That's due in no small part to the focused placement of his music on various editorial playlists on the platform, which Monahan calls “the bread and butter of growing somebody globally because it’s the most direct way to find audiences in different territories.” Since Spotify named LAROI a RADAR artist last October, his programmed streams -- or the ones coming from playlists -- have increased by 262% (and 176% across the board).
“We saw a tremendous amount of momentum grow in a variety of places he didn’t have before -- Nordic [countries], the Netherlands, Germany, the U.K.,” Monahan says. “He’s turning into one of the most exciting global superstars that we have in music.”
It certainly helps that LAROI's presence not only exists on countrywide, all-genre Spotify hits playlists (such as Hot Hits USA, UK or Deutschland) but many curated genre-specific ones. In the past year, his music has appeared everywhere from Pop Rising to RapCaviar to Alt NOW. Per Monahan, streaming data shows that despite his hip-hop background, he’s currently performing best in pop-leaning spaces. And the same applies at radio: “Without You,” which is yet to chart on R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay, continues to make waves at Pop Airplay and Alternative Airplay, recently lifting to the top 15 on both charts.
LAROI places little emphasis on being viewed as a “rapper” at this point, anyway. “I don’t tie myself to any label -- I just tie myself to being an artist making music,” he says. “Whatever genre that comes out, comes out. I’m open to everything. I’d like to explore the country element.”
“In 2021, every artist is an amalgamation of a variety of different genres,” Monahan adds. “LAROI is a perfect example of that. That means whenever there’s a song that makes more sense for one space versus another, we’re going to actively go after that audience and try to bring them in.”
To Monahan’s point, LAROI is hardly the first of his peers to try his hand at many different genres en route to commercial success outside of hip-hop, even if his strategy to tap into different markets is less outwardly overt than fellow rising artists iann dior, 24kGoldn or Trippie Redd. Part of that, Jideonwo alleges, is because he thinks LAROI still has “to identify with something” and that “at his core, he excels the most at melodic rap.
“I think him being a rapper is still great,” he continues. “It’s the most relevant base right now. It’s where the kids are. The things that make social tick every day push out from the hip-hop space -- I don’t hear about Taylor Swift every day, but I hear about what Lil Baby does every day.”