Everyone once in a while some shit will come along that’s new to me, that is so attractive sonically, I have to know more about where it’s from, who made it, and why I hadn’t heard it sooner. That was my reaction when I heard Homeboy Sandman’s latest project, All That I Hold Dear. But it wasn’t because I hadn’t heard Homeboy Sandman before, it was because the production of the record was so inviting, and smooth, I had to know more. I was fortunate enough to track down said producer, who goes by the name of. …well, I’ll let him tell you for himself. Enjoy!
Who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
Well, I’m M Slago. Pronounced Slay-go, strong a. Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. Been in Dallas for about seven years now. …and just producing hip hop and soul music, but primarily hip hop.
Where could we find your music, were we looking for it?
Well, anywhere, of course, the cliché – anywhere where digital music is sold. There’s tons of stuff out on various band camp pages as well as a couple beat tapes in 2013 with ProducersIKnow on ProducersIKnow.bandcamp.com. A two part, two series or two part beat tape. Of course the Homeboy Sandman “All That I Hold Dear” album that came out on Stonesthrow in 2013 is on iTunes, Google Play and all that good stuff. The vinyl is available anywhere you can get vinyl. Anyway, there’s just a lot of music out there, that’s just there for the taking, if you choose to search for it.
What’s up with the name?
It’s funny that you would ask that. Nobody ever really asked that. But, actually stole it from Mongo Slade, from the old Bill Cosby, Sidney Poitier movie Let’s Do It Again. But as I moved to Texas I found out there was a guy in Jersey with the same name, and he hit me up on MySpace, cause MySpace was poppin’ back then, like “Yo man, I want to work with you.” And I’m like, “Ehhh, conflict of interest, man.”
I have a good friend of mine, Salvation, who is also a producer and engineer, used to call me Slago – he’s from Detroit. …and everybody that is familiar with Detroit knows about Faygo pop.
He used to call me that – cause I’m not a big fan of like real colorful, flamboyant stuff – I’m kind of a monotone kind of dude. …and he used to call me that. So when I found out about this guy in Jersey, I was like, you know what, I need to change my name cause I don’t really want to be associated with him. So immediately, the first thing that came to mind was Slago, and I was like, alright. We never spelled it out, like, it was never written. I just figured I’d take the ‘y’ out, or it just looks funny. I didn’t want to be associated with Faygo, although I love Faygo, I didn’t want to be associated with it like that. I just took the ‘y’ out, and ran with it that way. It’s been like that for – like since 2007 now, I guess.
So how did you hook up with Homeboy Sandman?
Homeboy Sandman did a show here in Dallas with J-Live, and actually, I’m a co-host of a hip hop show, Knowledge Dropped Lessons Taught Vol 2… that airs nationally, and they came to do an interview, and we kind of kept in contact, initially I never told him I made beats, was going through archives, and I said I had something – “a few things you can hear”, and he was like. “send’em.” …and that was the beginning of the it. We just took it from there.
What does it mean to be a producer in a day and age where everyone calls themselves a producer?
The title itself has been tainted quite a bit, but I think for those of us who are true to it, it makes you take your craft that much more serious than maybe before. I mean I ain’t going to lie man, if you put a tag on yourself in any kind of profession, you take pride in that, and that’s it. I mean, it’s the pride that you take in, if you want to call yourself a producer or a rapper, or anything else. Even if you’re a doctor, you don’t want to be called Mr. or Mrs. It’s the same kind of mentality.
What are you working with? What are you producing with? What are you making music with? What kind of equipment?
Primarily, I use – I’ve been using FL studio a whole lot and I’ve been using an Akai MPK61, as my controller. I use Adobe Audition, Pro Tools, and Reason – I use Reason, every now and again, when I get the itch, but that’s primarily it.
How does one Attack The Wack?
I don’t think anybody has ever posed that question to me before.
Keeping it real. That’s what Attack The Wack is – anything that seems suspect, that’s not 100% genuine, the fakes, the liars, the stunts, the fronts. You go in and you attack it.
I like that. I like it a lot. So, as you see it, what’s your place in hip hop?
I kind of feel like – I would like to believe that in – I feel like there’s a crew of us producers and MCs alike, that are like the front runners, and hold the flag for preserving the culture, and also helping move it forward. That’s my place, with those front runners. We been doing this, and we’re going to keep doing this, and we’re going to see it through until everybody recognizes it. …and it’s recognizable.
What are you working on now?
Currently, I’m working on a feature album with a bunch of different MC’s that I won’t spew out just yet. I will give you a hint though. I know I caught on your twitter feed, you mentioned one of your favorite rappers out of Detroit, he’s on there for the record.
It’s got to be Guilty. Don’t fuck with me, it’s got to be Guilty.
