This series, a partnership with the Lawrence Public Library, provides audiences with an opportunity to hear KU researchers talk informally about books or articles they have recently published, taking us behind the curtain to explain why they embarked on these projects, what they found, and why their projects matter.

DVS Mindz: The Twenty-Year Saga of the Greatest Rap Group to Almost Make It Outta Kansas

99.9% of aspiring rappers never make it in the music industry. So why do we only hear the stories of the ones who do? DVS Mindz might be the greatest rap group you’ve never heard of. Formed in Topeka, Kansas, in the mid-1990s, they developed a reputation for ferocious rhyming and frenetic live performances. In their heyday, DVS Mindz released a critically acclaimed CD, received nominations for prestigious awards, and opened for legends such as Wu-Tang Clan, Run-DMC, and De La Soul as well as KC icon Tech N9ne. But the group struggled with creative differences, substance abuse, ego battles, and money issues, splitting up in 2003.

Geoff Harkness, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Sociology from KU, takes readers on a unique two-decade journey alongside the members of DVS Mindz, chronicling their childhoods, their brush with success, and what became of them in the years that followed. Based on more than one hundred hours of video and audio recordings from 1999 to 2022, this fly-on-the-wall account offers a backstage pass into recording studios and radio stations, video shoots and house parties, nightclubs and concert halls of the Kansas City-Lawrence-Topeka music scene circa 2000.


  • Kelsyn Rooks

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