Zaytoven’s Work With Jay Z Is Just a Highlight of His Plans for 2017
Zaytoven is one of the most in demand producers in hip-hop right now. In 2016 alone, he had production credits on albums for E-40, Mozzy, Philthy Rich, Lil Durk, Young Dolph and Gucci Mane. For mixtapes or just loose singles, the list triples.
The producer has worked with just about every top dog in the hip-hop industry and it looks like 2017 will be one of his biggest years yet. Aside from projects in the works with Gucci Mane and Future, he produced two of the 13 tracks ("Brown Paper Bag," "Kelly Price") on Migos' universally lauded sophomore album, Culture, which dropped last week, and he's got new music on the way with Jay Z.
Hov and Zay are two artists who have never worked together before. Last November, Zay shared a photo of himself and Hov in the studio. The internet is — rightfully so — going nuts about the collaboration. Any word about new Jay Z music tends to do just that.
During a trip to New York City, Zaytoven expounded about his collaboration with Jay Z, updates on Beast Mode 2 with Future, The Sixers project with Gucci Mane and Drake, Guwop's upcoming LP, DropTopWizop. Zay also opens up about his upcoming movie, Birds of a Feather 2. What a time.
XXL: I'm assuming you're immensely busy right now?
Zaytoven: You see me with Jay Z, working with Jay Z. Migos, of course it’s going to be Gucci Mane, Future and Drake. The new thing for me is being on tour. I’m going on tour with Gucci Mane. So you’ll see a lot more live Zaytoven. I am working on my movie, Birds of a Feather 2. Me and my guy Al Nuke back at it again. I’m excited about all those things. Of course I’m excited about the music, the music is the main thing but I I’m excited to be looked at in a different light as far as being in the forefront
What can you tell me about Jay Z collaboration?
I’m waiting on Jay Z to drop something we did together because he called me like, “This beat right here I’m rocking with this, I’m finna do something with this.” And I got my fingers crossed on like when in the world is he going to drop it. But I learned in this music business is that sometimes music don’t come out when I wanted to but it always drops when it needs to come. A lot of this time this stuff be a surprise to me.
I might know a day before it come out or I might hear it the day when it comes out. But I don’t focus on doing projects and when it comes out, I just focus on keep working. I have so much stuff when it does drop, I’m all the way excited for it all over again.
Did he just pick one beat? Did you just send a handful?
I gave him like 25 beats. He asked me about a certain sound. He was like, “I was looking for Zaytoven, I need those pianos and strings.” That’s the first thing he said to me. So I loaded it up to him. I’m the type of guy, I make a lot of different beats but sometimes I might stick to a sound for a little while. When he told me what he wanted, I had stash of those beats already tucked away. He’s sitting on about 25 beats.
Is this for a specific project?
I’m hoping it’s for a project but even a song is good enough for me. Whatever it is, anything you do for Jay Z is always a plus. And I don’t want to wrap my brain around it because I got so much other stuff going on that whenever that comes out or whenever that drops, that’s when I can really talk about it.
What’s the update on Gucci Mane and Drake’s The Sixers project? When is that coming out?
It’s really hard to say when we do music, especially when it comes to guys like Gucci, Drake and Future. We try and do as many as many songs as we need before we got the project done. So I really can’t give an update on when the project is coming out, I just know we’re working towards it. We got some amazing music. I’m hoping and praying it comes out before the summer time. I want all the music to be out before the summer time.
What about Beast Mode 2 with Future? Is it even called Beast Mode 2?
I’m not sure if it’s going to be called Beast Mode 2 or Beast Mode 17 or if we’re going to even stick with that name. The climate changes, the music changes, what we thought we were going to do we may not do it that way. So, I’m pretty sure whenever that comes out or what the name or what the name is going to be, the project that me and Future are going to put out, it’s going to be a surprise. It’s not going to be something where people can anticipate; it’s going to be something that’s going to fall out the sky and make everybody smile and everybody happy.
Gucci just announced DropTopWizop. I’m assuming you’re involved with that too?
You can always know, when it comes to a Gucci Mane or Migos project, there is no such thing of them putting out a project without me being a part of it. These are guys that I’m really close with and we built a sound together and we got a certain chemistry. I’m almost sure, DropTopWizop, half of it is Zaytoven-produced because we just do so much music together.
Your piano skills are getting major headlines. When did you learn how to play?
I feel like I’m an okay piano player. To the music world, to people that’s in the hip-hop culture, they probably look at me like Zaytoven the greatest piano player in the world. I’m okay. I learned in church and I still play in church, every Sunday, every week I’m there for rehearsal. That’s where I keep my skill sharp and where I learn to play. Church, I give all the credit to me for playing the keyboard, piano and organ, so when it comes to the Tiny Desk concert, me and Gucci did that’s all fun to me.
It’s not really that hard for me to play, those are beats that I made and I’m just adding my extra runs and fill-ins cause I know that’s what people want to hear and people want to see. If you watched the video you see how excited I am, I’m jumping around, moving around. I feel like this is a time for people to see me in a different light rather than just Zaytoven make the hard beat behind the scene and we don’t really see him. Now you get to see me almost put on a show. Just like how you go see Gucci Mane put on a show, you’ll see me putting on a show. I’m excited about that whole new chapter.
What new artists are you working with now?
I’m working with all the young guys. 21 Savage, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, Famous Dex, all those guys.
Birds of a Feather is great man. What can you tell me about Birds of a Feather 2?
Birds of a Feather is on Netflix and it did big for me. For me, it was a trial and error thing. I never thought about being an actor. I just felt like in the music industry now, anything you said can go. So now it’s a part of what I do. I make movies now. So we’re working on Birds of a Feather 2. If you seen one, we were in the basement rapping with a sock on the microphone, now we in a high-tech studio. Birds of a Feather 2 is going to be times 10. Storyline is much more powerful and you’re going to see more actors and more rappers that you didn’t think would be on it.
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