David Sabastian: A Rapper and Fashionista on the Verge
Credit: Byron ANTI
"Not to be vague, but I think everybody of this generation has Anti in them," emerging rapper David Sabastian argues, sweat trickling down his face. It's hot out here. Twenty minutes earlier, he was spray-painting an empty swimming pool, dressed in a black, mostly leather outfit and matching ski mask. Around him, his cohorts watched, chatted and occasionally, sprayed their own drawings. Now he's discussing the ethos and make up of those same people -- also referred to as the Anti society.
"Everything we do is in house," he says. "We film ourselves, we distribute ourselves, we market ourselves. The parties we throw, we throw them ourselves. I got a bike crew, got a skate crew, I got directors, artists, street promoters. People don't really wear one hat. Young creatives, man."
Much of the group he describes has gathered in the backyard of this home on Fairfax Ave. for a BBQ. Lanky white skater kids, goth-rap fashionistas, white girls in short-shorts, hood locals and eclectically dressed cool kids surround the pool, now filled with Sabastian's doodles. A DJ is spinning ratchet records. Some dance, others drink and smoke. Sabastian explains the home "belongs to one of my peoples." He says they have a few houses to choose from for meetings and get-togethers. Some members direct music videos and others throw house parties.
Unlike trendy rap crews like Odd Future and A$AP Mob, the story of how this group came together is kept vague. They're not all locals or lifelong friends. "My energy just attracted them," Sabastian says. He goes on to explain meeting the head of his bike crew, a Hispanic man named Jaime, at a Subway restaurant near Union Station.
This meeting was originally scheduled to take place at the Anti Mansion, a Victorian-styled home near USC. Sabastian's manager says that the group was evicted for having big parties, however. In the backyard, one Anti associate mentions that it "looked like this pool does now." Sabastian says the house was "kind of stolen," citing an unlawful sub-leasing agreement. "We had it for a good six or seven months," he continues. "It was almost unlivable when the cops threw us out."
Sabastian speaks in phrases that are often vague or juxtaposed to the point of being contradictory. He claims to "not operate from a monetary standpoint" but longs to have a Batman-style light signal to announce when he's out. Much like his debut mixtape Napoleon Complex, released this past December, his words are all over the place. He even uses his lyrics to answer questions.
"If you listen to the lyrics [of "Planking on My Dick"] like I'm so off of 'Let's get a bunch of money and ball and buy clothes,'" he says. "I'm like, 'Take a bad bitch to a museuuuum/Show her art then I show her neon.' That's where I am, artistically."