(AllHipHop Features) Xavier “Zaytoven” Dotson has stamped his name as one of the most sought after production minds in the industry. His decade-long musical union with Gucci Mane played a significant part in both Atlanta legends' respective careers exploding.
In May, Gucci returned home after nearly three years behind bars, and the Trap music forbearer immediately reconnected with Zaytoven. The pair banded together with fellow ATL representative Mike Will Made It for Gucci’s forthcoming Everybody Looking album.
Zaytoven’s discography is also set to include a sequel to his 2015 collaborative effort Beast Mode with Future. In addition, Drake, Young Thug, Too $hort, Migos, Juicy J, Ty Dolla $ign, and others have been recording over the signature Zay sound in recent months.
Besides music, Zaytoven has the Birds Of Feather 2 movie coming. The San Francisco raised instrumentalist is continuing to share his knowledge of crafting tracks and maneuvering through the music business with his Producer Camp as well. Attendees have even traveled from around the world in order to take part in the event held at Patchwerk Studios.
I spoke with Zaytoven to get his thoughts on his most recent production work. Read what the gifted guitar, drums, organ, and piano player has to say about teaming with Gucci Mane, Future, and more.
[ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Zaytoven Talks Creating ‘Beast Mode 2’ & ‘Beast Mode 3’ Mixtapes With Future]
Me and Gucci have been working on his album. He didn’t want to come out and do a mixtape. He wanted to go for the album. I think it’s a good idea. Especially while all the attention is on him right now.
Before he got home, we were making beats for him. I was making beats for his album. I was collaborating with Mike Will on a lot of the beats. That’s what [Gucci] wanted just to give him something new, a different style. I’m glad he’s home. I know we got something special coming on July 22.
He had songs like, “I wrote these just for my album.” At the same time, when you get in the studio and hear the beat, you just want to do something fresh. Half of the songs are songs he came up with right there in the studio.
What is he talking about on this project? Pretty much the same thing. He’s just got a clearer vision. A lot of his songs are well thought out, because he had so much time to write them. But it’s pretty much still the same Gucci Mane.
Mike Will Made It
It’s been something new. It’s been exciting. It’s a new thing for me to collaborate with producers. I’m usually doing my own thing. Most of the time, they’re doing their own thing. But lately you’ll see me collaborating with guys like Mike Will, Metro Boomin, Sonny Digital, or different producers. It’s something refreshing, so I had a real good time [working with Mike Will].We worked on Rae Sremmurd’s project. I guarantee after the Gucci album comes out a lot of people are going to want to use this collaboration a lot more. The first one we did was 2 Chainz’s “MFN Right” off the ColleGrove project. Now I think it’s the sound that a lot of people are going to want.This Gucci project is like [Mike Will and I] working on a whole project together. We haven’t sat down and talked about doing a whole project together, but this Gucci project is that to me.
Beast Mode 16 is what me and Future have been working on. I think that’s something very special. When you listen to Beast Mode 1, to me it's almost like a work of art. All the tracks we did were real piano driven, real melody driven. So we’re back at that again, but it’s almost times 10 on this one.
We really haven’t put a [release] date on it, but we’re like 95% sure of the songs we want to use already. We got so much material, but we don’t exactly know when we’re going to drop it.
We’re bouncing off of each other. We got so many fresh ideas and new music. He still makes me get chills when he starts recording. He’s definitely got something special going on.
We were at the video shoot. We were working on Gucci’s album, and Drake just came through. We were talking a little bit about working on a project. We were thinking about working on a project with Gucci and Drake. He said, “I was rapping on one of your beats a couple of days ago.” That kind of sparked our conversation, and we started talking about what we’re going to do in the future. We got one, maybe two, [Drake features] for Beast Mode 16. One for sure.
This was all during the Gucci Mane video shoot. We were shooting the video that actually features Young Thug.
Thug came through, and we actually recorded music during the break of the video shoot. We had a little 30 minute break. We went up to the studio, put a beat on, and Thug started recording.
I was there watching Thug work with Gucci before Thug was big. This was at Gucci’s old studio. The chemistry is definitely still there.
Me and Too $hort are from the same place. We’re from the Bay Area. He was down here in Atlanta, and he said, “Zay, we need to hook up. I’m working on my 30 year anniversary album.” So he came over, and we put some songs together.