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Free the Optimus is an Asheville, NC based hip hop collective focused on bringing positive lyricism to jazz influenced hip hop soundscapes. The 2015 Carolina Music Awards Best Hip Hop Group, FTO’s focus is on delivering a message that resonates with both the reality of today and the dreams of tomorrow. Somewhere in the last decade or so, a lot of hip hop artists lost their way trying to meet some status quo formula; Free The Optimus aims to break down these false barriers and to provide a living/breathing example of thinking outside the box.
In live performance form, FTO consists of C.Shreve the Professor and Mike L!VE on vocals, DJ Jet on the turntables (in true vinyl DJ mode), and a rotating selection of guest performers and musicians. The jazz (and hip hop) mindset of free form improvisation and collaboration is a vital component to the Free The Optimus live experience, as songs and structure are often tossed aside in favor of the energy and groove of the moment.