Since walking free from federal prison on May 26, Gucci Mane has released two solo singles, and collaborated with Kanye West, Drake, and Dreezy. He has also recorded a "whole album and then some,” according to Zaytoven, one of Gucci's oldest and dearest collaborators.
Reached by phone last week, Zaytoven said that he and Mike WiLL Made It, another stalwart Gucci ally, have worked almost exclusively with Gucci in the weeks since his release. “On his new album, me and Mike WiLL did a lot of production together,” Zay said, when reached by phone last week. “We did a lot of the songs together. That’s something that’s not really been heard before.”
In the 30 days since he has been home, Zay said, Gucci Mane has already banked enough music to comprise at least one full project. Many of those songs were written before his release, while Gucci was behind bars. “A few songs we did right off the muscle [after reuniting], but the majority was already written," Zaytoven said. "Since he was locked up for so long, he sat down and wrote songs."
Both Zay and Mike WiLL have worked with Gucci over the course of a decade, and Zay said the familiarity established over that time has served the collaborators well since Gucci's return. “It was an exciting feeling,” Zay said of he and Gucci’s initial reunion. “I seen him and he looked totally different. We hugged, we talked for maybe 10 minutes, and after that it was back to work. Just like old times: I’m making the beat and he’s recording real fast. And we’re sitting back listening to it, laughing.”
Zaytoven said he worked to keep himself relevant during Gucci’s three-year absence, in anticipation of the rapper’s return. “I wanted to make sure when he came out to do his album, he’d say: ‘I got to use Zaytoven all over the album.’ I made sure to be in a better place than I was when he left,” Zaytoven said.
Fans can expect that the album they’re working on will sound both classic and timely, he said. “I know I made two or three that are like, vintage Zaytoven and Gucci. And we hit you with the new stuff that you ain’t ever heard before,” the producer said. “There was a void in trap music for a long time and Gucci is coming back to fill the void. I think this is his biggest stage yet. I think he’s going to rise to the occasion, with the music that everybody has been missing all this time."
"He knows what he’s doing," Zay said of Gucci’s mood as he prepares to release new work. "He’s always been like that. I’ve never seen him nervous."