Conscious Party: Lyrics for Lunch

RECTANGLE PIZZA ALL-STARS: Asheville-based hip-hop collective Free the Optimus is one of multiple local acts on the Jan. 5 bill at The Mothlight. Proceeds from the benefit show will help relieve the lunch debt at Isaac Dickson Elementary School. Photo by Ariana Lance

WHAT: A hip-hop benefit show for Isaac Dickson Elementary School lunch debt relief

WHEN: Friday, Jan. 5, 9 p.m.

WHERE: The Mothlight, 701 Haywood Road

WHY: Chris Shreve and his fellow members of Asheville-based hip-hop collective Free the Optimus have performed before numerous young listeners to the point that, like the Wu-Tang Clan before them, they’ve adopted the phrase “FTO is for the children.”

On Friday, Jan. 5, that statement will prove extra true in an all-ages show at The Mothlight, proceeds from which will help relieve the lunch debt at Isaac Dickson Elementary School.

“For many students, the lunch they receive at school is sometimes the major source of nutrition their body gets for the day — and since most schools realize this, rather than denying a student who doesn’t have money that day their food, the school runs up a tab,” Shreve says. “This can be a rather significant hit for a school that many times doesn’t have the budget flexibility to just write off lunch accounts that are past due.”

Disparities that are affected by social policy and activism are topics Appalachian State University professor Shreve deals with in his public health classes on a regular basis. Combine the cause with FTO’s eagerness to do benefit shows and its fondness for The Mothlight’s sound quality and overall vibe, and the event makes sense for the group — and the bill’s other performers — on multiple levels.

With FTO’s own DJ Jet offering what Shreve calls “turntablism at its finest” throughout the night, local rappers SK the Novelist, PTP and Siyah will take to the stage and debut fresh tracks alongside fan favorites. FTO closes out the evening with Shreve and Mike L!VE on the microphones.

“FTO’s set will have tons of new material mixed into some of the classics we’ve become known for,” Shreve says. “We just released a bunch of new material [Daddy Love To Rap and The Lost Files] and we’re eager to perform it. We’re also constantly recording, so we always play unreleased tracks at our shows as well.”

Lyrics for Lunch takes place at 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 5, at The Mothlight. $10 suggested donation.


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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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