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Free The Optimus / Press

“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.”

“Free The Optimus' Shreve drops his newest project since 2014’s "Summer Ransom". The 18 track album finds him exploring new territory both sonically and lyrically. A boom bap fueled journey into the 2016 mind space of one of North Carolina's most distinct voices through the rough construct of twenty verses. Production by by P.A.T. Junior, L the Beat Chemist, Nakata Slice, ILe Flottante, Aso, ΔΣ, Kevo Beats, Handbook, PK Beatz, FutureBeats, and Nod the Producer. Featuring guest appearances from Mike L!VE, DJ Jet, Jrusalam, Chachillie, Tanya, and SK the Novelist.”

“North Carolina artist and educator Chris Shreve proves his love for Hip Hop throughout Twenty Sixteens, a 48 min solo project showcasing the Professor’s unapologetic lyricism and commitment to freeing his Optimus. What does a rap album sound like from a 34 year old full time university professor (slash stay at home dad) who played wide receiver with both Mike Vick and Brett Favre? Well… Listen to his new track "I Love H.E.R." and let us know what you think below.”

““I told H.E.R. I love her, I don’t think that she believe me.” North Carolina artist and educator Chris Shreve seems out to prove his love for Hip-Hop throughout "Twenty Sixteens", a 48 min solo project showcasing the Professor’s unapologetic lyricism and commitment to freeing his Optimus. What does a rap album sound like from a 34 year old full time university professor (slash stay at home dad) who at one time played wide receiver with both Mike Vick & Brett Favre? Hip-Hop albums are only as good as their soundscapes, and Shreve’s keen ear serves him well here. The production throughout the project is excellent, and sets the stage for Shreve to flourish lyrically as P.A.T. Junior, Nakata Slice, L the Beat Chemist, FutureBeats, and many more weave the boom bap we’ve come to expect from an FTO album along with plenty of new twists and turns. ...The features are few and far between as Shreve focuses intently on delivering a powerful solo message of positivity and love for the”

“Welcome back to #PushTheArts, beautiful people. Proceeding with the 4th installment “In The Vault” we have the homie C.Shreve out of North Carolina. I’ve been following C.Shreve for a few years now, and like I’ve said before, dude is beyond dope. With songs such as “What It Do” and “Fade Away”, C.Shreve made me a fan waaaaaay back. I get a real authentic feel when I listen to the homie. “What It Do” is still my favorite track to date. So head out below and check out the work by C.Shreve!”

“We all want to live forever in some form or fashion. Some people live on through their children. Some people have their art. I always wanted to become famous enough to have a street named after me in my hometown. There’s still time for that though. C. Shreve addresses this topic over production from Handbook today. The beat builds elegantly as Shreve keeps hammering the bars into your head with his grizzly like cadence before simply putting it on the chorus: “I ain’t tryin to fade away”. This will be on Shreve’s upcoming Twenty Sixteens dropping on 4/20.”

“As we all grow in life, we learn and bring new things to the table. Free The Optimus (FTO) is a story of exploration and striving toward whatever your goals may be. For this group, their goal is to grow this unit of music that bursts forth from FTO like a lyrical bat out of… Asheville. Chris Shreve, one of the three vocalists, had this to say about the vision of the group: “FTO is meant to be an implication of freeing the part of you that is locked down and cannot be optimistic, but it can mean anything you want, really; free the oppression, free the cypher, however you feel.” In addition to a wide array of experimental elements in their hip-hop, they bring their explorative methods to their local scene (Boone/Asheville) via Cyphers that include dance, poetry, singing, as well as rapping (the traditional cypher).”

“FTO has blessed our inbox with a complete change of pace. A mashup of multiple events, fueled by hip hop, in many different environments. What starts out as a band on the street with a man on the mic transitions indoors to a live hip hop show and basically gives us an inside look to the lives of the men from FTO. If any other night is like MiKE L!VE’s bday party, I want to kick it with these dues if they ever bless the midwest!”

