Akil Dasan

Akil Dasan's hip-hop cuts and his energetic presence have managed to impress more than just those in his inner circle.

Whenever Philadelphia native Akil Dasan finishes a track, he usually gives it away. Some are given to his mom, and others are gifts to his neighborhood pals. "I only want to hold onto tracks that everyone can enjoy," the 25-year-old Dasan says. Still, his hip-hop cuts and his energetic presence have managed to impress more than just those in his inner circle. Dasan made it to the final five of Missy Elliott's UPN show, "The Road to Stardom," and was a guest on Us3's newest, "Schizophonic." Additionally, the Columbia University creative writing grad has also shared stages with such groups as Blackalicious and the Roots. Dasan raps, sings, beatboxes and plays every instrument on his jazzy, self-released, self-titled 2002 disc. After touring with Us3 this summer, the artist hopes to finish his sophomore set before the end of the year.