A$AP Rocky soundtracks Luke Monaghan’s portrait of a lowriding former drug lord.
“I was intrigued by a man who had spent all of his drug money on his art: lowriding,” says British director Luke Monaghan of the towering Fredrick James Staves, the reformed 1980s Los Angeles drug kingpin and customized car aficionado, also known as Baby Gangster. “He’s had some of the most legendary cars and also ran cocaine import and export in Compton. Interesting bloke.” Opening with a swaggering score from the filmmaker’s close collaborator A$AP Rocky, Monaghan’s monochromatic film gets up close and personal with the original member of the Compton Crips in his own neighborhood. “We hung out at his garage and watched movies a lot,” says Monaghan. “I didn’t want the fact that I liked him as a person to jade the view of the film. I wanted it to be impartial and let you make up your mind on a guy who has done a lot of bad things in his life… and some positive.”
TALES FROM THE SET
I have an ongoing project with A$AP Rocky, and we rode a little wave that day in a dark room in LA, coming out of it with music for my short. [London producer] Tev’n provided the other two pieces of music. We worked on the music from scratch, which was a new experience for me coming from music videos.
The ‘meet up’
We were following around G (Fredrick Staves) looking for a venue for their ‘meet up’ where they all show off their cars and make bets on which can hop the highest and drive fastest. The police busted a few of the locations, it was a cat-and-mouse thing.
We shot all over Compton and Inglewood. The pizza place at the end of the film is a legendary little establishment on East Rosecrans, and the car meeting and a lot of the scenes with G are all at his garage where they repair and customize cars.