If you know anything about trap music, then you know that Zaytoven has been one of the most influential producers in building the foundation for the ever-growing sub-genre. Zaytoven is a veteran in the game but in 2015, we find that the producer has a new fan base in addition to the traditional Gucci Mane trap-heads. 2014 transformed Zaytoven into a super-producer although the innovation and talent has always been consistent for years if you’ve followed closely. Recent work on Nicki Minaj’s The Pink Print, Future’s Beast Mode, Migos’ No Label 2, Usher’s “I Got It”, and more have allowed Zaytoven’s creativity to permeate a whole new wave of hip-hop that relies on trap music more than anything else in recent years. As the role of the producer changes and evolves in the music industry, Zaytoven tracks are now known for the beat (just as heavily as the artist rapping the lyrics). We finally had the opportunity to catch up with the Atlanta-based producer. Read our exclusive interview below.
Your mixtape Beast Mode with Future just dropped and you produced the entire project. How did you guys link up for his first project of 2015?
Zaytoven: Well, me and Future had been working for a while. I was on every mixtape he had put out besides Monster and we have a long-term working relationship. I gave him some beats at the beginning of the year and he started recording to them. The songs were coming out the way he wanted them to so he called me up and said “Zaytoven, what do you think about me and you doing a whole project together”, and I said let’s do it, let’s start the year off right.
What was your role in Nicki Minaj’s “Want Some More”? Did you expect her album to be so heavy in rap content?
I knew to expect nothing but the best from Nicki Minaj. Me and Metro collab’d on the beat. A lot of times when I’m making beats, he’ll come and pull up to my house and add something to the beat. We have a catalog and made about 100 beats together and sent them off to artists. That’s how Nicki Minaj came about. They called us back and said we need this for the album. They did so good on it, she really killed it. We’re happy and she’s had the #1 album for a while.
How do you feel your personal career has grown within the last year? I would definitely say you’re a veteran but your audience undeniably opened up in 2013/2014 to other people.
I do agree. It’s so funny because I had my first big song in 2004/2005. I’ve always been a consistent person – not really being the biggest producer in the game at one point in time but never really just falling off. I try to just stay consistent. I notice once you reach a peak, you start going downwards…that’s when I see people falling off after they were the biggest thing a year ago. I always wanted to remain under the radar but now I’m opening up to different people — I have movies coming out, people know my face, and people know my name coming from different types of people. I’m very happy where I’m at in my career right now because I’m a veteran but sometimes it feels like I’m a new producer.
The role of the producer is now as legitimate as the artist in terms of visibility. Do you feel any pressure now being tagged as a super-producer?
I’m just going with the flow. Nowadays producers really make the song. Now you can play a beat in the club by itself and people will dance and move to it. I’m embracing it. I just figured let me go head and start getting my face out there and do everything I need to do.
What upcoming collabs do you have in the works?
I just released Beast Mode with Future and I’m working with everyone you can think of. I was in the studio with Rick Ross last night, Young Jeezy the night before, I played some stuff for Ludacris…Meek Mill just called. So there’s a lot going on and I’m still working with the young guys in the game like Migos. I’m not sure what the next full project will be that’s coming out.
What’s an unlikely collaboration we’ll see from you this year?
Me and Miley Cyrus. Yeah, it’s on the way.
Do you think that a lot of the trap music you’re hearing now is a resurgence of the sound you created with Gucci Mane? A lot of songs that blew up quickly in 2014 seemed similar to a lot of the work you and Gucci did together way back.
I think Me and Gucci, the music that we put out years ago, is really the Blueprint for almost everything that’s going on right now. They remake some stuff that we’ve done so long ago with artists redoing the same type of patterns. It’s flattering but we want people to come up with other stuff. You can look at it from two different ways.
How do you think trap music has grown and evolved within recent years?
I think it’s grown tremendously. Everybody is almost bowing down to it. I just did a track with Usher featuring Migos and his camp wanted that trap sound. EDM music is real heavy right now too but all it is, is trap music with a different twist on it. Everybody wants that edgy sound – from the hipsters to the R&B people. Even Beyonce is doing the real edgy music that comes from the trap music we’ve been making. It’s really the hottest music out right now.
Last but not least, what do you want your fans to know most about you?
Zaytoven: I’m a very very humble guy. With all the records I’ve done, plaques, and number ones, I’m still humble. So humble till this day that I value the opinion of a new artist that may work at Burger King. Their opinion matters just as much as anybody else’s opinion that I work with. In this music world today, anybody can have the next big record and be the next big star. I’m humbled by that. It’s a blessing to be in the position that I am.
Follow Zaytoven on Instagram + Twitter: @zaytovenbeatz
Stream Beast Mode from Future and Zaytoven: