Greenspan performing at the Ottobar Feb. 22.
(Brian Krista, b)

This piece was featured in b's "10 People to Watch Under 30" weekend edition. Check out the rest of the class of 2011 here.

"Don't care about your top five/Either you like my songs or don't, for real," Greenspan raps on his aptly titled track "Cold." The Baltimore-born rapper, born Brian Dawkins, stays in his own lane. While other rappers put their hopes on mixtape remixes of already popular songs, Greenspan -- who cites AZ's Doe or Die as the album that made him want to rap -- prefers doing shows with a live band.

"The whole point is to give the people a show," he said. "It's great when they're familiar with your records but when there's a band, the possibilities are endless." Besides bringing his energetic show to SXSW this month, the up-and-coming MC is dropping a new mixtape, Dope Melodies and Heavy Bass, later this month and prepping an album, Stairway to Heaven, with beats by locals LiveBeats and "Cold" producers MizFitz Soundz.

If a rap career doesn't pan out, Greenspan's art-first drive will keep his options open. He's writing and directing two films -- a documentary on Baltimore's Left Bank Jazz Society and "Feed," a look at hotels and restaurants wasting food. He acts, too -- Greenspan may be familiar if you're an avid "Wire" fan (he bought condoms and blunts from Bubbles in Season 4). And he has a major hand in Station North's arts celebration, Check the Ingredients, on Saturday behind Load of Fun.

"I just have a passion to create," he said. Really? We couldn't tell.