After 32 years, a West Coast hip-hop landmark — VIP Records — is set to close at the end of next month. The Long Beach record store once included a studio where rapper Snoop Dogg cut his first demo. After he signed his first deal with a label, Snoop recorded part of his ‘Who Am I’ video on the store’s roof.
Hip-hop fans from around the world still visit the site of that career launch. VIP Records owner Kelvin Anderson says they don’t generate enough traffic to pay the bills.
"I will have customers here and that might be here with their younger children and whenever I tell them how much a CD is they say, ‘Aw mom, I can get you that free!’ and that’s what our competition is now, we’re trying to compete against free, but you can’t compete against free especially when everyone in society seems to be struggling," he said.
Anderson says he’d like to turn the store into an official Long Beach landmark. He also dreams of converting the space into a nonprofit that can offer local kids access to computers and recording equipment.
But he says that unless a miracle happens, the end of World Famous VIP Records will happen at the end of October.