I’ll be honest with you. Before my interview with Isla Vista hip hopper Sabatage, I figured he would be standoffish, rude, a womanizer, and a general jerk - stereotypically hip hopper-ish, if you will.
So when I found myself laughing and genuinely enjoying my time with Saba Jahavery, I was surprised. I eventually came to realize why Sabatage is so loved by Isla Vista.
Sabatage’s “I.V. Song” is, I would say, the biggest reason he’s a hit around here. The song is wildly offensive. A sample of the lyrics can explain:
Need nachos right now
Eat Freebirds and then shit five pounds!
See some chick I wanna beat up
12:30 in the bathroom with her feet up
And of course, there’s the chorus:
How you party
Is how we preparty
Cuz you ain’t from I.V.
I’ve been around the world
Partied till I hurled
I never seen no girls like these
Cuz we party like an asshole
Drink until we shit shows
Up until about 4
Wake up next to who knows
This is everything I hate about the notorious “I.V. party culture,” everything I have to explain to my extended family when they ask about my party city. It’s this kind of stuff that makes my friends at other schools think I’m prostitute with an uncountable number of STDs because I live in I.V. This guy can’t be seriously singing about this stuff.
As it turns out, he’s not 100 percent serious. His songs are a tongue-in-cheek look at the I.V. culture he knows and loves. He knows not everybody gets wasted and wild every night of the week, but it is what he’s done, and he raps best about what he knows.
“I do whatever it takes to make people have a good time,” Saba said. He makes fun of everybody, including himself. After the fairly rough early life he had, I suppose that’s the best thing you can do. He was born in Iran, left for political reasons, and grew up in Reseda, near Los Angeles. After a very successful two years at Santa Monica City College, he had his pick of colleges but transferred to UCSB because it reminded him of the wild times he knew in high school, and he wanted to enjoy himself. He partied every night of the week, and because he was 21, spent half of those nights downtown. During his time at UCSB as a sociology major, Saba made friends with all sorts of people.
“I didn’t let anybody categorize me,” Saba said. Even though he was in the Sigma Nu fraternity, he didn’t resign himself to only hanging out with fellow Greeks. His popularity was obvious; in the hour we sat outside Starbucks, he waved hello to about 10 different people, all of whom seemed thrilled to see him.
I was a little surprised to find out he was in a frat because his most popular song, “Sorority Chick,” blatantly makes fun of sorority girls, capitalizing on their dumb conversations and sometimes shallow tendencies. But again, the song is just Saba having fun with something he loves.
“The song only represents about 10 percent of each house,” Saba said, noting that some of his best friends are sorority girls. When I made a comment about hating sorority girls, he gave me a beautifully eloquent argument about why hating on Greeks is stupid.
“Pick any 100 same-sex people, put them in a house, and you’re going to get a stereotype. If you can put a name on it, you can objectify it. [Hating on the Greeks] is the same thing as being a racist or a sexist.”
Well, he put me in my place.
Even though he loves all of these I.V. shenanigans, he’s still able to point out the dumb things people do and laugh at them. He went on a rant about big sunglasses (“I might know you, but I can’t recognize you with those huge sunglasses!”), dirty I.V. parties, and all the “nasty shit” he’s done at various houses throughout his time in I.V. But even though he’s played at colleges and clubs all over the place, he still says he prefers a “grimy-ass house party” in I.V.
Surprisingly, despite the fact that his lyrics are offensive to women, sorority girls, Isla Vistans, and the college population in general, Saba says he hasn’t gotten much negative feedback on his songs.
“I like criticisms, but calling me a faggot or a tool is just hate,” he complained. But looking at comments on his videos on YouTube or the wall posts on Facebook, I can see that most people have only love for Sabatage. Besides, he’s actually such an honestly great guy that I don’t see how anybody who knows him would think he’s singing those lyrics to oppress women, or the like.
Saba, who is also a promoter for clubs downtown, throws a self-proclaimed hugely awesome party, and even though I’m not usually the type for those ridiculously large parties with tons of randoms, I have to say that I’m curious about it. Next time Sabatage is in town, you know I’ll be there, screaming about passing out with my shoes on and getting dicks drawn on my face.
If you’re aching for some of Saba’s beats, you can check out him out February 10 at Velvet Jones at 9 p.m. with Milkman. Just be sure you have a driver if you decide to “drink until [you are a] shit show.”