Photo: Lil Nas X (Jerritt Clark/Getty Images), Kurt Cobain (Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images

Lil Nas X is a goddamned phenomenon, an artist who turned a Nine Inch Nails sample and a love for country into a chorus capable of making an auditorium’s worth of grade schoolers flip their shit. “Old Town Road” is a gift, yes, but a joyful byproduct of the rapper’s rise has been his open-mindedness to unlikely collaborations—Billy Ray Cyrus and, god willing, Guy Fieri—and his wide-eyed willingness to honor the legacy artists who’ve helped shape his own sensibilities.

Take his latest single, “Panini,” which features a chorus that’ll tickle the ears of any ‘90s child. Why? Because it sounds a helluva lot like Nirvana’s “In Bloom,” one of the many timeless singles from 1991's Nevermind. Per Lil Nas X, though, the interpolation was entirely accidental, and, upon discovering the resemblance, he was more than happy to give Kurt Cobain a writing credit on the track. He’s since become a fan of the grunge luminaries, whose breakout album dropped nearly eight years before the rapper was born.

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“A lot of songs will even come to me like I’m sleeping or something,” he said during a Beats 1 interview with Zane Lowe. “Like a melody and I’m like, wow, that’s fly. But the craziest things about ‘Panini,’ is it introduced me to Nirvana’s album Nevermind. It’s like I always seen the cover but I never actually listened to it. And people was like, ‘Wow, he sampled Nirvana.’ I was like, no. It’s like I didn’t realize I was using almost the exact same melody. I’ve been listening to it a lot lately, actually.”

Cobain and Courtney Love’s daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, granted Lil Nas X the rights to the song, and this morning he thanked her on Twitter.

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“Panini” serves as an appetizer for Lil Nas X’s anticipated debut EP, which drops tonight. Hear it below as you count down the hours until its release.

[via Rolling Stone]

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