Atlanta is home to some of the most talented and influential artists throughout Hip-Hop (to the point where’s it’s also become Hip-Hop’s de facto home). Without a doubt, Zaytoven has helped mold the sound of Atlanta to become a true standout; his long list of production work includes notable artists such as Gucci Mane, Future, Yo Gotti, Migos…the list goes on.
Most recently, Zaytoven has given us his new album Trap Holizay, which — in addition to the aforementioned — features many of today’s greats, from Rick Ross and Pusha T to Lil Uzi Vert and Kodak Black (and, of course, you can’t have a Zaytoven project without Gucci).
Recently, I was able to catch up with Zaytoven to speak with him about his album, the “Atlanta sound” and future moves for 2018. Check it out below.
RESPECT.: How are you? What have you been up to today?
Zaytoven: I’m good, thanks. And today I’ve been getting back into my routine at home after being out on the road in support of the album, Trap Holizay.
Trap Holizay definitely has a full sound that puts me in the vibe of [Future’s] Beast Mode just by how hard every song hits. When did you start working on Trap Holizay? How long was this album in the works for?
Well, I’m always working on songs, but I guess it’s really been about a year or so since I’ve been working on it. It all came together perfectly.
In the beginning of the Trap Holizay process, how did you go about reaching out to all of the talented artists you have on this album? Did you make the beats one-by-one or did you have all of them complete before reaching out?
The best thing that happened while working on this project was that everybody I reached out to to be a part of the album was happy to do it and turned in their verses almost immediately. Of course, I reached out to the guys I’ve been working with since the beginning like Gucci and OJ [Da Juiceman] and Future and the Migos, but a lot of the other artists came about just by me being in the studio; a real authentic connection. I made a lot of the beats first and then tried to see which artist would fit on it. Every artist really puts their stamp on the tracks though. I’m really happy [with] how it all turned out. To me, Trap Holizay is a classic already.
What would you say is your favorite track from Trap Holizay and why?
My favorite track from Trap Holizay is the intro, where Gucci is talking about me. I feel like anybody can brag about themselves, but to have somebody else do it that you’ve built a relationship with over the years is what makes it that much more special. I always get chill bumps when I hear that track because it really just sets the tone for the album and lets people know how solid we are and where we came from.
A few months back, I saw you did a live cook-up with another legendary producer, Scott Storch. What was that like for you? How did that happen?
I always like vibing with other talented producers and I’ve admired his talent for years. My team connected us together and it was a cool experience that I’m sure will happen again.
What would you say has been the biggest stepping stone that has helped you stay humble (as well as become and maintain your status as a staple of the “Atlanta sound”?
I’ve always been rooted in my faith, in God, that came from my parents and then me spending so much time in church since I was a baby. Just being around my family keeps me humble too. I’m a stable guy and I enjoy being around my wife and my kids and my family and close friends. And as far as a staple of the Atlanta sound, I’d just say that I always embrace the new talent. My son, believe it or not, is my A&R. He’s 12 and keeps me tuned into the new guys coming up, so that helps me to stay relevant because he knows who’s hot before they really blow.
What else can we look for from Zaytoven in 2018?
I hope people support Trap Holizay cause that’s what I’m really excited about right now and pushing. And I’ve got my movie Birds of a Feather 2 coming out this Summer or early Fall. I’m not only doing the music for the movie Superfly, but I also got a small role in the film too, so be sure to check that out. I also got a project coming out with Lecrae that’s incredible and I’m also working with Q Da Fool. I also recently announced my foundation called Zay Area that focuses on providing music education programs and instruments to young people who have a passion for music, but may not have access. I just did my first event for the community on Memorial Day. And I have a few more things coming up too.
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