The History of VIP Records
VIP Records opened in Long Beach, CA, in 1972 by Cletus Anderson. In 1978, his brother Kelvin, originally from Brandon, Mississippi, bought the business after working for seven years as the general manager. VIP Records took pride in having a neat and well-stocked music store of Gospel, Blues, Jazz, Reggae, Old School, Hip Hop, and R&B. They also had a very successful special order program for items that weren’t stocked. In 1992, Kelvin developed an artist development program for youths in Long Beach. After investing and opening a recording studio at V.I.P. Records, he created opportunities for local talented producers, rappers, and DJs. Kelvin soon focused his attention on the most talented young rapper, known as Snoop Doggy Dogg from the group “213″ with members Warren G and Nate Dogg. With Kelvin’s help, the trio recorded an early demo that led all three members to achieving solo recording deals with major record companies. In 1993, Snoop Dogg brought global recognition to VIP Records when his first music video for “What’s My Name” was filmed on the rooftop of the building. VIP Records has since been a household name in the music business and throughout the world. People traveled from around the world come to visit the store that acted as a launching pad for hip hop in Long Beach.
Over the years, Kelvin has received numerous honors and awards including Urban Network Retailer of the Year, Impact Retailer of the Year, Living Legends Award for Outstanding Excellence and Leadership in the Music Business, NAACP Black Businessman of the Year Award, and also several certificates and acknowledgements from city, state and local government officials for his community involvement. In 2006, Kelvin formed a non-profit organization called “The Kelvin Anderson Foundation”, where he worked with at-risk, underprivileged, and homeless youths who desire not only to get into the music and entertainment industry, but also to empower them with knowledge and resources to achieve their goals.
After almost 33 years in business, VIP Records must close its doors due to the era of physical music retail sales ending. Plans are in the works to keep the property active as a digital hub. Anderson’s one regret is that he should have spent more time with his family over the last 30 years. Anderson stated “A lot of times a bad thing turns out to be a good thing. I’m just waited to see the good in all this and I think it”s coming.”