by Madison V. Fisler
Nov. 20, 2013. On Thursday, Nov. 21, Boone Saloon on King Street in downtown Boone will play host to “Free the Optimus,” a local hip-hop collective in a double-headlining show. The show will feature not only the popular collective, but also Free Radio out of Asheville and special guest Phlo Deli at 10 p.m.
Free the Optimus is a hip hop collective of artists with emcees who provide vocal content, producers who offer layering, singers, live musicians and visual artists. The collective is an older model of music that is a throwback to when hip-hop was finding its own identity.
Founded in 2007 by Chris Shreve (C.Shreve the Professor) along with many other members, the collective began to change what the mainstream defined as hip-hop and rap.
“Free the Optimus is an idea of people working together and having a team to fall back on while not being confined to it,” said Chris Shreve, a founder of the collective, and also a full-time lecturer at Appalachian State University.
Listeners may notice that the music produced by the collective is not like most of the mainstream rap and hip hop on the airwaves today, which can be at times materialistic and egotisrical.
Shreve describes the sound as a “philosophical, wandering narrative” with messages about truth of humanity and philosophical questions set to live music. Avid fans of hip hop will recognize the sound as one that is reminiscent of “old school” 90’s New York rap, considered the Golden Era of the genre.
Free the Optimus features music that is all at once socially conscious, empowering, and mind opening.
“We have a message and a musical backdrop,” said Sheve. “We want to bring the musicality alive. We are not defined by our genre, we are just artists working in a medium.”
Listeners at the show should expect to be caught completely off guard, and should not come with a preconceived notion of what the collective is all about.
“It will be a lot more mentally stimulating than you would expect, its not simple at all,” Shreve said. “There will be a lot of freestyling and improvisation, expect lots of energy and intelligence in the content. It’s a lot of fun and it will be a great time.”