World Famous VIP Records in Long Beach struggles to stay relevant: The record store, key to the birth of West Coast rap, retools amid technological changes in music.
Now owned by Kelvin Anderson, VIP in Long Beach midwifed the careers of some of America’s best-known hip-hop stars. Rapper Snoop Dogg filmed parts of three videos on the VIP roof, next to its landmark sign, which featured the cartoon image of a black man in a baseball cap walking toward an enormous vinyl record.
But that was years ago. Anderson’s siblings have long since closed their stores. Today, in the age of Internet downloads, Anderson remains in music — barely.
Photo: Kelvin Anderson, owner of World Famous VIP Records, sits in his new downsized store, just a few feet down the street from his former location on Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times