“Free The Optimus (FTO) hit the class room and streets to teach us that the golden area of hip-hop is still alive and well. This video is packed with all things hip-hop; emceeing, DJing, breaking, and graffiti. I love finding videos/tracks where artists are trying to keep all four elements of hip-hop alive. I feel like we are losing the essence of hip-hop to the rap industry in recent years.”

“Chris Shreve had a solid 2015 and he’s already aiming at 2016 with this new track. Produced by Future Beats, this track is from Greensboro, NC artist Trapbo’ Chad with an assist from the lyrical Shreve (shout out to his Yancy Thigpin name drop in the middle of the song). What people want and what they need are different things. Sometimes the message you need to hear isn’t the one you want to hear but that’s how life works. Shreve, Chad, and Future Beats will all be releasing projects in 2016 so keep your eyes open.”

“C.Shreve the Professor is an MC and the founder of North Carolina hip-hop collective Free The Optimus. With a love for golden era boom bap and a passion for lyrical excellence, Shreve has utilized the internet age to collaborate with producers & artists far and wide. Since 2012, FTO has released 7 full-length projects with the Professor starring on all but one of them. A senior lecturer at Appalachian State University by day, this emcee brings a very different perspective to both the studio and the live stage.”

“There aren’t many things more beautiful than the mountains of North Carolina in fall, so it’s no surprise that Free The Optimus member C. Shreve chose them as the backdrop for his new release “Greatness On My Mind.” The Professor spits a quick verse in between shots of downtown Asheville in the new video, which he says is the first single for his upcoming Twenty Sixteens album (which is a pretty dope title). Shreve has long been active in the underground scene in NC, gaining recognition as a frequent presence at the N.C. State cypher and as a talented battler/freestyler. Excited to see him continue to turn those talents into substantive releases we can all enjoy again and again.”

“By now you are familiar with the North Carolina collective of Cyph Heads that is known by, Free The Optimus. Founder of FTO, C. Shreve The Professor, has released his own audio dope going by “Greatness On My Mind.” This track finds the artist aspiring for greatness and urging his listeners to do the same. Riding production by 16-year-old Japanese producer, FutureBeats, Shreve gives us the first taste of his Twenty Sixteens solo project that will release in 2016. Notable Lyrics: “Nourish me with courage free and let the spirit lift / Riding the waves of time, we feel adrift / A rift in the continuity, it’s like there’s two of me / Tryna profess while I’m steady reppin truancy””

“Free The Optimus (FTO) and 1100 Hunters member, Mike L!VE, has released his own track that is for the movement that he is credited to starting entitled, “Cyph Heads.” He is an originator of the Cypher Univercity movement taking root on 6 North Carolina campuses and he helped start both the NC State University Cypher and the AVL Cypher (Asheville). This single serves as a rally call for the cypher heads statewide. This will be found on FTO’s project coming out on November. Notable Lyrics: “Cyph heads hit me up like what’s goodie God?Wind chill 16 throw my hoodie on Cyphs everywhere, it’s that new shit. Put a fuckin’ fist in the air, it’s the movement…””

“When you are thinking about goodness, what do you do? Now what happens when you think about greatness? You may wonder how you can become as great as your thoughts so that’s what C.Shreve The Professor did when he composed a song called “Greatness On My Mind”. This North Carolina rapper may be speaking about himself or hip-hop from his home state, now you have to listen to find out what is going on in his mind. FutureBeats, a 16-year old from Japan, produced this for him, which is potential greatness in itself.”

“Influenced by the likes of The Roots, Wu-tang Clan, and Run DMC; Free The Optimus, a hip-hop group based in Boone and Asheville, North Carolina, have found themselves growing a steady following with their string of new releases and live, energetic shows...While FTO may be staying busy through their new music and touring, they still haven’t forgotten what their own values are as a group. “FTO has the idea that you can do whatever you want if you’re willing to work hard enough for it. We really want to change the world through others, through music and art. Change the world and explore your potential,” Shreve said.”

