Infectious beats and clever lyrics are the components of tracks constructed by rapper Phil Adé. But while he may be one of a handful of emcees attempting to put the DMV region the map, his material certainly proves that he’s in a league of his own.

“My music is free,” Adé told the AFRO in a recent interview. “I like to try a lot of different things. I rap and I sing– have one particular sound.”

Perhaps that’s the reason why he’s experienced so much success in such little time. After being signed to D.C. R&B crooner Raheem DeVaughn’s 368 Music Group in 2008, Adé has picked up a sizeable fan base, been featured in a bevy of music magazines and has worked with a string of notable artists.

His latest mixtape, The Letterman, featured appearances by rappers Wale, Tabi Bonney and Raekwon and was hosted by popular mixtape DJ and hip-hop producer Don Cannon.

But the 22 year old’s popularity surely didn’t occur overnight.

Born as an Army brat to a Nigerian father and a Grenadian mother, Adé was reared in Maryland’s in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. He developed a passion for rapping early on, but he didn’t seriously pursue it until after enrolling in college in Alabama.

A twist of fate landed him an opportunity to meet DeVaughn and Adé was signed to the singer’s District-based 368 label shortly thereafter. He then transferred to Montgomery College in Rockville, Md. so he could perform at shows throughout the D.C. region.

“I think I decided to just go into music because I felt like I had a good shot at it,” Adé said. “So I just wanted to ride it out to see where it took me.”

After ultimately dropping out of school, his parents, both sticklers for education, were not happy about his decision.

“ my father Nigerian and my mother being from the West Indies, you know they’re not trying to hear that you’re going to quit school and become a rapper,” he said. “It was a little rough, but they’re cool now. They still don’t like it…but they still love me and respect my decision.”

Now, Adé is being hailed by rap fans as a “breath of fresh air” for hip-hop, and many music connoisseurs have compared his work to rap’s celebrated “golden era.”

Adé is also one out of a recent string of DMV-area rappers who have garnered wide mainstream attention now more than ever before.

With rappers like Wale, Bonney and a few others all touting the District and its surrounding area on their radio hits, Adé believes it’s time to finally shed light on one of the nation’s best kept secrets.

“The whole DMV region is like an untapped market,” he said. “There’s so much to offer here and I think it’s because we like having our stuff to ourselves and keeping it at home. I think I’m just playing my role.”

For more information on Phil Ade, visit