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Scars of the Soul Are Why Kids Wear Bandages When They Don’t Have Bruises


An authentic and riveting hip-hop memoir in the Joan Didion tradition from Bronx native Lewis.

$14.95 $11.21

What people are saying…

“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


Scars of the Soul Are Why Kids Wear Bandages When They Don’t Have Bruises is a confessional, stylistic account (in the Joan Didion tradition) of coming of age in the Bronx alongside the birth and evolution of hip-hop culture. This essay collection presents a journalistic mosaic of seminal figures in hip-hop, documentary essays exploring the social decay of hip-hop, and a substantial element of memoir, as well as observations on the generational issues of urban America.

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 hip-hop 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.

Check out Bronx Biannual: The Literary Journal of Urbane Urban Literature and Bronx Biannual Issue No. 2, edited by Miles Marshall Lewis, as well as its official website.


Book Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Published: 10/1/04
  • IBSN: 9781888451719


MILES MARSHALL LEWIS was born in the Bronx in 1970 and currently splits his time between New York City and Paris, France. He is the author of Scars of the Soul Are Why Kids Wear Bandages When They Don’t Have Bruises and There’s a Riot Goin’ On, the editor of Bronx Biannual and Bronx Biannual 2, and is a former editor of Vibe and XXL. His work has been published in The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers, LA Weekly, the Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Essence, and other publications.

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