“The cypher is one of the areas where you get to see who’s really good at lyrical content and who can’t remain on topic. North Carolina’s Free The Optimus bring back the cypher on this fun and lyrical new track. C. Shreve, DJ Jet, and Mike L!ve rap laps in this one with the video showing other elements of the culture, such as graffiti.”

“The Cypher Univercity movement is growing (the Asheville-based cypher celebrates its first anniversary this month), as is attention on the North Carolina hip-hop scene. FTO recently received the Carolina Music Award for best hip-hop group in the Carolinas. “We are thrilled to have had our hard work recognized,” Shreve says, but he’s also aware that with attention comes competition, shifting values, commercialization and other potentially ugly side effects. Still, he says, “if you get a higher platform, more people can hear your passionate message.””

“For the last few months I’ve been building a relationship with the Professor C.Shreve and he is easily the most consistent with his submissions and support via social media as far as emcees. I literally can’t keep up with everything that he is doing for NC's hip hop culture. Recently he linked up with Raleigh based artist Jrusalam to drop this heater. Legendary is a uptempo jam and laced with these talented emcees lyricism its a must hear. Enjoy!”

“The homie C.Shreve has become a household name on the Millionaires Club, and today he’s back with a new joint. Featuring one of the founding members of the NC State Cypher, Jrusalam, the two collab on this NosmoKing produced “Legendary”. Man, Shreve never disappoints if you’ve never seen him live go check him out.”

"Violence don’t stop violence and ballots don’t bring balance / they got strong arms steady and they ready for your silence" Professor of rhyme C.Shreve just dropped off this new Free the Optimus cut (Be True) produced by Handbook. One of the original FTO memebers Ill Will steps out from his usual spot behind the scenes to join the Professor on a record influenced largely by the police militarization we continue to see in Ferguson and elsewhere.

“Well, fall is here and with the brisk air setting in I had to do something to heat things back up – Its only natural I pass on the flame. This joint dropped back in July or August and its guaranteed to get rid of the nip you’re starting to feel as a result of the seasons change. Shoutout to one of NC’s dopest emcees C.Shreve The Professor for this gem.”

“Shreve has a distinct and gritty voice and his ability to flip flows midway through a verse is outstanding. He has great technical skills, which show on songs like the title track and his rhyme patterns are great as well. The features are limited with the majority going to crew member Mike L!VE who does a great job of holding his own while not outshining Shreve on his own project...This sounds like nothing you’ll hear on your local radio station or that’s being pushed to you through the major blogs either....If you’re looking for something different and that has a more pure hip-hop feel to it, this is your project. --review of Summer Ransom”

“I gave Summer Ransom a good listen today and was feelin' mostly every track on here, from the jazzy, soulful feel of "Blast Off" and "My Hemisphere" to the harder, grittier boom-bap vibe of "The Feast". Many of the instrumentals on the album have a summery feel and C.Shreve sounds great over them, effortlessly switching between boastful battle raps and some more introspective rhymes found on tracks like "The Professor". This one will be getting a lot of play from me this year. Don't sleep.”

“The Professor never disappoints as this project (Summer Ransom) is heart felt and very very hip hop. Nothing watered down I assure you.”

“As we all know there a lot of people making music these days but Shreve’s aura is one of pure HIP HOP and I MEAN HIP HOP. The beats he chooses, the way he delivers his rhymes, his flow it reminds me of why I love this art form so much. Additionally, he is a very positive and humble spirit which probably explain why his music is so pure.”

“What's great about C.Shreve and his FTO collective is that they inherently feel underground in a time when "underground" rappers are throwing in money they don't have into being the hardest and toughest act out there. Shreve on the other hand, feels raw, gritty, and relatable, yet still being tough and talented. It's authentic and I love that more than anything.”

