Today, July 9, is the birthday of Kansas born rapper XV.

Born Donavan Johnson in Wichita, Kan., XV is known as a witty, fast tongued MC who always infuses his rhymes with pop-cultural reference and weight. He came up with his name XV, the Roman numeral for fifteen, because he was fifteen years old when he started rapping. XV's strong suit has always been that he connects with listeners with goofy and fearless self-affirmations. Vizzy's collaborators include DJ Enuff, Killer Mike, Talib Kweli, Mac Miller, Childish Gambino and more and for the most part, he releases his music for free download.

Pumping out mixtape after mixtape, XV finally broke through the regional fame barrier in 2008 when he dropped Planet Squaria: The Square in the Circle which featured The Gorillaz and Lil Wayne. Vizzy followed that up with Everybody's Nobody in 2009 and signed a recording deal with Warner Bros. Records the following year.

In 2014, XV went H.A.M during March Madness season, releasing a series of mixtapes to coincide with the basketball matchups. Though he hasn't regularly released new music over the last few years, XV still has a passion for the game. In the first part of 2018, he addressed his musical absence in an open letter he posted to Instagram.

"You have all left me comments, sent me messages, wrote me e-mails, even approached me in public at awkward moments to ask if I'm ''still making music?''" began XV's heartfelt note to fans. "Sometimes it's hard for this young man from Kansas to believe people still want to hear this kid with a green backpack. Well, I'm over 30, I'm far from a kid now, but I always hope that it's because ya'll know that this is my true passion, my gift and the reason I'm excited to wake up every morning. While I've been in doubt, confusion, and darkness, from the falls I've taken these past few years, you all have inspired me and lifted me up the same way you say my music has done for you."

Here's to hoping XV can deliver us more heat—on his own terms—in the very near future.

Happy Birthday, XV!

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