Atlanta-based rap producer Xavier L. Dotson (aka Zaytoven) played a central role in popularizing the wave of trap music — particularly in his home city — that began in the mid-2000s. In addition to winning a Grammy in 2011 for his work with Usher, Dotson is most known for his work with rappers Gucci Mane, Migos, and Future. He ventured into Christian rap and gospel with his 2018 collaborations with Lecrae and Deitrick Haddon, and released a charting album with Ushertitled A the same year. His extensive list of mixtapes includes efforts with Chief Keef, Boosie Badazz, Lil Yachty, and many others.
Dotson was born in 1980 on an army base in Frankfurt, Germany, although his family moved to San Francisco shortly thereafter. When he left his family home, Dotson moved to Atlanta. Before entering the world of rap, he was a church musician who, after dabbling on the drums, quickly turned to the organ and piano. In 2002, Dotson met Radric Davis (aka Gucci Mane) for the first time, and the two quickly decided they should make music together. From there, Dotsonproduced Mane‘s debut album, Trap House, as well as receiving at least one production credit on every subsequent Mane record. As time went by, Dotson worked with a number of Southern rappers, including Migos, Future, Waka Flocka Flame, and Lil Uzi Vert.
His work garnered much attention over the years — with his piano lines becoming a signature of his productions — resulting in his first Grammy in 2011 for his work on Usher‘s Raymond v. Raymond. Around the mid-2010s, public attention was growing toward producers, with names such as Mike WiLL Made-It, Metro Boomin, and Boi-1da becoming stars in their own right; Zaytoven was no different, gradually moving further into the spotlight. By 2017, Dotson had begun touring with the musicians he produced for — playing various pianos and keytars on-stage — as well as signing to Motown. He continued releasing collaborations and mixtapes at a prolific rate, often on his own Familiar Territory imprint. His full-length debut album, Trapholizay, arrived in May 2018, entering the Top 100 of the Billboard 200. The effort featured a roster of familiar faces including Gucci Mane, Young Dolph, Rick Ross, Yo Gotti, and several others. A month later, the producer issued his collaboration with Christian rapper Lecrae. Let the Trap Say Amen debuted in the Top 50 on the Billboard 200. A, with Usher, appeared the same year, reaching the Top 40. A Christmas EP with gospel singer Deitrick Haddon, Greatest Gift, rounded out the year.
2019 saw Dotson team up with Chief Keef for the Glotoven mixtape, in addition to releasing Bad Azz Zay with Boosie Badazz. His 2020 releases included A-Team (with Lil Yachty, Lil Keed, and Lil Gotit), Zaystreet (with Young Scooter), and GrinchToven Stole the Trap. In 2021, Dotson released the solo effort Been Rappin, as well as several Lost Tapes volumes, including full albums with OJ da Juiceman, B.o.B, Young Dro, and others. He also released the compilation Zaytoven Presents: Fo15 and collaborated with Orlando rapper Moe on an album called Moetoven.
Zaytoven in Atlanta’s famous Patchwork studios making a beat on the spot in 3 minutes
Directed by The Digggers. edited by creative director Tyler Jerard
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