The genius lies in its simplicity. When renowned hip-hop producer Just Blaze needed a sample for fledgling Wichita, Kansas rapper XV, he looked to classic R&B group The Dells' cover of Glen Campbell's 1968 country-pop hit "Wichita Lineman" for sonic inspiration. The elegiac strings that anchor the original track provide the backdrop for "Wichita," XV's most popular track to date and another notch in the budding rapper's career.
The 25-year-old rapper has released more than 15 mixtapes since 2006, including the critically acclaimed 2009 mixtape "Everybody's Nobody." Showcasing the rapper's unabashed love of video games, comic books and science fiction -- early press photos showed XL playing with a "Star Wars" action figure -- "Nobody" brought the rapper's left field raps and tantalizing flow to a bigger audience, eventually earning the notice of influential New York radio station Hot 97. Don't think the rapper is serious about his geek culture? Check out "Mirror's Edge," his first record and the song that led to his record deal with Warner Bros., which took its title from the popular video game.
More recently, XV, who took his roman numeral-inspired name from the age he started rapping, released "Zero Heroes," a mixtape featuring production by J. Cole and appearances by Pusha T, Kendrick Lamar and Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump. Released earlier this year, "Heroes" has already made fans salivate for the release of his official debut album The Kid With The Green Backpack. The geeks have won. Live long and prosper.
+ Listen to XV.