Without a doubt, the biggest star to emerge from the hip-hop scene down under, The Kid LAROI. is a global phenomenon. From Waterloo flats to the top of the Billboard charts, his meteoric rise has been unlike anything we have witnessed before, or likely will again. Now, fresh off the release of his debut album, the ‘STAY’ artist (a song which is on track to be only the ninth ever to reach 3 billion streams on Spotify) gets a dedicated feature-length documentary Kids Are Growing Up: A Story About A Kid Named Laroi. directed by regular Justin Bieber and Kevin Hart collaborator Michael D. Ratner.

Described as “an intimate story of Charlton “The Kid LAROI” Howard”, the 86-minute picture began filming before the release of ‘STAY’ and captures a behind-the-scenes journey of his rise from prodigal talent to an arena-filling powerhouse.

Available exclusively via Amazon Prime Video on February 29, the flick is bound to be a hit with his loyal fanbase, yet will also capture the interest of even the most casual of listeners. We got an early peek at the doco, and have saved you reading through the inevitable extensive reviews and critical analysis that will surface online, with the key things to anticipate as you dive in:

1. Don’t expect a tell-all backstory

While the streaming age has ushered in the golden era of documentaries, and along with it an appetite for juicy, revealing exposes; this is anything but. It’s less of a detailed chronology of his origins and more of a companion’s perspective across his remarkable journey. Though this will upset the dedicated internet sleuths who revel in the ongoing dissection of his rapid rise, it makes for more enjoyable viewing. There’s some never-before-seen footage from the early LAROI. years (including a scary accurate self-prediction of his stardom), and more access and insight than ever into his family (and particularly the relationship with, and career of, his musician Dad), but largely the narrative is focused on period post-linkup with Juice WRLD.

2. His musical genius is undeniable

When you have Post Malone and Justin Bieber openly praising his songwriting and vocal abilities, coupled with raw, in-studio footage of his creative process; it’s hard to walk away feeling like The Kid LAROI. is anything less than a generational talent. The honest dialogue between LAROI. and Bieber detailing how JB convinced him to keep ‘STAY’ the smash hit he was unsure of (on which the final vocal performance you hear was his very first take) and initially wanted to give away, is mind-blowing. Then, when you have Columbia Records Chairman and CEO Ron Perry personally hitting your line on the regular, it’s clear you ain’t no regular artist. There’s levels to this, and the film makes it evident that LAROI. is right at the top.

3. The film humanises him unlike any previous content

From his vivid account of witnessing the passing of his mentor Juice WRLD, to his concerns on how the LA celeb lifestyle may affect his younger brother Austin, this is a vulnerable insight to a human being experiencing a life the vast majority can only dare to imagine. The paradox of his overwhelming confidence in his ability, coupled with his anxiety and constant doubts over his path, showcases a teenager navigating complexities that all can relate to. Add to the mix the regular presence of, and contribution from, his now ex-partner Katarina Deme, and it makes for a pretty candid and harsh reality. Yes, he’s a superstar. No, he’s not Superman.

4. The production and animation quality make it a memorable watch

It’s really well put together. Cuts between behind-the-scenes footage, to cameo interviews from Post Malone, Justin Bieber, Lil Bibby, and more, to his own insights and reflections both in real-time, and reflection – you will stay locked in for the entire hour and a half. Special mention needs to be made of animator Devin Flynn, whose trippy overlays and character form of The Kid LAROI. (who interrupts, breaks the fourth wall, and narrates the documentary) give the flick not only some visual brilliance, but some much-needed, light-hearted, comic relief while addressing the heavy themes of mental health struggles, relationship breakdown, and substance abuse.

5. We are witnessing his growth and maturity in real-time

Jokes on the evolution of his hairstyle showcase what we all know blatantly, but often seem to easily forget – he’s just a kid. One who we are watching grow up before our eyes while carrying a weight of expectation from not only his family, his label, and his circle, but his entire country of origin. It’s clear that the LAROI. we are first presented with; bald, buck-toothed, and rapping out the front seat of a Sydney car, is not the blond-locked, chart-topping pop star we see at the end. And therein lies the entire plot of the documentary – the kid is growing up. Physically. Emotionally. Artistically. His experiences have shaped his perspective. His tribulations have accelerated his maturity. And while it appears he has even greater days and more growth ahead; as the credits roll, you can’t help but feel proud of the kid.

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