The Kid LAROI‘s latest single, “WHERE DOES YOUR SPIRIT GO?”, might just be his most poignant release yet. 

Debuted at Coachella, the song reflects on the death of his close friends, Juice WRLD and Saiko, and grapples with how to deal with those seismic losses.

“This one means a lot to me. It’s super personal,” the Australian rapper said when it was released. “It’s a song about loss, grieving and dealing with the thoughts and emotions that come with that. I pray for all of you who are going through something similar currently and I hope this helps you feel a little less alone in all of it.”

The Kid LAROI’s talent was always likely to find recognition, to rise above myriad other hopeful voices, but it’s also true that Juice WRLD entering his life had a monumental impact.

Their relationship started all the way back in early 2019, when LAROI met Juice for the first time at Butter Sydney, a Surry Hills venue not far from where LAROI grew up in Redfern. Queues stretched around three corners of the restaurant as eager fans lined up to see Juice at an organised meet and greet.

Connor Sprague, a local music photographer, was there to catalogue their first meeting. He had been working with LAROI for around two months before that day at Butter Sydney.

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Juice WRLD The Kid LAROI
Credit: Connor Sprague

“The (above) shot was taken just before Juice WRLD opened up his meet and greet, with The Kid LAROI gaining early access as he would be opening for Juice’s tour that followed,” he recalls.

As Sprague says, LAROI had gained a bit of attention for his work with Lil Skies at that point, but he was for all intents and purposes just another fan at the meet and greet.

Juice WRLD The Kid LAROI
Credit: Connor Sprague

Juice WRLD
Credit: Connor Sprague

Following that first meeting, LAROI and Juice ended up in a Sydney studio together, toured Australia together, before Juice’s label, Grade A, eventually signed LAROI later that year.

And that seemingly nondescript initial meeting soon went global when Sprague’s picture of LAROI and Juice was flashed to millions of people on a billboard above Times Square. “Who knew what would come from this duo and the legacy they would leave,” Sprague says.

The photographer continued to follow LAROI throughout 2019, cataloguing his tentative first steps to superstardom, before he made the permanent move to the US. LAROI’s career has gone from strength to strength since then, but one wonders how far he seriously thought things would go for him following that Butter Sydney meeting.

Connor Sprague’s work can be found here

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