DJ Disco Wiz "It's Just Begun"

. Jun 9, 2009

Everyone needs to check this book out. Real talk.

Background via Powerhouse Books:

Half-Cuban, half-Puerto Rican, Luis “DJ Disco Wiz” Cedeño is 100 percent Boogie Down Bronx. Born in the 60s, Wiz struggled in a turbulent and violent relationship with his alcoholic father while trying to protect his mother who was suffering from breast cancer. Raised in the 70s, Wiz learned the code of the streets while hustling with his crew, the East Side Boys. In 1975, Wiz discovered salvation when he hooked up with the legendary Grandmaster Caz to form the Mighty Force Crew, waging some of the biggest DJ battles in the Bronx during Hip Hop’s earliest years.

When Hip Hop first hit, the DJ was king. Rockin’ the party on two turntables for the b-boys and fly girls on the dance floor, DJs like Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, and Grandmaster Flash pioneered an art form that has come to define our times. The first Latino DJ in the game, Wiz, along with Caz, went on to make a "mixed plate" in 1977 which combined sound bites, special effects, and paused beats. An innovator, originator, and a battle-style DJ with no fear, Wiz swept through the Bronx like a tornado.

But the streets wouldn’t leave him in peace. After being convicted on an attempted murder charge, sentenced to nine years in prison, and forced to leave his baby daughter, Wiz was incarcerated upstate at the tender age of 17, where he learned the true meaning of desperation. But as time went on and he overcame his struggles with violence, drugs and alcohol, and women, Wiz eventually liberated himself from the path of self-destruction through love, self-respect, and self-determination.

It’s Just Begun: The Epic Journey of DJ Disco Wiz, Hip Hop’s First Latino DJ is a gritty and gripping tale of one man’s struggles to not only survive, but to triumph over adversity and abuse that will make your blood run cold. By conquering unimaginable obstacles, Wiz offers inspiration to anyone who has ever wondered, “Why me?”
Luis “DJ Disco Wiz” Cedeño, the first Latino Hip Hop DJ, is credited for being the first DJ to make a "mixed plate" in 1977 along with Grandmaster Caz. In the years since, Wiz has been an influential force in educating the world about the early years of hip-hop. Wiz was a major contributor in the opening of the Experience Music Project in Seattle in 2000, and was instrumental in the making of Jim Fricke and Charlie Ahearn's Yes Yes Y'all (Da Capo Press, 2002). He was also featured in the Emmy-nominated VH1 Rock Doc NY77: The Coolest Year in Hell, and is the creator and founder of the Hip-Hop Meets Spoken Wordz series.

My Review:

"It's Just Begun" is more than just a story about hip hop; it's an ethnography describing the volatile social climate of the inner city during the 70's, 80's, & 90's. It follows Luis Cedeño's (DJ Disco Wiz) epic journey and transformation from a boy to a man. In that sense, it is a coming-of-age story highlighting all of the joys and pains that he experienced along the way.

"It's Just Begun" gives the reader a glimpse into life in the Bronx during the tumultuous era of "Reaganomics" and the "Crack Epidemic". Through Cedeno's accounts, the novel offers a bit of social commentary bringing to light themes such as the "prison industrial complex", divestment from the inner cities, and a lack of government response. What is most compelling about this novel is that, despite all of the social ills produced and reinforced by the environment, a powerful and positive movement was still created - hip hop. This personal account from one of hip hop's originators provides an interesting perspective into the early days of the hip hop movement. DJ Disco Wiz was there from the very beginning, rocking the parks with the likes of Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, and his long time friend and partner Grandmaster Caz. This novel is written with so much conviction that it is almost impossible not to get hooked. It is truly a survivor's tale that takes you for a ride on an emotional rollercoaster. When I first picked up this book I found it almost impossible to put down, and I caught myself reading it whenever I had free time. "It's Just Begun" is well written and the personal photos that are included allow the reader to visualize all the events as they really were. This is a GREAT book, and I would recommend it to everyone.

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DJ Disco Wiz "This Land Before The Rhyme" [Poem]

"Never have so few done so much for so little"