“Summertime always brings in a fresh wave of summer jams, and for the world's listening enjoyment, C.Shreve the Professor brings us the title track for his forthcoming album, Summer Ransom. This single features a head nodding beat by UK producer Handbook, and lyrics from Shreve who seems to be in prime form. His lyrical methods are just as unique as his raspy voice and if the album sounds anything like this track, the we could be in for one hell of a project.”

“C.Shreve and his collective, known as Free the Optimus, have been hustling and bustling with some of the dopest rhymes the underground world has to offer right now. They really deserve all the credit they haven't gotten yet, but hopefully Shreve's new project will gain the traction they should be getting.”

“The group (FTO) is known for bringing positive and poetic lyrics that flow over jazz influenced hip hop beats that bring in a hint of soul. Their newest track highlights the competitive nature of hip hop, and the desire to want to be the best. In order to survive both C.Shreve and Snoddy manage to point out that creativity and intelligence will ultimately prove to be their strong point. "Natural Selection" proves that with a good state of mind, influence and power will ultimately come their way. Their lyrical talent goes above and beyond of what is expected in the rap music these days. The song shows hunger, strength and bravery. “Natural Selection” is motivational track that should encourage rappers to make new moves on their music and is worth a good listen.”

““Rapping about rapping”, The Professor throws it back with a Run DMC “Sucka MCs” type of boldness. With free-association rhymes and the ability to blindly follow wherever a record leads, the North Carolina MC demonstrates a heavy focus on lyricism and rhythm exploration.”

“Free The Optimus focuses on combining lyricism and masterful soundscapes to create tracks that can transcend some of the materialistic constraints of hip-hop today, and instead provide a powerful message. “The vision of Free the Optimus has honed in over time, but it remains true to what it was when we began,” Shreve said. “It’s the idea of freeing your optimal ability while also freeing your optimistic perspective. If you think positively, you can transform yourself and the world around you. It’s easy to be pulled into being just another cog in the wheel of the system–you don’t have to. You can think outside the box and be who ever you want. Free your mind.””

“It is safe to say that there are emcees out there who know the culture of the hip hop world versus the current (and controversial) rap shit we all see on the television these days; C.Shreve happens to be one of those culture-influenced emcees.”

“In the days where the lyricism of rap and the special talent of it all seems to be secondary to the fist-pumping action that occurs in the music, it could be easy to discredit rap and hip hop as a genre on the decline. However, a quick search on the internet would quickly show a whole underground culture that is stronger than ever before. Sometimes it means dwelling into local acts who are quietly preparing for their rise as lyrical masters with a flow as smooth as silk. C.Shreve the Professor, a man we've been keeping tabs on for quite a while now, is one of these said lyrical masters. The leader of FTO (Free the Optimus), the collective has been bringing intelligent, socially conscious rap into the forefront in North Carolina for a while now.”

“I'd always had a sneaking suspicion that lyricists were some of the smartest people out there, and C.Shreve seems to prove my hypothesis to be correct. While not out and about teaching mad knowledge to young adults, he's spitting rhymes and doing it pretty damn well. Keeping the hook and verse equally memorable (not an easy feat), he's also given help by the stunning production. It's not always I get smart men to eloquently explain their work to me, so in his own words he explains - "This song is about the contrast between the desires and needs that we all have & the dichotomy between theory and practice." I couldn't have said it any better.”

“After achieving his high school dream of walking onto the team at a major college football powerhouse — Virginia Tech — Chris Shreve felt like there was something missing in his life. An athlete with a creative streak, Shreve yearned for the fulfilling, yet fleeting moments of creating art that he enjoyed as a youngster. “I thought I missed out on a lot of the arts and writing from when I was younger,” he said. “I felt I needed to update that part of my life.” As he has always been fascinated with writing structure, particularly lyrics, Shreve began the ever torturous and rarely rewarding task of becoming a writer....”

“I’m into the raw, lyrical rap that usually comes out mellow, with a complex beat. And just like magic, C.Shreve the Professor provides BNM with “Orbits” a perfect example of the type of hip-hop we’ve been preaching. C.Shreve is following the footsteps of J.Cole and 9th Wonder, emerging fast and efficiently from the North Carolina area.”

