Interview by Thomas Agnew
Photography by Andy Menarchek (
Experience is life’s best teacher and Sledgren knows about that all too well. Being a part of Taylor Gang from the beginning and helping Wiz carve his lane in the industry with one banging production after another, Sledgren is a name that is starting to bubble outside of the camp’s projects in the hip-hop industry. If he has it his way, you may be playing one of your favorite games to his soundtrack. We sat down and talked about linking with Cardo, whom he didn’t meet until 3 years after their first initial phone interaction, the Taylor Gang men tackling fatherhood, and why his beats hold a comparison with The Steiner Brothers.
What’s the difference in experience from a “Moola & The Guap/Right Here” Sledgren to a “Got Everything/Initiation” Sledgren?
I think I really didn’t know what I was doing. It was really raw. I didn’t really know what I was doing then. I would get lucky. I wouldn’t play everyone all of my beats. It would take me longer to stock up a folder. And now I can probably make ten beats in a row and I’ll use all of them to try and get them placed. Really it’s just experience. I didn’t really know what I was doing back then. I didn’t really understand music then; I just knew what people wanted to hear. Now I have more of an understanding and I don’t think I’m just stuck in one genre. Back then I was more or less in a box.
With the newer additions to Taylor Gang, how has the workload changed? Are there different expectations involved?
It changed because we have artist in Pittsburgh, LA, San Fran, Atlanta, DC, so I’m not always able to get in the studio in work. Like when Wiz and I work, we’re usually hands on in the studio. Now sometimes I don’t get the vibe of what I may need to be doing with these artist and sometimes I just know. I’m just usually emailing beats when people are in different states.
Being that the people of Taylor Gang are starting to be family men, how has that affected operations?
I think the ones that do have kids have slowed down from the lives that they have been living. Or they may have sped up when it comes to quantity of work. But I don’t think that affected things. Wiz got a song called Got Everything about his wife. Then you got Juicy J talking about ratchet pussy. You can do what you want in Taylor Gang. There’s not a subject you can’t touch if you’re an artist because you can speak for yourself.
Have your goals changed since jumping into fatherhood?
Yeah. I was so set on being an in house producer and just by the way the music game is now it’s hard to do that and be successful without working outside of your camp. So I’ve been expanding the people I work with.
With Wiz’ ability to build to where he is now, more producers have been working with him. Has there been anyone you’ve been able to link with and learn a bit more from industry wise?
I would definitely say Cardo, E-Dan, Drew Drucker who is our engineer and has put me on a lot of game. There are more but those are the main one. As a collaborative they have definitely taught us stuff. Even if they didn’t think or weren’t trying to teach me stuff, I got some good info and experience from them.
Pretty sure people always talk about you and Cardo working together but how has that connection helped your sound?
It came a long way. We taught each other so much. There’s one point in time where some people may have known Cardo or may have known Sledgren, now people know us as just being two dope ass producers. I think that transition is crazy that we were able to pick this up from not know what we were doing and build a friendship. I knew Cardo for about three or four years. We just talked about work on the phone and I never met him. But we still had a bond. Like when the first time I met him it was like he was my brother.
What do you think about Cardo rapping?
I fucks with it. I think he can have his own lane in the rap game. The songs that I’ve heard that he hasn’t put out, I know people would love them. He’s definitely running with the rap stuff. I’m never rapping. No tracks from me.
Being that you’re comfortable with the Taylor Gang crew, what are some differences you experience when working with other artists?
Like, we’ve all been best friends to the point where we’re family. Not having that bond with other artist is hard. Like with Chevy or Wiz it’s like I’m going to be with my brother. When I’m going to meet this stranger, we have to figure out what we have in common musically and in other areas. Sometimes it’s a session and it’s quiet as hell and I’m just making a beat. It’s kind of dry so I try to establish relationships with someone before I work with them.
When it comes to emailing work, I might send them a folder of 5-15 beats. If by the second or third folder gets sent, I’m not sending anything else. I feel like something is not being paid attention to or just not being taken seriously. It’s just a wrap. Unless someone really wants something and can re-negotiate what we got going on, I’m not sending stuff again.
If you could compare your production to a wrestler/wrestlers, who would it be and why?
The Steiner Brothers. They were cool, swagged out, had their little lettermen’s. They weren’t real flashy and they weren’t trying to do what everyone else was doing. Kind of like my beats. I don’t go for the flashiest type of things or necessarily the radio singles. If it has that cool groove I’ll run with it. Kind of hard to compare but I tried ha ha.
What genre of music bothers you or don’t really have an understanding of?
I wouldn’t say I dislike it but I would want to be put on the better songs of Dubstep. I heard a lot of songs of Dubstep. It’s not really that I didn’t understand it, just never really heard a song that I really liked. Maybe I should listen to more. Maybe it’s just my ignorance but I’d be willing to hear more.
What’s the worst thing someone has attempted to pull on Twitter involving you?
This was like a few years ago around the time when a few cats from the city were going against us and Wiz from the city. I remember I seen these two little kids following us in the mall. They were walking behind us for like pictures and we just walked to the car no problem. I searched my name just to see when people talk about me, not just @’s. And the kid was like “yeah we chased Wiz and Sledgren to the car. We tried to rob him and they ran.” At this time I was in the streets and I wasn’t trying to hear the shit he was saying on Twitter. But I end up letting it die.
A lot of producers have moved on to work in commercials, movies, electronic tech, etc. What would you like to create or always thought of having a brand of?
It hasn’t really crossed my mind to create something other than what I already was doing. But I would like to expand on what I’m doing. I want to do video game scores. It’s kind of tough getting into that from what I’m doing now. As far as games they already have those departments. You can’t just hit them up on Twitter and tell them you want to make music for them. It’ll happen one day. At the end of the day I always want to be known as a producer.