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Dotson at a panel at SAE Institute; 2015
Dotson at a panel at SAE Institute; 2015
Background information
Birth nameXavier Lamar Dotson
Born (1980-01-12) January 12, 1980 (age 41)
Frankfurt, Hesse, West Germany
OriginAtlanta, Georgia, U.S.
  • Record producer
  • disc jockey
  • keyboardist
  • songwriter
Years active1997–present
Associated acts

Xavier Lamar Dotson (born January 12, 1980), professionally known as Zaytoven, is a German-born American record producer of trap, DJ, and keyboardist from Atlanta, Georgia.[1][2][3] He has released collaborative projects with artists including Usher, Future, Gucci Mane, and Lecrae. He has also produced songs for artists such as Chief Keef and Lil Uzi Vert.[4]

Zaytoven won a Grammy Award in 2011 for his contribution to Usher's Raymond v. Raymond album,[5][6] as a co-producer and writer for the single "Papers" along with Sean Garrett.[7][8] His debut album was released in 2018.

Early life[edit]

Zaytoven spent a lot of time at church growing up, as his father was a preacher when not working for the Army.[9] Zaytoven learned to play instruments through the church bands along with his three younger siblings. He gravitated toward playing the piano and organ.[10]

Zaytoven was introduced to rap in middle school by a friend and never looked back even though his father wasn't fond of the words used in rap music. He learned to produce music while attending high school in his spare time between school and basketball, Zaytoven played the keyboard during halftime at his high school football games. While he was performing one day at the game, local producer JT the Bigga Figga liked what he heard, and invited Zaytoven to his studio, where Zaytoven had unlimited access to his keyboards.[10] He truly began to utilize his skills as a producer while making beats in JT the Bigga Figga's studio before he started making a name for himself in Atlanta.


Career beginnings[edit]

Zaytoven started going over to JT the Bigga Figga's studio every day to make beats and learn how to use the equipment. He began to sell beats to JT, and went on to collaborate with Bay Area artists such as Messy Marv and E-40 while still in high school.[9] During his senior year in high school, Zaytoven's family moved to Atlanta, Georgia due to his father's retirement. Zaytoven decided to stay in San Francisco, finish his senior year, and continue his producing for local rappers. He realized that he needed a studio of his own where he could produce with his own equipment and work at any time of the day.[11]

Having saved up money from his day job as a barber, Zaytoven began to buy equipment for producing. He would ship this to his parents' house in Atlanta, to which he eventually moved, and set up his own studio there.[11] He enrolled in a local barber college in Atlanta and got a job as a barber to help finance the rest of his studio. While attending barber school, a classmate of his introduced Zaytoven to Gucci Mane, who would become his right-hand man in his career as a producer.[10] Zaytoven and Gucci Mane began to work together everyday after meeting each other. Zaytoven said in an interview with Fader that Gucci Mane would call him at 7 in the morning asking if he was ready to start making music for that day.[10] Zaytoven and Gucci Mane spent the majority of the early 2000s making music together and selling mixtapes out of the trunks of their cars in Atlanta. It wasn't until 2005 that the two gained mainstream recognition from their hit song "Icy", with features from Young Jeezy and Boo.[9] This recognition gave Zaytoven's career the boost it needed to take off, landing the hit song "Papers" with Usher in 2010 on Usher's certified platinum album Raymond v. Raymond.[12]

Rise to fame[edit]

Zaytoven's work on Usher's album Raymond v. Raymond earned him a Grammy Award in 2011 and a serious reputation in the hip-hop world. He started to work with more artists as his popularity grew in the Atlanta rap scene. He helped shaped the careers of artists such as OJ Da Juiceman, Yung LA, Yung Ralph, The Shop Boyz, Lil Scrappy, Jagged Edge, and Gorilla Zoe.[12]

Zaytoven's keen eye for talent led him to collaborate with a young group named Migos. He produced several tracks on the Migos 2013 mixtape, Y.R.N., including the hit track "Versace", which peaked at 53 on the Billboard chart.[9] Zaytoven's collaboration with Migos continued; he helped produce their followup mixtape No Label II, released on June 3, 2014.[13]

In 2015, Zaytoven provided exclusive production for ten mixtapes, including Future's Beast Mode, released on January 15. He also worked on Future's album DS2, which debuted on July 17.[14]

In July 2016, Zaytoven produced or co-produced seven songs on Gucci Mane's first album since being released from prison, Everybody Looking.[13] In the same month, Lil Uzi Vert's The Perfect Luv Tape was released, containing the Zaytoven-produced songs "Money Mitch" and "Sideline Watching (Hold Up)".[13] In 2017, Zaytoven contributed to projects such as Gucci Mane's Mr. Davis, 21 Savage's Issa Album, Migos' Culture, Moneybagg Yo's Heartless, and Yo Gotti's I Still Am. Zaytoven also released two independent projects, Wake Up & Cook Up and Where Would The Game Be Without Me.[13]

Zaytoven was scheduled to release his debut album Trap Holizay on May 25, 2018,[15] and a collaborative album with Lecrae called Let the Trap Say Amen on June 22, 2018.[16]

Acting career[edit]

Zaytoven made his acting debut in the 2012 film Birds of a Feather, co-starring with Gucci Mane. The sequel Birds of a Feather 2 was released in 2018.


In 2018, Zaytoven joined the Creators Advisory Board of Tracklib.[17]





Year Film Role Notes
2012 Birds of a Feather[20] Himself
2018 Birds of a Feather 2[21]


  1. ^ "Zaytoven". Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  2. ^ "Sofia Pacheco (397908461) on Myspace". Retrieved July 1, 2016.[non-primary source needed]
  3. ^ Bell, Max. "Symphony in Trap Major: The Uninterrupted Output of Atlanta's Zaytoven". Complex. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  4. ^ "Lil Uzi Vert Goes in Over A Zaytoven Banger On "Alot"". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  5. ^ "Grammy Awards 2011: Winners and nominees for 53rd Grammy Awards". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  6. ^ "Grammy awards 2011: list of winners". The Guardian. February 14, 2011. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  7. ^ "Usher Opens Up About Divorce With New Song "Papers"". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  8. ^ "Usher Says 'Papers' Was Recorded Before His Marriage Ended". MTV News. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d Bell, Max. "Symphony in Trap Major: The Uninterrupted Output of Atlanta's Zaytoven". Complex. Complex Media, Inc. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d G, Nicky. "Zaytoven Breaks Down ATL History From His Lens + How it All Started For Him". Swaysuniverse. Sway's Universe. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Zeichner, Naomi. "Beat Construction: Zaytoven". The Fader. The Fader, Inc. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  12. ^ a b Digital Mix Agency (September 22, 2017). "Biography". zaytovenbeatz. Digital Mix Agency. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  13. ^ a b c d Martin, Liam. "Zaytoven". AllMusic. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  14. ^ Schwartz, Danny. "Behind the Beat: Zaytoven". Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  15. ^ "Zaytoven Unveils Star-Studded Lineup for New Album 'Trap Holizay'". Billboard. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  16. ^ "Lecrae Announces Let the Trap Say Amen with Zaytoven". May 24, 2018. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  17. ^ "Grammy-Winning Producer Zaytoven Joins Tracklib Creators Advisory Board". Music Connection Magazine. October 5, 2018. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  18. ^ a b "Foolio and Zaytoven drop joint project 6toven". Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  19. ^ "Zaytoven2x by Velli2x". Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  20. ^ "Birds of a Feather(I)(2012)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  21. ^ "Birds of a Feather(II)(201*)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 3, 2020.

External links[edit]