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About Luis Antonio Melendez, aka WAR: I was born on the island of Vieques, PR on November 8, 1965 and was brought over to Philadelphia, PA when I was four. My family moved to Camden, NJ when I was 8, and here I would spend most of my life. Growing up was sad; my mother had unfortunately got shacked up with a Heroin addict who didn’t allow our family the opportunity to grow and to blossom. And because of his habit, my brother and I were denied much of the necessities’ of a proper domestic and social existence. However, despite my rough upbringing, I managed to avoid direct confrontation with the law. Yes, I broke many a laws during my teens, but I was only arrested one time, at age 14, for breaking into a sneaker store. My only other criminal acts were when I was in my late teens, then, I committed minor drug offenses such as using and selling hard drugs, (that I was never arrested for by the way.) Regardless of all that, I turned out Ok. At 17 I began doing graffiti and was actually the very first person in Camden, NJ to do so. I also became the most popular graffiti artist in the city at the time. Soon after, I began doing independent films on a super 8mm film camera. Soon after that, I got married and had two children. Throughout my life I would rewrite my book several times over until I finally settled on this version. This book is a powerful look into the lives of a group of teens that grew up during the HIP HOP Explosion.
Wiz is a 17 year-old Puerto Rican kid growing up on the mean streets of North Philadelphia in the summer of 1984. He and his group of friends (the HIP HIP crew) are at the forefront of the Hip Hop movement and spend their time going to Jams, Break dancing, doing Graffiti, selling drugs, smoking weed, drinking liquor, chasing girls, running from the law and speeding down the freeways playing an extremely dangerous game of Car tag… then Wiz meets Nancy, a girl who gives him a taste of what the outside world could be like, and he begins looking at life with a new set of eyes…. But when deception threatens that romantic encounter, and an obnoxious kid named Brasso gets his sneakers and his pride scuffed, Wiz and the boys from the “Hip! Hip! Crew,” find their summer of fun suddenly becoming a summer of survival. And any hopes that Wiz had of escaping his urban prison becomes nothing more than a fleeting dream. Welcome to the year 1984. This is a book that is loosely based on my life growing up in Camden, New Jersey during the early eighties. The book is a drama that tells the coming of age tale of a group of inner-city kids surviving in an environment that to many outsiders may seem brutal. But in reality the 80’s were to me, a peaceful era. A more unified time, a time when people cared and had more consideration for their neighbor. 1984 also had an awesome sound track that is used in the book to introduce chapters. Get yourself ready to time travel to the early 80’s. I began writing this book in the summer of 1980 at the ripe old age of 14. I finished it in 1981, so I thought. The book was cute at best. It didn’t have any direction and it wasn’t delivering any amount of prevalent information. What it had was characters that one could relate to, no matter the generational denomination. So years passed by as I rewrote the book several times never satisfied with the outcome. That is until I completed this version of the story with the help and support of my older brother – Alberto Melendez.