A brash young talent on the rap scene in the Netherlands, Lil' Kleine was born Jorik Scholten in Amsterdam's Nieuwmarkt district on October 15, 1994.
At the age of one, Scholten survived a brush with death when he was diagnosed with cancer that required surgery. He would later refer to the incident in his music. Scholten was raised not far from Amsterdam's notorious red-light district. When he was seven, Scholten's parents split up, and he and his father relocated to East Amsterdam. The youngster was photogenic and displayed a precocious talent, and began making the rounds of talent agencies. Scholten made his acting debut in the 2005 film Diep, and was soon showing off his skills in dancing and rapping. Scholten struck up a friendship with Lange Frans
of the hip-hop group D-Men in Diemen, and Scholten began performing with the crew on-stage. In 2012, Scholten adopted the stage name Lil' Kleine and released his first EP, Tuig van de Richel. The EP established Kleine's tough, insouciant lyrical style, though sales were not impressive. In 2013, Kleine appeared on the popular television series Ali B Op Volle Toeren. Kleine performed the song "Zo Verdomd Alleen" with Brownie Dutch and Ali B
, which helped him break out to a larger audience. Kleine also appeared on the single "Het Leven Is Een Melodie" with pop singer Brett, from the film De Groeten Van Mike! The year 2013 also saw Lil' Kleine sign with the hip-hop label Top Notch
, which released his single "Verliefd Op Je Moeder." In April 2015, Top Notch
dropped a collection titled New Wave, featuring new material from the label's artists. Lil' Kleine teamed with Ronnie Flex
for a track called "Drank and Drugs." While the song was controversial for its endorsement of drugs and alcohol, it was also catchy enough to become a number one hit in the Netherlands. In the wake of "Drank and Drugs," Kleine began working on a full-length album, with Ronnie Flex
assisting on most tracks. The album, WOP!, was full of songs about sex, drugs, and money, and like the "Drank and Drugs" single, it soon topped the sales charts in the Netherlands. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi