Zaytoven Discusses the New Sound on Gucci Mane’s ‘Everybody Looking’ Album
Since Gucci Mane was released from federal prison on May 26, he's been hard at work recording new music. Fresh out of the bing in Terre Haute, Ind., the rapper's longtime girlfriend Keyshia Ka'oir posted a number of videos to Snapchat showing off his new rock-solid physique and beautiful home. One of the videos also featured Guwop back in the studio recording music within hours of him being free. Gucci wasn't wasting any time.
During his three years in federal prison, the Atlanta native kept busy penning rhymes. In a Snapchat clip (his social media app of choice), Gucci showed off dozens of papers featuring his rhymes, which were pulled out of a notebook and pinned to the wall in his studio. “These all the raps I wrote when I was in prison,” he said, narrating the video.
La Flare quickly released “First Day Out Tha Feds” once he came home and later dropped his second single, "All My Children." Since then, Gucci has collaborated on new records with Kodak, RiFF RAFF, Kanye West, Drake and Dreezy.
Fans got even more excited when it was discovered that Zaytoven and Mike WiLL Made-It were producing the majority—if not all—of Gucci's upcoming album, Everybody Looking. Zay is one of the rapper's oldest collaborators and previously said that Guwop has recorded a "whole album and then some.”
With every new day, excitement for his LP doubles. Young Thug has already reunited with Mr. 1017 for a new record and Amazon reportedly leaked the tracklist of Everybody Looking early, revealing Yeezy is on the album with a new collab too.
As his loyal supporters wait for Everybody Looking to drop on July 22, XXL got Zaytoven on the phone to discuss Gucci Mane's long-awaited project, his collabo with Young Thug, a possible Drake and Gucci joint album and Beast Mode 16 with Future.
XXL: Exciting times in Atlanta right now. What kind of vibe can fans expect from Gucci Mane’s upcoming album, Everybody Looking?
Zaytoven: I think on his project you’re going to see growth. You’re going to get a new sound because the majority of the project me and Mike Will Made-It produced together. We made a lot of beats together on the album. You’re going to get some vintage Gucci Mane and some new cuts. The fans will definitely be proud and he’ll get some new fans from it.
How was it producing with Mike Will? What type of sound did y’all cook up?
This is really the first time we locked in and worked with each other. We did one song together, that was 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne song [“MFN Right (Remix)"]. After that we felt like we got chemistry ‘cause I know the way he makes and does his drum patterns and the way I do it is totally different. I think it’s the new wave when people hear the album. It’s going to be a lot more artists who want to get that same sound and that style of music when they hear it.
Musically, what’s the difference between Gucci before he went to prison and now?
He still Gucci Mane. He still going to give you the same style of lyrics and the same charisma. I think he came out with a clear mind and focused. Even though he’s been locked up for so long, he sat and thought about all the songs that he wrote. A lot of the time, he might come in and rap in the spirit of the moment. But he took his time and effort on [this album].
How soon did you link with Gucci after he got out?
I was supposed to be there the same day he got out but I had to be in California. I came probably like five days afterwards. I would have been there if I didn’t had to go to California.
Did Gucci really record his album in under a week?
Yeah, definitely. All he was waiting on was the beats. He had all his songs written already and me and Mike Will were already doing the music before he got out ‘cause we knew what he wanted to do. All it was from there was recording so it was easy.
How many songs did he record from jail? Did he show you his rhyme notebook?
Naw, he didn’t show me a notebook or talk about how many songs he wrote but I’m pretty sure it was a lot of songs. Some probably won’t even get used. You know when you get out, you start listening to music and seeing what’s going on and listening to beats, you want to come home with new material. But I’m almost sure he wrote like a 1,000 songs when he was in there.
That picture of Gucci, Drake, Mike Will and you had the Internet going nuts. What happened that day?
We were doing the video for Gucci Mane’s first video for the album. It was featuring Young Thug but Young Thug wasn’t there yet. We were in there talking and Drake just came by because he was in town and wanted to stop through. We just got to talkin’ about doing a project together -- Gucci and Drake together. We were sitting there talking about that until the picture happened. And it went viral from there.
How many songs have Young Thug and Gucci Mane recorded?
That’s all Thug really wanted to do. In the middle of shooting videos, he was going up to the studio room and recording like, “Pull up a beat, I want to record something.” He got a lot of material that he left on there for Gucci and they did a couple of songs when they were there together in the midst of doing a video.
What’s up with 1017? Is Gucci trying to sign any talent? He has such an underrated eye for new artists.
I think he’ll definitely look for new artists. I put him on the phone with 21 Savage; they was talking about a few things. He’s looking. He’s on the prowl for some new guys but for the most part I know he’s focused on his project right now.
Has Gucci recorded for anyone else beside yourself and Mike Will?
Other producers haven’t came to the house but they been sending him beats; all of the producers in Atlanta did. So he’s been working on other tracks as well but for the album, he wanted me and Mike Will to do the majority of that.
“All My Children” was an interesting song. Is he flattered by new artists that adopt his style of is he annoyed?
I think it’s a little bit of both. He’s inspired and charmed by everybody biting his style of music but at the same time he wants to let everybody know that he’s the guy that created this sound and he’s back. So it’s going to be hard for other guys to get in.
The video of you playing the piano at Gucci’s house is amazing. Is the piano something you’re bringing to the show later this month?
Oh yeah, we trying to open up the show with that.
What else are you working on?
Another project I’m really working on that I’m excited about is Beast Mode 16, with me and Future. It got a lot of special music on there. We recording a bunch of songs together, we’re still going. We did like two more last night. We really are trying to put a work of art together. We got to out do the first one so we just got different ways and different sounds. It's something new.
Will there be a Future and Gucci collaboration sometime soon?
Oh yeah definitely. I will try to make sure of it.
Are you filming another movie this year? I really enjoyed Bird of a Feather.
We got Bird of a Feather 2 coming. I’m really excited about that. We’ll probably start shooting in probably another month from now.
You got your hand in so many dope things, man. Are all these projects coming out this year?
Definitely this year.
You think Gucci stays in Atlanta after his house arrest is over or move to L.A.? Seems like everyone is moving to Calabasas.
I definitely think he wants to stay in ATL.
See 20 Rappers Who Released Projects From Jail