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Hazelwood-born Sledgren makes a name as producer for Wiz

"I'm all self-taught. Everything I've picked up I didn't know how to use it before I started."



"I was always interested in music," says the Hazelwood-born Sledgren. "I didn't really want to be an artist, but I wanted to play a part in the music."

And it looks like he has: If you've listened to many of Wiz Khalifa's mixtapes, you've likely heard Wiz calling out "Sledgro!" — a shout-out to his producer.

It started with a music course he took in ninth grade in Jackson, Mich., where the 28-year-old Sledgren (born Edward Murray) spent his high school years. "A few years later, I got MTV's Music Generator," he recalls. "I was a big video-game head, and that was a video game with music software."

Returning to Pittsburgh soon after high school, he began frequenting local studios with a fellow Hazelwood native, rapper Chevy Woods, a frequent Wiz tourmate and integral part of the Taylor Gang.

"I kept going to the studio with Chevy, and learned that I didn't need all the big keyboards to be a music producer. I picked up [the digital audio workstation software] FruityLoops in the early 2000s and that was the beginning of me making music."

In 2011, XXL magazine recognized Sledgren as one of the best up-and-coming hip-hop producers, noting his more recent work with Wiz Khalifa. Sledgren recalls the first time Wiz rapped to one of his beats:

"He was too young to go to the club, and I left him some beats at the studio. He called me two or three times [that night], and I'm thinking, ‘He doesn't blow people up like that, he knew I went to the club.' So eventually I had to run into the bathroom to ask him what was going on. He was like, ‘I just rapped to this beat that you made and killed it.' It was the song ‘Change Up,' which ended up being a big indie and local song for him."

The most notable aspect of Sledgren's career might be that he's done it all himself.

"I'm all self-taught. Everything I've picked up I didn't know how to use it before I started," he says. "I looked at it as trial and error. Like, I could only be wrong for so long. That's how I used to look at it."

Right now, Sledgren seems to be getting it right.

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