In mid-September, store owner Kelvin Anderson announced that the World Famous VIP Records in Long Beach announced the end of an era. He said that the store, which was made famous by Snoop Dogg and was considered a landmark of the famed West Coast rap sound in the '90s, will fold by the end of October if an alternative business plan can't be developed. Since his Sept. 14 announcement, Anderson has launched a petition to get VIP recognized as a historic landmark (sign it here), but he's also said that the store may just go a different (non-musical) direction after the outpouring of support for the brick-and-mortar location.
In a story by the Press Telegram, Anderson cites the store's debt as the cause of the news. His physical record store was not being able to compete with the Internet, he says: “I knew this day was coming…It's been real tough for the last few years, maintaining, but we are way too far behind financially now to come back selling CDs.”
For followers of Southern California hip-hop, the news is heartbreaking–especially after Nate Dogg's death in March this year. VIP was a hub for many artists throughout its history; Snoop Dogg, Warren G and Nate Dogg, known as 213, got their start at VIP, and recorded their first album there.
After the jump, the top five reasons we're going to miss the World Famous VIP Records.
1. It was one of the breeding grounds for the West Coast sound.
The store on the
corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. made artists out of Long Beach kids. “Back in the day I put together a makeshift studio here and I
invested in some deejay equipment,” Anderson said in the Press-Telegram Story. “I set this equipment
up and a lot of times I wouldn't even know who was back there. I
believe it was a safe haven for a lot of these kids because at that time
you didn't have anywhere to hang out except VIP or King Park.”
2. VIP made this video happen.
3. It's a community landmark that makes you proud to live in Long Beach.
As Michael Baker, VIP's neighbor, says the record store “is like the grandfather here.” The place means a lot to the community around it. He also said, “I wish that all the people Kelvin helped throughout the years, like
Snoop Dogg and all the entertainment people, would try to do something
for him, because he has done a lot of things for a lot of music people.”
4. There's that iconic signage
The sign, made famous in various videos from the 1990s, may be sold on eBay, says Anderson. He says he can't bear to leave it behind: “Once I go the sign has to go.”
5. Being inside the World Famous VIP Records…
Makes you think you, too, will run into Snoop Dogg someday.