Spanian: How a passing comment became a publishing contract

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Spanian: How a passing comment became a publishing contract

Photo Credit: Cole Bennetts
Words By Tammy Walters

Christopher Kevin Au discusses co-authoring Spanian memoir, The Unfiltered Hood Life.

“By the time he was twelve, Spanian knew he would follow his family’s footsteps to become a career criminal. What followed was a decade-long string of brazen crimes and brutal violence: stabbings, ram-raids, drug runs and a notorious high school siege,” Spanian’s memoir synopsis reads.

This is not a dramatised recollection of events or a glamorisation for a future silver screen adaptation; this is a realistic depiction of the events surrounding Spanian’s life from cradle to controversial celebrity. The Sydney-based underground rapper has not been shy to tell his 191k Instagram following the anecdotal pieces, but now he reveals all in The Unfiltered Hood Life, the memoir that was birthed by a quick aside.

“Adit [Gauchan], from legendary Australian hip hop group Horrorshow, earlier this year got in touch with me to tell me he was managing Spanian and I said to him, ‘Because he has so much star-potential outside of music, it would be funny if you guys did a book,’” explains Christopher Kevin Au, co-author of The Unfiltered Hood Life.

“A couple of weeks later, lo and behold, he has gone out there and reached out to publishers and comes back to me saying ‘Hey we have a publisher – do you still want to do this?’”

Au is normally a journalist for Concrete Playground, Life Without Andy, The Brag, and the voice behind The A1 podcast, as well as being an A&R for Warner.

Others may know him under his hip-hop persona, 24 Karat Kev. Armed with an extensive background and flare for storytelling, Au jumped at the opportunity to add author to his list of accomplishments.

“It was a shock because it’s not every day you’re offered this kind of opportunity,” he says. “I’m super thankful to Spanian and his team for trusting me to tell his story. It’s not a thing I take lightly so I went all in. It’s my first book but hopefully the first of many.”


As Sydney plunged into lockdown, there was no better time to put pen to paper; both Spanian and Au smashing through the interviewing and writing in record time.

“I swear to God it must have been the Guinness World Records for the fastest book turnaround. It was something like two and a half to three months that we got it completed,” he laughs. “There was nothing else to do in lockdown.”

With Au’s casual journalistic style and Spanian’s tell-it-how-it-is attitude, The Unfiltered Hood Life captures Spanian’s authentic voice, to tell his story in his words.

“I write the same way that I talk, and Spanian of course has such an authentic voice as well. So I think when we connected we didn’t think ‘We’re going to write this in a very scholarly, journalist or literary manner’. It was ‘This is Spanian’s voice, let’s put it on paper’, and I think that will come through in the book and the way that it reads.”

For those expecting an Underbelly crime saga, The Unfiltered Hood Life focuses more on the knowledge Spanian has developed.

“People might come in with the preconceived notion that it’s this explosive tale about crime,” Au says.

“Certain bits of the book touch on that, but the book goes a lot more personal than I first anticipated. I think it goes some way in explaining why he is the way he is. It starts at when he was born and goes up until now, about his experience, and there is a lot of self-reflection in there as well.

“It’s all part of his story, for better, for worse, for good, for bad; that’s Spanian.”

The Unfiltered Hood Life by Spanian (with Christopher Kevin Au) is out from Hachette Australia.