Possibly. So, working on that. I’m working on a softer side of Slago album with an amazing vocalist by the name of Keisha Hunter. That should be out this year, hopefully. There’s another album that I’ve been kind of sitting on for awhile that may be out this year. …and a couple beat tapes in the making. I’m working on a one off, one MC, one producer, kind of like All I Hold Dear I did with Homeboy Sandman, with a yet to be named MC. So we’ll see how that goes. It’s kind of in the beginning stages.
I know some producers, they prefer to make instrumentals basically, and some definitely prefer to have somebody rap over their beats. What’s your preference, and why?
I don’t really have a preference. I mean, I’m not really a showcase producer, if you want to use that terminology. I don’t orchestrate these beautiful masterpieces. I don’t do that. If I can make music that’s slow and smooth and grimy, and I guess it would be the definition I guess I do make beats for MC’s. I think the beats themselves are strong enough to hold they own if that’s where they need to be. I could put out a smooth beat if I want, and it would still be just as fresh for an MC to spit on.
Who’s your biggest inspiration musically?
Dilla. Hands down.
Well, playing off of that, who are your favorite producers? Current versus all time?
It’s funny, a guy just asked me this Saturday night.
Nah, it’s cool. It’s a new producer coming up, and we had a conversation, but I don’t mind talking to cats and stuff that’s coming up. I think I have a little bit of advice to give, I give them whatever I got. He asked me that same question. All time, of course, the common names you hear – Dilla, Madlib, Pete Rock, Premier, DJ Scratch, Easy Mo Bee. But most currently there’s a lot of new cats that I’m really digging. I’m real big on – he’s a cat that you may not even – a lot of people may not even be familiar with, but Jimmy Flight. I’ve been listening to a lot of Jimmy Flight, The Montra with Senica Da Misfit, that’s his crew. My brother Illastrate is based out of Atlanta. He’s a phenomenal producer. Apollo Brown of course always keeps my ear. Oddisee always keeps my ear. Alchemist is always, in depth with his production so I’m always listening out for whatever he has coming out of the pipeline.
Do you compare yourself to any other producers? If so, why? …and if not, why not?
I try not to. Art imitates life. So, what you listen to, at some point is going come out in some capacity in what you create. What you feed yourself is what you regurgitate and what you give back to the world. So, you’ll hear some Dilla stuff. You might guess whatever I’m listening to at the moment – like someone else’s influence will come out.
How are you making a name for yourself?
One beat at a time. That’s it. One beat at a time. As it gets made and it gets out, people hopefully dig it. At some point they’ll start to recognize the sound, and look for it, and need the sound, and I think that’s what I’m most excited about seeing happen. …and it’s slowly happening now.
If you could produce a beat for any MC, who would it be and why?
I would want to work with Busta Rhymes, just because – I use this analogy with people that I talk to sometimes. Busta Rhymes was like my introduction to hip hop, so to speak. When I realized what it was, and what it was worth, and I knew the difference between what’s fresh and what’s not. Busta Rhymes was my introduction, he was like the gate keeper – and then Dilla was my cabby. Dilla took me through the city. But Busta Rhymes was the one who opened the gate. So if I could work with anybody, it would definitely be Busta Rhymes. But he had to be like the original Busta Rhymes, not the Young Money, Cash Money, Busta Rhymes.
What’s been your favorite project thus far?
I’d have to say Attack The Wack was my favorite thus far, just because it was actually my album that I put together. But the way it came together was just, it was so great. All the MC’s that are on the album are MC’s that I hold at high regard. I reached out to each one of them on a personal note, like “yo, I’m putting this together and I’d love for ya’ll to get involved.” I think out of everybody I asked, only two people fell short, and that was it. So they’re not on the album, obviously. But two people out of everybody I asked, and everybody I asked came with it. The album came out way better than I ever dreamed, and I was oh so grateful for that so peace to everybody involved with Attack The Wack.
Why hip hop? Why music?
It’s more than just music. I think that everybody has a release, and everybody has something they find solace in. Music just happens to be mine. Hip hop just happens to be my arena, you know – within that. I love hip hop music. I love hip hop culture, and I embody and live it every day. So, it’s only right that’s where I found my peace, is in making that, and creating something that’s in that image. That’s it. Like, I’ll make beats forever. Nobody will ever have to hear them, but I’ll make beats forever.
Tell me a secret…
I don’t know if this is a secret really, but I’ve never been to New York. Not even close. With some of the people I’ve worked with you’d think I would of visited by now.
I should attack the wackness of that secret.
…what do you want the world to know about you?
I mean – that’s hard. It’s like some old ass will and testament. What I want the world to know about me – I’m going to borrow from Mos Def. “I ain’t no perfect man, I’m just trying to do the best that I can, with what it is I have.” That’s it.