“One day in 2016 I looked at myself and seen my truth, that’s it. That’s crazy, it’s unheard of, from where I come from – I don’t know any other stories like that.”— Spanian
I recently discovered a YouTuber named Spanian. In a recent video, he walks through Barcelona’s El Raval Barrio. It’s one of the most dangerous places in Spain. But Spanian is not bothered. This ex-convict who hails from Sydney’s housing projects, spent 13 years in and out of prison, and is a 220-pound tattooed beast built like a truck.
The series is called Into The Hood. And it’s riveting. As a former gang member and drug dealer, Spanian points out everything he sees while keeping you engaged the whole way through. This got my attention. Rarely do you come across videos that are this well made. Clearly, he has some editing skills and his choice in background music is epic.
After watching Spanian roam around Barcelona’s most dangerous hood, I was hooked. I looked through his past videos and was surprised at what I found. As you coast through his YouTube channel you see an eccentric mixture of Spanian rapping in original rap music videos, speaking on podcasts, and even doing food tours throughout Australia, Asia and other countries.
However, it’s his series where he roams around the dark and more sinister side of cities like Sydney, Barcelona, Paris, and others is likely what’s making him hit this stride. At the time of writing this, Spanian’s subscriber count is soaring. And it will likely continue to climb. But unable to find much information on Spanian’s past, I started digging deep.
What Is Spanian’s Real Name?
Spanian’s real name is, Anthony Lees. He bears the tattoo Woolloomooloo on his chest, which he wears as a badge of honor. Woolloomooloo is a suburb of Sydney, located on the harbourside in New South Wales. The name comes from Wolloomooloo House, which was built by the original settler, John Palmer. Some think it is a variation of an aboriginal word.
However, to Spanian, Woolloomooloo represents the hood where he grew up. He details much of his wild life as a youth and as a young adult in a book he penned called, Spanian: The Unfiltered Hood Life. He talks about his time spent in prison and how he lost several friends to heroin. One day, in 2016, he decided that he was done with that life and has never looked back.
Back then, he took to YouTube, trying his hand at rapping and even creating a clothing brand. Much of what he did back then laid the foundation for his work now. His ability to create riveting videos today is all thanks to his authentic, rough and raw style. It works and it’s clearly helping create a meteoric rise in his fame.
Why Did Spanian Go To Jail
Many people want to know why Spanian went to jail. The truth is that much of Spanian’s actions were a reflection of his family. He simply followed in their footsteps to lead a life of crime. His career as a criminal started around the age of twelve-years old and involved a decade-long campaign of rampage and destruction. It was everything from drug dealing to robbing and even stabbings.
In Spanian’s book, Spanian: The Unfiltered Hood Life, he reflects on his life of crime. He talks about a how he used to rob people by snatching their bags near the casino. The casino was really close to his mom’s apartment, so he would run in their and kick over a milk crate that would lock the door behind him, cutting off access to anyone chasing him.
He was fairly successful at doing this for a while. However, one day, he saw an Asian guy with a bag come out from the casino. Spanian argues that this had all the underpinnings of someone who had won big in the casino. This time, things played out differently. When he snatched the bag and tried to run into his mom’s apartment building, she wasn’t there.
He tried another apartment higher up of some girls he knew. They weren’t home at the time either. The entire building was surrounded by police because the Asian guy gave chase. Spanian hid in a garbage room amidst smelly bags and bins. It was there that he was caught and sent to juvenile hall. In total he ended up spending over 12 years in and out of prison and juvenile halls.
Jail Classification System
At 16-years old, Spanian was at McDonald’s with his girlfriend. Standing in line, all he could think about was the food he was about to order. Then, behind him, someone called his name. They said Anthony. He knew instantly that it wasn’t anyone he knew. Because, by then, everyone was calling him Spanian. When he turned around, sure enough it was two cops.
“Mate, you’ve got warrants out. Let’s walk to Kings Cross cop shop,” one of them said. By now, the coppers were on either side of me, holding me firmly by each of my arms. I knew I had warrants out, but I acted innocent.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“We don’t know yet, but you’re on the system. You’ve got warrants. Some detectives want to talk to you,” he replied.
“Far out, all right. Let’s go then,” I said.
As we calmly walked out of Macca’s, I felt their grip loosen on my arms and I pulled away and sprinted off. I ran down the stairs to Woollo, jumped a fence and was gone. A few weeks later, I was arrested.— Spanian: The Unfiltered Hood Life
Because he escaped, he was slapped with an “E” classification in prison. As Spanian explains it, prison life and your privileges behind bars are all based on a classification system. First time offenders are often classed with “C” given to low-security inmates.
If you have a class “A” you’re a high-security inmate. And a class “B” is a medium-high security inmate. Each class has rights and privileges. However, when you have an “E” class, in that you escaped from custody, you can never gain privileges based on good behavior.
Meaning that as soon as Spanian stepped foot into an adult jail, he was an “E” class inmate for life. He could never gain privileges or go to a minimum-security prison. He had nothing to work toward or earn. And he only realized the severity of his classification later on.
Spanian On YouTube
“One day in 2016 I looked at myself and seen my truth, that’s it. “That’s crazy, it’s unheard of, from where I come from – I don’t know any other stories like that.”
After leaving jail most recently in 2017, he turned to rapping and the rest followed, including a fashion label.— Spanian: The Unfiltered Hood Life
Spanian turned another page when he got out of jail in 2016. He swore he would never go back there. He was done with that life. That’s when he turned to rapping and posting his rap music on YouTube and other platforms. However, Spanian never saw true success as a rapper.
After his days rapping, Spanian turned to doing other styles of videos on YouTube. He’s also amassed a large following on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. However, one of his more successful series on YouTube has been “It’s All Eats,” which is a series that chronicles him eating and rating all types of food.
The series was mostly based out of Sydney, Australia. However, he’s expanded the series internationally to places like Asia and Europe where he goes on elaborate food tours. These videos get heavy exposure. However, it’s his most recent series, Into The Hood, that’s gaining him notoriety incredibly fast.
More About Spanian
Spanian sells his merch, books, and other items on his website. It’s often sold out. So if you see them available, grab them.
You can follow Spanian on his YouTube channel here.