Donavan “XV” Johnson is the perfect ambassador for Wichita, Kansas. The Midwest city is not necessarily known for its Hip-Hop scene, but the 26-year-old rhymer hailing from “the air capital of the world” might just be the one to place his city on the musical map.
At age 15, Johnson began pursuing a music career, naming himself XV—in honor of his Roman numeral age at the time—the young rhymer didn’t start taking his aspirations seriously until the death of a high school friend. Since 2006 he has dropped well over a dozen mixtape, and landed himself a deal with Warner Bros. Records, in 2010.
Even with the backing of a major label, XV is still lacing fans with new content, dropping his Popular Culture mixtape earlier this month. Much like the cover art, filled with images of Willy Wonka, Kanye West, Snooki and Dwight from The Office, and more, XV’s music is reflective of his interests. Tracks such as “Aahh! Real Monsters” and “Stone Cold (3:16),” showcase his love for wrestling, and cartoons, but beneath the offerings lauded by 80’s babies, is quality content, which he hopes to bring to a larger audience by way of his forthcoming Awesome EP.
In our exclusive interview, XV broke down that elusive Popular Culture cover, his EP, and explained why he’s not into Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks.
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Photo: Diverse Hip Hop