SURVIVING PROGRESS: Jeron Ward of the Flush on the changing face of #NewAtlanta.


SURVIVING PROGRESS: Jeron Ward of the Flush on the changing face of #NewAtlanta.

Catching up with #NewAtlanta 

Jeron Ward on how the movement lives on

At the top of 2013, #NewAtlanta was everywhere. To most it was simply a hashtag. To the collective of artists, producers, and designers behind it, #NewAtlanta was one of the most successful DIY branding campaigns Atlanta hip-hop had seen in the social media era. Artists from Trinidad James to Two9 boasted their affiliation, and one of its chief producers Jeron Ward, of production team the Flush, served as a spokesman for the movement. Now that the wave of hype over #NewAtlanta has receded, Ward talks of its evolution while affirming that the movement lives on.

For a minute #New Atlanta generated a serious buzz, which skewed its public perception.

We knew that would happen. Anytime something fresh and innovative comes out, and the masses get a hold of it, it ends up misconstrued. In our meetings where we talked about what we wanted to accomplish, we knew that after some time it's gonna get whack. Everybody's gonna wanna jump in and say it's this, it's that, and they don't wanna be a part of it. Going into it, we thought, "let's appreciate this time for what it is. When it's not as genuine as it once was we'll move forward." It reached a point where the hashtag was connected to so many things that it became watered down. But it also reached a point where if we don't hashtag it, it's still there. The culture, the energy, the music, the people are still progressing toward a positive outlook for Atlanta.

Where is #New Atlanta now?

It's maturing. When we all met with each other, for some people it was the first time we'd met. We'd heard each other's music so it was kinda like the first time that we got in the same room and shook hands and agreed upon what we were doing. Now, it's doing exactly what we thought it was gonna do. Trinidad is doing what he's doing, but now you've got other energies like Rome Fortune who's doing well with Childish Major. Spree Wilson and Goldchamber are doing great. Miloh Smith is getting heard, Money Makin Nique is doin' well. Mach Five just did a freakin' movie, We Ballin', which is a phenomenal achievement. It's becoming its own person, its own sound, everybody's growing with it.

What is #NewAtlanta's biggest achievement?

Making its presence known on a higher level. At its peak, right before SXSW, people were talking about it, and that was the whole point. This culture has been here forever, but it all collectively came together. That was new, but the energy has always been here forever. #NewAtlanta's greatest accomplishment was putting its flag up for the country to take notice. It's impossible to accomplish anything if nobody knows about it. My hope is that when people look back on the different movements that came out of Atlanta, they'll look back on 2012-2013, and have to mention #NewAtlanta or the artists or the music. It was able to put its flag up so high that it can't be overlooked. That's commendable from a group of young musicians and artists who just banded together to make something happen. It's not like we had T.I. carrying our banner. Jeezy wasn't talking about it. We did it ourselves. It's homegrown, and that goes a long way.

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