Born and raised in Minneapolis, Margret Wander, a.k.a. Dessa, first arrived on the spoken word and slam poetry scene after being encouraged by a friend to participate in a local competition, which she won. She later formed the group Medida, leading up to a series of influential meetings, including the hip hop collective Doomtree, which she later joined. In 2005, she released a first EP, the acclaimed False Hopes. Four years later, a book of her written work was published, and in 2010 she released the long-awaited album, the critically acclaimed A Badly Broken Code.