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Scars of the Soul Are Why Kids Wear Bandages When They Don't Have Bruises Paperback – October 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Akashic Books (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888451718
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888451719
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.1 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,895,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

SCARS captures the political ambitions of Russell Simmons, the Black Spades gang foundation of Afrika Bambaataa and the Universal Zulu Nation, the spiritual sensibility of KRS-One and the Temple of Hip-Hop, and a keynoted debate on the materialistic, violent direction of hiphop culture. Interpreting the mood and inner-city atmosphere that caused the counterculture of hip-hop, Bronx native Miles Marshall Lewis details the circumstances of his father's heroin addiction, his mother's Southern spirituality, his grandfather's career as a Harlem numbers runner, and his own journey from a tenement-building upbringing to worldwide travels -- with hip-hop trailing his steps.

An incisive look at contemporary urban American life, Scars exposes the motivations and aspirations of a culture whose spiritual center was the Bronx.

From the Inside Flap

"Lewis has composed an observant and urbane B-boy's rites of passage, one which deftly transports us from the Boogie Down -- better known as the Bronx -- to the Champs Élysées. Herein find a hip-hop bildungsroman told in prose full of buoyancy and bounce, generously stocked with revelations about black transatlantic culture and romance that are as much a generation's as the writer's own."
Greg Tate, author of Flyboy in the Buttermilk

More About the Author

Miles Marshall Lewis is a recognized pop culture critic, essayist, literary editor, fiction writer, and music journalist, with a B.A. degree in sociology from Morehouse College. He is the author of the essay collection Scars of the Soul Are Why Kids Wear Bandages When They Don't Have Bruises, concerning coming of age in the Bronx under the aegis of hip-hop culture at its genesis. He is also the series editor and founder of Bronx Biannual, an urbane urban literary journal of fiction and essays, and author of There's a Riot Goin' On, a book on the making of the seminal 1971 Sly and the Family Stone album of the same name.

During the past twelve years, he has written for The Nation, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, The Believer, Spin, L.A. Weekly, Essence, and many other publications. He served as the music editor of Vibe, deputy editor of XXL, literary editor of Russell Simmons's Oneworld, deputy editor of BET.com, and a contributing writer for The Source during the 1990s. His interview with the late Pulitzer-winning playwright August Wilson is anthologized in The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers alongside Joan Didion, Zadie Smith and Dave Eggers, and his fiction has been published in the upcoming Bronx Noir, Wanderlust, Brown Sugar 3: When Opposites Attract, Oneworld, Rap Pages, and Uptown.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keisha D. Rollins on December 24, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was personally an informative escape into the past. Growing up with the author brought back many delightful memories. An insightful look at the parallels of life and the world of Hip Hop.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sterling Hudson on October 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
Scars is great on several different levels. First, it's one of the first hip-hop memoirs (certain not to be the last). It reminded me of last year's Random Family but told from the perspective of Miles Marshall Lewis, a Bronx-born "bohemian B-boy" (his words) who also happens to have a Sociology degree. Any readers interested in books that chart what the young black man in America goes through will dig this, the same as Black Boy, Makes Me Wanna Holler, Finding Fish, Manchild in the Promised Land, etc. Hip-hop was bound to produce its own and here it is. Straight outta da Bronx, Miles Marshall Lewis sprung out of the same place and time as hip-hop did and he lays out the correlations well.

Then, it reminds me of the plot to "Brown Sugar" as well: a XXL magazine editor (MML was once one, like Sanaa Lathan's character) gets fed up with hip-hop (aren't we all?) and writes a book about it. Scars is that book. As music journalism, Lewis digs a little deeper than the magazines he's known for writing for by taking KRS-One's popular "I am hip-hop" perspective and injecting personal tidbits of Bronx flashbacks.

Finally, his few insights on spirituality (the "Soul" in the title is no accident) and independent thinking are also noteworthy, above and beyond hip-hop. Scars was a good one. I expected maybe yet another "hip-hop rules! take us seriously!" book, and was pleasantly surprised.
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By Sherri Leibowitz on October 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
Scars of the Soul Are Why Kids Wear Bandages When They Don't Have Bruises is divided in two: Memory Lanes and Gun Hill Roads (Part I), and The Def of Hip-Hop (Part II). In Part I, author Miles Marshall Lewis takes a hip-hop Slouching Towards Bethlehem approach, explaining his own life in terms of hip-hop culture. Before breaking down his dad's addiction to cocaine and heroin in "The Suckerpunch of My Childhood Files," Lewis alludes to the fact that the fathers of Nas and Jay-Z both struggled with coke and heroin, and that a greater understanding of MCs and men of the hip-hop generation in general can be reached when we understand the fathers' influence (a brilliant observation).

Like Woody Allen in Zelig, Lewis seems to be present at many key moments of the golden age of hip-hop: waving his hands in the air at the Krush Groove X-Mas Party concert; dancing in a Doug E. Fresh video; smoking herb with Erykah Badu in Fort Greene, Brooklyn; signing the Hip-Hop Declaration of Peace at the United Nations alongside hip-hop's pioneers. These details were fascinating to me, particularly because 1) my first hip-hop album was Doggystyle by Snoop Dogg, 2) I'm white, and 3) I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, nowhere near the birthplace of hip-hop. Scars is highbrow, researched, and really quite witty.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Raja Devlin on October 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
In movie-pitch terms, this 1st book by Miles Marshall Lewis is a cross betweeen Antwoine Fisher's Finding Fish and Charlie Ahearn's Yes Yes Y'all, with a little Best American Essays flavor. Lewis's details about his dad's bout with heroin, his birds-eye view of hip-hop bubbling outside the South Bronx neighborhoods he grew up in, and the book's "hip-hop is dead" thesis make for an engaging and often hilarious reading experience. If that little kid from The Boondocks cartoon grows up to become a music journalist, he'll be Miles Marshall Lewis. Strongly recommended for those who feel like hip-hop has gone down the toilet and wonder what happened, as well as people who dig memoirs like Richard Wright's Black Boy.
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