieber to “Stay,” the painful details behind the song’s music video, when fans can expect his long-awaited debut album and more.
Your fans have been clamoring for the official release of “Stay” for months. How does it feel both to finally have it out in the world and to have it received to the tune of a career-best No. 3 debut on the Hot 100?
It feels pretty f--king crazy when I sit here and think about it, but I don’t really like reflecting on career highs because then you get stuck in that [mentality] and you never come out of it. I’m really happy that people love it, but literally, I’m in the studio right now making new songs. I’m just ready for the world to hear the new s--t.
There have been leaked snippets of "Stay" out for a while. How did the idea of adding Justin Bieber to the track develop?
When he had sent me “Unstable” for his album [Justice] in January, I was scrambling in my notes, trying to find something that I could send him to get him on my project. “Stay” was just this little unfinished idea that I had -- it was in production and super rough, but I was just like, “S--t, he’d sound really good on this.” So, I pulled up on him one day and gave him the files and he did it.
You recently signed with Scooter Braun for management. Did he help facilitate either of your collaborations with Bieber? Or, did Bieber help put you in contact with Braun’s team?
No, we didn’t connect through Scooter. Justin hit me [over Instagram DM] because he just f--ked with my music and was trying to get me on the project. I was around, and I saw how everything was moving and how positive everyone [at SB Projects] was. I came to Justin and asked him for some advice when I was going through a hard time, and he helped me out. I’m grateful that he let me use his team.
Rising hitmakers and frequent collaborators Omer Fedi and Blake Slatkin both have co-producing and co-writing credits on “Stay.” What’s the environment like in the studio with them?
I like working with them because (jokingly) I suck and they also suck, so when they come to the studio, we usually make ideas that I’ll probably hate. Then I’ll like them a week later, and then I’ll hate them again, but everyone else really likes them. So, we just put them out. We have good chemistry for some reason. I think it’s because we’re actually friends, too.
Tell me how the idea for the music video came about. Was that your first time being harnessed in with the wires and everything?
Yeah, it was. It hurt my balls. The director, Colin Tilley, sent me a treatment that I didn’t really like at first, so I just told him, “Send me some more ideas.” And he sent me five different treatments because he’s a f--king god. I picked the best sounding one to me, and that’s the one now you see with me levitating over the bed. I watched a lot of [Tilley’s] music videos growing up, so it was really cool to do that with him.
F*ck Love 3 drops this Friday (July 23), which you’ve said is the final chapter in this series. Why is this the right closing point?
Just because of what’s happening in my life -- I have a girlfriend now and I really love her. It’s time to close the F*ck Love show.
Despite three EPs in the span of a year, fans are still eagerly awaiting your debut album. Is that something we can expect this year?
Probably 2022. I’m just taking it as it comes — I’m not putting any day on it or anything. If it’s ready earlier, it’ll be out earlier.