Read the full interview on okayplayer.com.
The popular Atlanta producer, Zaytoven, carves out some time from his busy schedule to help us relive one of Gucci Mane’s most memorable moments.
In a world where producers and songwriters have yet to receive the full credit they deserve, there still remain a few big names circulating at the top of everyone’s radar. Zaytoven is one of them. And for good reason. It’s no secret that everybody calls him the “godfather of trap music.” If we’re going by the books, Zay is one of the most heralded producers from Atlanta, Georgia.
With a heavy roster of hits crafted for Gucci Mane, Migos, Future, Soulja Boy, and many more — Zaytoven has proven himself as one of the South’s most prolific producers. While Gucci Mane seems to be having the best year of his 37-year lifespan, Zay seems to be the one who’s been with Guwop through thick and thin. As fans waited patiently for Gucci and Keyshia’s wedding photos to hit the web, we sat down with Zaytoven during a visit to Los Angeles, CA to discuss what it was really like being a groomsman at the $2 million dollar wedding.
Okayplayer: Where do you see yourself in the pool of producers that are in everybody’s earbuds nowadays?
Zaytoven: Everybody calls me the “Godfather of Trap Music,” and I am an ATL producer, so I see myself as an O.G. to the guys that has it going on. I’m still a relevant O.G. in the music game because I am competitive and still up to par with whatever new producers that are out.
OKP: While we have you in town may you talk about your upcoming “all girls” mixtape?
Z: Yes, yes, sure… The “all girls” mixtape is called Zaytown Sorority and it is my second project. I got all of the girls, a lot of the reality stars, too, doing something on this tape. Joseline[Hernandez], Jessica Dime, Trina, Kash Doll, Dej Loaf — nothing but fire from these women on there.
OKP: What was your intention with this Zaytown Sorority project?
Z: It is really to just bring attention to the girls who are in the mix right now. Since Cardi B is doing so good, and she was a reality TV show star, I’m trying to do the same and ring attention to the women who are doing their thing.
OKP: You have the highly anticipated Birds of a Feather 2 coming soon. Can you talk about how you feel your acting has grown?
Z: [Laughs] Birds of a Feather 2 is definitely on its way. I am thinking that it’ll drop at the top of the new year. If you haven’t seen the first one, I suggest you go check it out. It is just a movie loosely based on my story of making it as a producer. We added a lot more drama to the sequel because people want to see me go through something, too. It’s filled with real-life situations, and you don’t have to be a producer to be involved. You can be an artist, a DJ, or anybody that is trying to make it in the music industry. The obstacles that we all go through, the different things that we all have to deal with when trying to make it and staying relevant in the game are important to share with others.
OKP: Is being an actor or acting something that you’d want to focus more on in your career?
Z: I enjoy doing it. It is fun for me to do it. I think the reason why I am doing this is because it is another outlet for me to enjoy myself in entertainment. If it works out for me to be an actor, cool, and if not then I am still having fun doing it.
OKP: A lot of people knew about Gucci Mane’s wedding, but didn’t know you were actually a groomsman at the $2 million event. Can you share with us your thoughts about the experience?
Z: Man, man, that was just so dope to see my boy get married. To definitely be a part of it was a moment. I remember we were in the room and they were asking us who had known Gucci the longest. Everybody pointed at me like, ‘Zay been knowing Gucci the longest,’ which was definitely big for myself and GuWop to be a part of another life-changing moment.
OKP: Were you able to give a nice little speech to the newlyweds? If not, what was your favorite part of the wedding?
Z: Nah, the way they had it set up, the night wasn’t to be made for speeches or none of that. My favorite part was the reception because we had a lot of fun that night.
OKP: How did everyone feel being filmed by BET?
Z: It was no thing. That is the way of the world right now. Everything is being filmed, so that is second nature to us now. You don’t even look at the cameras no more.OKP: Being the closest to Gucci Mane throughout all of these years — can you tell us about how your relationship has evolved?
Z: That’s my brother. We came in the game together and we’re still rocking with one another. It’s been like that from the beginning and it is just amazing to see that guy—that I thought was gonna be a superstar so long ago—prove it over and over and over again by doing things no one expects from him.
OKP: Gucci has infamously recorded a lot of material, specifically out of your mom’s house in the basement. What can you tell us about Gucci that most people wouldn’t know?
Z: I think by now everybody knows it, but he is a true workaholic. We were in the basement of my mom’s house just working out song after song after song. Day after day, y’know? So, now, it’s just a habit and we continue to work like that.
OKP: Congratulations on signing to Motown Records, Zay. How are you feeling about the big league move?
Z: Man, I feel good. I actually have to leave here to have a meeting over there [laughs]. I feel really good though. This is something brand new in my life and something to add on to what I’ve been doing all these years.
OKP: Much talk has been given to Lil Pump and his influence in the game. Can you talk about linking up with him and your thoughts on him professionally?
Z: I actually just talked with Pump. Guys like him, man, I enjoy working with Pump because they are the ones that keep me relevant to the new generation. I love to hear them, Lil Xan, Trippie Red and others. I love the new flavor that they bring to the game.
OKP: Do you think these artists have any staying power?
Z: It’s hard to say because music is moving so fast with so many new artists coming in every day. I’m curious though. I’m sitting back watching it all. I just want to do my part in helping these guys try to last as long as they can.
OKP: What’s a normal day in the life and times of Zaytoven?
Z: I’m a family man, y’know? So, I get up in the morning, I take my kids to school. I might come back home, come up with some music, and then head back out for my kid’s basketball practice. My little daughter wants to get into cheerleading, so I spend a lot of time with my kids. I got to take my wife out on dates, so we do that a couple of times a week.
OKP: Who are the most played artists on your phone?
Z: [Laughs] It would have to be Gucci and Future. Those have been my guys from way back, and they’re still my favorites. I think I have worked with pretty much everybody, but my son has to tell me about the new acts. Even with Lil Pump, even when I worked with Lil Uzi — my son told me about them. He’s like, ‘Daddy, you heard of so-and-so?’ And after that I’m out to go work with them. I think because the younger guys grew up on my music, so as soon as I say let’s work, then they are ready and eager to do it.