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New American Songbook: XV Minutes of Fame


Donavan “XV” Johnson signed a major recording label contract with Warner Bros. Records in July 2010. The journey to become a signed artist required lots of hard work and persistence from the Wichita native who didn’t have a roadmap or blueprint to get there. As Wichita’s first solo rap artist to achieve this success, the weight was immediately placed on XV’s shoulders to put his city on the map.

Although growing thousands of fans across the world, touring with artists like Wiz Khalifa and working with super producer Just Blaze, XV’s own hometown became a source of mixed reviews. Some Wichitans grew from being excited about his success to wanting him to put their own music into the right hands. Others picked apart his “square sense of rap” which championed the comic-book loving kid with “the green backpack” a style he later dubbed “Squarian.”

His song “Awesome” was used in a 2011 Verizon Commercial and was also featured on the video game NBA 2K12. His most anticipated music project, “The Kid with the Green Backpack,” was slated for early 2013 but has still not been released to the public.

In recent years, XV has taken the stage to headline a few concerts in Wichita. The events have been well-attended. He has collaborated with a few hometown artists to make music. XV has also given fans (and critics) a mix tape here and there but has mostly been mum about what’s next for him.

Genuine XV fans hope that his 15 minutes of fame are not up—and would like to stop the clock before it runs out.