Slam poetry group tackles social, political issues


Last night, students gathered in Town Hall in the Leadership Studies building to listen to the Mayhem Poets as they rhymed their way through political and social issues in contemporary society.

Kyle Rapps, Scott Raven and Mason Granger are three ordinary men who all have one thing in common: poetry. It all started when they were in college at Rutgers University and Rapps met Raven one night. They became friends and began to hold an open mic night in a dorm room at the college. Eventually, Granger joined them and the trio made their debut as the Mayhem Poets.

“We just got obsessed with it,” Rapps said.

After winning the Microsoft Ultimate Challenge in 2006, a nationwide competition to find the best small business idea with a prize that included $100,000 among other business startup resources, the Mayhem Poets gained television exposure and officially began their careers as poets. The trio currently lives in New York and travels around the country performing their
poetry show. The Mayhem Poets have traveled to nearly every state in the U.S. in the last few years.

Last night, the trio entertained the crowd with raps and impressions of classical music (including a “cat” version complete with meows) about topics such as diversity and environmental issues. Rapps’ poetry tackled a variety of subjects, but one poem in particular addressed social media and its effect on teenage girls. He said “self-esteem [is] wrapped around hashtags,” referring to Twitter and “selfies.” He also told the crowd “privacy’s planted on the sideline.”

Granger shared his Dr. Seuss fetish with the crowd while explaining that Dr. Seuss’ wisdom was in teaching life lessons through children’s books. He called it “universal wisdom written by Dr. Seuss.”

Several students in the audience said they thought the Mayhem Poets were comical and entertaining. Many were impressed, including Tyson Carpenter, senior in geology.

“I thought they were amazing,” Carpenter said. “The definitely know their way around words.”

Anne Stollsteimer, sophomore in Spanish and animal science, agreed.

“I thought it was interesting, the way they put a twist on words,” Stollsteimer said. “I just think they’re crafty.”

Jasmine Davis, multicultural co-chairman for the Union Program
Council, said she is a huge fan of slam poets and thought the group brought a great form of entertainment to
K-State’s campus.

“I thought it turned out great,” Davis said. “[Students] opened their minds to slam poets.”

The Mayhem Poets, in turn, said they enjoy meeting students. Rapps said the group’s main goal is to connect.

“You just want to be able to connect with everyone,” Rapps said. “We like to make it interactive.”