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December 25, 2009

How The Beat was born, part 2 (as published in The Beat's 15th anniversary issue, Vol. 15 #4, 1996)

The first and foremost purpose of this publication has always been to provide information: Who are these musicians, where does that music come from, sound like? When was it made, what does it mean? How does it make you feel? The music we deal with is mostly obscure, non-commercial, even underground, but has immense heart and soul, and comes from the deepest expressions, feelings, hopes and dreams of an artist, a culture, a people, and can communicate this universally despite language, or temporal or geographical barriers.
It doesn't really seem like 15 years have passed--even when I look at those early Beats, it seems like only yesterday. I've often said in moments of cynicism: If I knew then--15 years ago--what I know now, this magazine would never have been. It certainly is not the career I had planned for myself. Having started, and too far gone to turn back, it sometimes has only been dogged persistence that kept me going. That and the feeling that this was not just about me, merely a job, a way to make a living, but something that almost immediately took on a life of its own, forcing itself into existence, and I could do little else but become its handmaiden.

So here's to our writers, the best in the business, who selflessly share their expertise and enthusiasm, the photographers, whose hard-won shots enliven our pages, our hard-working staff, who tolerate my tantrums and anxieties, and our readers, always supportive and hungry for more: You are the greatest. Give thanks and praises, everyone, for 15 years of The Beat--it belongs to all of you, and with your continued love and support, will continue for many more years.

Jah Guidance,
CC Smith
Minister of Information

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