Ellenwood, Georgia is a suburb just southeast of Atlanta, and to some, is known specifically as the point of origin of the Crime Mob collective. Aside from that, it goes quiet, typically grouped together and generalized with a simple “Atlanta” whenever a resident is prompted on where they’re from.
But it’s quite the opposite for Jaye Newton. “Ellenwood, Georgia. Eastside of Atlanta,” is his primal response. It’s where he went to middle school and high school. It’s where he got his game. It’s where he started rapping.
East Atlanta is called home by the likes of Gucci Mane, 21 Savage, and the aformentioned Mob to name a few, and always serves as the gritty backdrop to the narratives that comes packaged within these artists’ repertory.
“You see that hands-on–on Bouldercrest, on Snapfinger–there was a lot of negativity, but there’s a lot of positivity,” says the 21-year old Newton. “I don’t feel like there’s a lot of positive reresentation, so I always wanted to flourish with that positivity in my music.”
Since his first take to the booth, an experience he describes as an attempt to emulate Crime Mob over the beat to Young Jeezy’s “Standing Ovation” in the fourth grade, he’s gone on to rack up a total of four projects, each one cultivating a new step in his growth along the way, and leading him up to his debut album–Real Men Wear Pink.
“The title stems from my studies of colors and their meanings,” explains Jaye. “I have a mild case of synesthesia so, I can hear colors on a daily basis and have an understanding of color’s effect on emotions. Pink is the color of love, vulnerability, feminism, affection and inner peace—all topics I wore on my sleeve while writing this album.”
While Jaye represents East Atlanta, his sound is far from the region’s archetype, and his debut effort puts that fact on display from start to finish. With production being handled by collaborator Bossman on all but one of the tracks, RMWP is a cohesive work that maintains its consistency without the overbearing and, often times, corny implication of a theme. Each track stands on its own, but make magic when forged together.
“Besides Crime Mob our city hasn’t had a specific sound or artist to champion,” he says of Ellenwood. “Bossman and I plan to accomplish that feat with this project.”
Take a listen to the full project below.