F*ck Love 3 proves The Kid LAROI is still just as basic as he seems, seeking celebrity and fleeting pop trifles at the expense of artistic growth.
The story of The Kid LAROI thus far, for those not in the know (which, to be fair, would be the majority of the music-listening public up until a few weeks ago): Aboriginal Australian Charlton Kenneth Jeffrey Howard, at age 14, is discovered by Juice WRLD on tour, is brought back to the States and signed to Lil Bibby, then benefits immensely from his mentor’s post-death stimulus package, goes on SNL to perform a duet with Miley Cyrus, and now, at age 17, is being managed by the modern-day Berry Gordy (Scooter Braun) and is b-ball besties with Justin Bieber. To call his recent rise in popularity meteoric would be an understatement; he’s now comfortably coasting on a career trajectory toward pop stardom, fulfilling the promise that was unfortunately never able to be fully manifested by the late Juice. But he hasn’t exactly come out of nowhere either — unless you consider Sydney nowhere, which, fair enough — and his ever-evolving F*ck Love mixtape provides something of a basic outline of his career for newcomers. There’s the first in the series, opening with the now classic “Booty Call” (skit) and following through with a seemingly endless collection of e-boy, emo-rap heartbreak anthems that found LAROI wailing away about the endless number of backstabbing bitches who’ve ruined his life — and, obviously for a pubescent, the endless amount of Hennessey he’s consuming to numb the pain. It’s deluxe edition, titled SAVAGE, found him upgrading his features list (Lil Mosey replaced by NBA YoungBoy, natch) and digging deeper into the raw timbre of his voice, sounding as if he was about to break down and collapse in the recording booth at any second.
Now we have F*ck Love 3: Over You, a deluxe edition of SAVAGE, which makes this a deluxe edition of a deluxe edition — it should also be noted that there’s a Over You+ deluxe edition that’s also been released, so a deluxe edition of a deluxe edition of a deluxe edition of a supposed standard mixtape — and on streaming services, this latest edition is stacked on top of the older ones like a series of Russian nesting dolls. Since these are all updates of one release, they’re counted as one collection on the charts; it’s a marketing move that’s equal measures genius and horrifying, foreshadowing a future where every mainstream release is this playlist-length frankensteined amalgamation of algorithm-approved metrics. Which is fitting in this circumstance, because as much as The Kid LAROI likes to scream about being blackout drunk and cutting these hoes off, he’s about as basic as this type of angsty music gets. On “Don’t Leave Me,” you have G Herbo and Lil Durk both sounding like they’re baring their souls for all to witness, begging their lovers to come back and for the Lord to forgive them — then you have LAROI coming off like he’s just been grounded from playing Fortnight for the week and name-dropping The Weeknd as someone he eats sushi with. You can find the artist in pure simp mode on “Still Chose You,” claiming he’s in love again over a boring Mustard beat, which sorta defeats the whole purpose of this ever-changing opus, but whatever. And then there’s his big breakout moment, the star-making “Stay” featuring the aforementioned Biebs — a blatant “Blinding Lights” rip-off that sounds like what you get when you ask Charlie Puth to do Max Martin’s job — which is smooth, straightforward, hits quick, is a little thrilling in the moment, but is entirely forgettable in every other respect. It reflects LAROI’s most overt move into the spotlight yet, and one can only assume the levels of celebrity he’ll ascend to once he capitalizes further on F*ck Love 4: The Henny Chronicles.
Published as part of Album Roundup — July 2021 | Part 1.