Mommy Love To Dance featured on Mountain Xpress


It’s been a busy summer for Boone-based hip-hop collective Free the Optimus. The group recently released two tracks, back-to-back, including “Somnambulant” from “the long lost FTOLive album — which will come out in some form or another by the end of 2017 — [featuring] longtime FTO member Shep Bryan along with C.Shreve the Professor,” according to a press release.

The second single, “Mommy Love to Dance,” starts off with the line, “I’m often in an awful mood / but yeah Mommy got those awesome moves.” It trips along a line between whimsy and laser focus on career and artistic aspiration. “Now get gone with that nit-picky stress sh*t / yeah, I’m on some now, but thinking ’bout some next sh*t,” Shreve raps. The track offers encouragement for those who keep pushing, but also reminds listeners to be in the moment and enjoy the ride.

–Alli Marshall

Mike L!VE via 1st Day Fresh

1st Day Fresh showing Mike L!VE’s 2 new Visual Freestyles some love.

MiKE L!VE releases two part “visual freestyle”


C.Shreve and FTO featured in High Country Press

Great new feature from High Country Press.

C. Shreve the Professor and FTO to Return to Boone Saloon Friday

C. Shreve the Professor and FTO to Return to Boone Saloon Friday


Shreve scream (HD)

Appalachian State professor Chris Shreve, a.k.a C. Shreve the Professor, moonlights as one of the more prolific mcees in the region, and he’s teaming up once again with his award winning group, Free the Optimus, to bring his inspirational hip hop message to Boone Saloon on Friday Sept. 9.

The show will be Shreve’s first performance at Saloon since the debut of his solo albumTwenty Sixteens, which was released this May. This visit to Saloon is part of a 16-date east coast tour to promote the new album, which features sprawling but driven jazz beats alongside Shreve’s metaphysical lyricism.

Shreve and his group, FTO, have a firm and rapidly growing following in NC and beyond. Their talent has already been repeatedly recognized by the Carolina Music Awards. After winning two years in a row, FTO is once again up for best hip hop group at the event this year.

Since the formation of FTO in 2007, Shreve and various collaborators have sought to inspire critical thought with their lyrically positive hip hop. The purpose of this message is easily summed up: “to help people do their best.” Says Shreve “Using your full potential is what we refer to as the optimus.”

In the new album, Shreve often comes off like a mystic sort of hip hop philosopher, encouraging listeners to consider deeper issues than the materialism often found in mainstream hip hop.

The album’s title track encourages listeners to look inside themselves to question, “why you are who you are, why you move how you move.”

Attendees should expect a nonstop night of dance inducing beats carrying with them the positive and thoughtful message of FTO. “We’re definietly different than peoples’ preconceived notions of like a rap show,” Says Shreve. “A lot of people think a bar is a jam band space. Its just as intimate.”

Shreve is still teaching math within the exercise science department full time at Appalachian State, but his lyrical prowess, bourgeoning following and critical recognition all foretell a massive career awaiting launch.

“We keep saying we want to do fewer shows for more money,” Says Shreve. “If I could get a leave of absence because of rap that would be my optimus.” Don’t miss your chance to experience the Professor, to be able to tell your friends that you saw him when.

The night will feature the full FTO lineup of DJ Jet, Mike L!IVE and of course C. Shreve the Professor. There will also be special appearances from Professor Toon and Hunter Bennet. The cost for the night will be only $5 at the door. Doors open at 9 p.m., and the show starts at 10 p.m.


Twenty Sixteens review via Mountain Xpress



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Local hip-hop artist C. Shreve the Professor is prolific. He’s constantly turning out new work as well as performing onstage and contributing to efforts like Cypher Univercity. His latest release,Twenty Sixteens is almost a double album, weighing in at 18 tracks.

“The Marquee,” produced by Aso, pairs Shreve’s jabbing delivery with laid-back beats and loungey sway. The song itself could be the manifesto of the album — its brags feel warranted and — perhaps surprisingly — not at the cost of some dogged opponent. Shreve is to rap what a swarmer is to boxing. Meanwhile, his Free the Optimus partner/fellow MC Mike L!VE raps with a kind of machine gun speed and power on “BAOW.” That aggressive conveyance is balanced with a sense of humor, a lithe bounce that keeps the flow loose at its most intense moments.

“Fade Away,” which starts easy and slow, builds on themes of personal responsibility and the drive for creative originality. The latter is topic Shreve circles back to, time and again, on this album — though he approaches his own efforts and the short comings of his detractors with less bravado than fiery righteousness. That’s not to say every track is even-handed or wholly respectful. Even hip-hop artists who aim for positive messages devote a certain amount of airspace to telling off frenemies. But there’s a lot going on the world that ought to be called out, and when that righteous indignation is directed toward universal issues, it’s exacting.

There’s a stunning balance between acridity and tenderness on “I Love H.E.R.” The lyrics bounce between overconfidence and self-exploration, between physical love and a greater expression, a broader paint stroke. Shreve’s metaphors dance between relationships, musical career and nature, deftly weaving a thread of connectivity. The crisp smack of snare under burbling keys (produced by ΔΣ) is like the staccato of rain on a placid lake face. There play between mood and texture, hard and soft is artful.

Shreve has a kind of trademark move — a guttural exhale, like the yogic breath of fire. He executes it at the beginning of songs and mid-track, a fighter readying himself for the ring. Raw energy is felt on tracks like “Asystole” (“You see these fakes and frauds? Well I don’t deal with ’em”) and the hard-hitting “I Don’t Even Sleep” (“A student of this life I got no key, I’m feeling stressed”). But if there’s a secret to be revealed it’s in the Kevo Beats-produced “RUH.” That track, featuring L!VE, centers on that fierce grunt: “Say ‘RUH’ if you’re a lifer.” The nimble verbal choreography between Shreve and L!VE alone is worth a listen, and shouting along with the lyrics can lift a low mood.

There’s an interesting twist, late in the album, with the dance song “Parasol.” It’s a platform for DJ Jet’s excellent scratches and the elastic, repeated chorus about a female character at a club. But if it seems out of character for Shreve or FTO to stoop to the misogynistic or salacious — well, that’s not what’s happening here. Shreve points out that the track is intended to get a response from the listener (this reviewer did a double take). “Historically, those songs tend to be particularly derogatory to women … This song is intended to be a dance club song and almost take that cliche angle (‘She just came to dance, she don’t care at all’), but, in reality, destroy misogyny right at its core,” he says. “The overall goal of the song was to create a dance song for the ladies (which is tricky as a married man) and to help the guys in the crowd realize that shemight have just come to dance, and could care less about his intentions.”

Twenty Sixteens is not all so serious (in fact, that particular track sounds like a party), but even the short and swaggering “L!VE on the Beat” (produced by L!VE) feels measured and weighed. No words are wasted: “Not stunt rap or blunt rap, it’s be what you want rap / Rhymes by the dozens, hope your mama got a come back.”

The album ends with multiple bonus tracks. The third (and final) is the 1/2-minute doo-wop-based “Tell Your Mother,” featuring SK The Novelist (produced by Malik Abdul-Rahmaan & The Revelations). It’s bracing, crashing in wave after wave of sound and verse, a relentless and breathless assault. But there’s also so much light, from the breezy background vocals to the bright keyboard tones. It’s substantive — thought provoking and soul-quenching: “If you’ve been hungry since you woke up, hit the kitchen with my partners,” Shreve raps.