“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 egotistical. Shreve describes the sound as a “philosophical, wandering narrative” with messages about truth of humanity and philosophical questions set to live music. Free the Optimus features music that is all at once socially conscious, empowering, and mind opening.”

“C.Shreve the Professor returns to the Speakeasy with a reinvented style focusing more on content than delivery. Still keeping with his microphone presence, however, C.Shreve hops on a super smooth, laid-back beat by iLe Flottante that will draw listeners in with the first kick of the bass drum.”

“C.Shreve The Professor is one of those fresh new talents to emerge from NC, and he's making quite an impression. Currently residing in Boone, Shreve has been bringing out some really nice tracks lately, and his latest release "Orbits" is no exception. Backed by a smooth instrumental, courtesy of British producer iLe Flottante (part of the Soulful Chemistry crew), Shreve delivers clever wordplay with a flow that enables you to hear every word he spits, never over-complicating the track. The chilled vibes of the instrumental makes this song one you can definitely kick back to.”

“Chris raps about things that have spiritual sustenance and hope for all of the people that need an uplifting. We don’t want to play music that is driven by material needs and flashy desires. -- Tha Last Boss”

“C.Shreve the Professor bounces back and drops “My Philosophy” presenting listeners with rules that he himself lives by. With a rustic, yet somewhat light and airy beat by P.U.R.P., C.Shreve utilizes the beat to the fullest and straight spits”

“From start to finish this album was DOPE! C.Shreve is an artist who is based in North Carolina, and is the founder of the Free the Optimus collective. Don't let his appearance fool you, this guy can rap with a crazy flow and his raspy voice is very catchy. C.Shreve is not your typical 16 bars hook rapper, he just gets on the beat and kills it! Professing Vol.1 is an album that is put together very well. You can tell just by listening to 1 track, that C.Shreve is about quality and consistency in his music. This album truly exceeded my expectations...”

“...raw, unadulterated hip-hop, with lots of dope flows and witty punches over boom bap inspired productions.”

“Dropping intense rhymes over an undeniably East Coast-themed instrumental – courtesy of creambeats – C.Shreve the Professor impresses with his new song, “Come Up.” His gritty vocals add rawness to the track and his rhymes and the beat make for a very street-like sound old-school hip hop heads would enjoy.”

“C.Shreve mixes a dope flow with some clever punches and a dash of introspection to give "Hope Y'all Hear It" an extra edge. “The Come Up” is a smooth, bass heavy jam with a boom bap inspired clap drum and somber string and piano samples. C.Shreve brings the bars and the flows.”

“From his influences to his hopes and dreams, C.Shreve raps steadily with a gritty voice and menacing flow...”

“Each artist contributes to the collective in more ways than one. From production, to the lyrics over each track, to the videos and graphics, the FTO movement is one to be familar with.”

“Between Mind Ninjas’ Burning Leaf Technique and this collective release (FTOverseas), Free the Optimus released a phenomenal amount of really, great music this year. C.Shreve is a professor in and out of the classroom, and the chemistry between he and Shep Bryan is impossible to ignore. Burning Leaf Technique is a smorgasbord of deep lyricism and soulful beats.”

“...they have an eclectic mix of your classic Hip-Hop samples with a slight drug essence to them reminding me a little along the lines of Clams Casino accompanied by hard flow reminding me a little of Emay but a growl behind it almost like DMX.”

“Lead by the tall mutton-chopped beatsmith Shep Bryan and his athletic partner in crime C.Shreve, this video (WoodyHarrelson) is a feel good journey through Asheville NC where the two rap, dunk, smoke, and eat pizza (solid). Overall great video to go with a great song.”

“There’re still some cats that make the kind of music that remind you why you fell in love with hip hop to begin with.”

“...an emphasis on lyrical content and dope production. My personal favorite track listed below is What More, but For Breakfast and Life Goes On will definitely appeal to FNT’s lyrical hip hop fans.”