How Hard Do You Hustle? – Welcome to Zaytown USA

Before I submitted my first real blog entry, I just wanted to do a quick post to introduce myself for those that may not be familiar with who I am or what I do. I’m a music producer (platinum now, thanks to the Usher “Papers” record) that goes by the name of Zaytoven.

The name came about through a homie of mine out in the Bay—where I grew up—who said I played the keys like Beethoven. Being that my government name is Xavier and people called me Zay for short, we just meshed that all together and came up with Zaytoven.

It was a perfect fit for me.

Actually, I didn’t even realize the connection at the time, but I was born in Germany like Beethoven (I was a military brat), which was really kinda cool.

I started my music career in church like most artists except I was on the keyboard. My mom was a choir director and my dad was a minister, I learned basically everything about music. When I got to high school I started cutting hair and was producing at the same time and met up with JT The Bigga Figga, who introduced me to the production side of music. To make a long story short, I started putting beats together and began making a little buzz in the Bay but then my family moved south and after a few months of them being in Atlanta, I moved to and basically started my career over.

I enrolled in Barber College to get my license and met Gucci Mane, who, at the time, wasn’t even rapping, he was trying to put his nephew on but as fate would have it, we cliqued and just started going hard in the studio. Gucci used to come to my house at like 7 in the morning and wait on me to get up so we could get in the studio and record. We went harder than anybody we knew at the time and were putting out as much music as we could make, that’s how “Icey” came about.

From there, my career took off and I’ve been blessed to work with a variety of artists from Young Jeezy, Soulja Boy and Plies to Jagged Edge, R. Kelly and Usher. I’m actually in the process of writing a semi-autobiography/do-it-yourself guide called From A to Zay about producing and my experiences in the business. In closing, you can follow me on twitter @zaytown and post questions that I hopefully can turn into posts on this blog or even use in my book. In the meantime, I hope this blog will help not only aspiring producers and artists, but also just anybody in life that can relate to hustling, determination and faith.

Let me know what kind of hustle you’re putting into achieving your dreams and goals.

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  • digital dantan

    I have seen u b4 in a few YouTube videos doin ya thing in the studio I respect the grind . I’m on my grind too wit the videos

  • Anonymous

    ZAYTOVEN!!!!!!!they say the best names are the ones that are given…KEEP BRING PRODUCERS TO THE FRONT LINE HOMIE…@BterryBeats

  • Anonymous

    ZAYTOVEN!!!!!!!they say the best names are the ones that are given…KEEP BRINGing PRODUCERS TO THE FRONT LINE HOMIE…@BterryBeats

  • DownSouth

    Man, that Papers was a clean beat. Look forward to hearing some more of your jams.


  • Sharoyce Antwan

    I cant enough about this nigga’s impact on Southern/ Trap music. I remember when he cut my homeboy a deal on a track for 500 back in 08′. He deserves everysingle penny for his tracks. Its beats arent as economically friendly anymore, but i’d gladly save a lifetime just to kill a Zaytoven track.

  • joe

    zaytoven you make dope beats that gangsta boo shit was sick

  • Mutada Mullah Atari

    Zay glad you agreed to do this blog, i can honestly say that I did no adjust to your sound until much later, but all of my friends kids and nieces and nephews LOVE what ya’ll do. In your next post can you speak about the amount of work and the state of mind that you have to remain in to accomplish all that you did? I think a lot of people who aspire to get into hip hop do not understand how hard people like Gucci, OJ and you work. I’m sure you’ve done hundreds if not thousands of tracks now, and I know that OJ and Gucci are trying to knock out 2-3 songs per day. Also can you speak about the need for proper promotion and management? Thanks !


    Zay u killed those playa fly traccs!!! fly is the most underated rapper of all time niggaz need to know who he is…he raps the real!!!

  • eastwood

    yo zay what up iam from the atl also and i seen some of your video on youtube and if u looking for some artist holla at me iam on youtube also hit my page up eastwoodmpg holla at me pimp