THIS UP at LA Weekly earlier this week. The Long Beach record store that was the laboratory for various West Coast rap/gangsta rap acts.

Record stores have been shuttering all over the country, but the fall of V.I.P. is particularly dispiriting. After all, “World Famous” isn’t an affectation; V.I.P. is iconic in the annals of West Coast gangsta rap. It housed the studio where Snoop Dogg, Warren G and Nate Dogg — then a trio known as 213 — recorded the demo that led to their big breaks. The rooftop sign has been the backdrop for videos including Snoop’s “Who Am I (What’s My Name)” and Jermaine Dupri’s “Welcome to Atlanta” remix.

But before all of that, I knew it as a hangout; a place people went just to plug in and find out what was on the air, but in the wind:

Another pullquote from the Weekly post:

Fhe store also has played a key role in breaking urban artists, even those who never stepped through its doors. It once served as a tastemaker for the neighborhood and even for Los Angeles as a whole.

At one point, the V.I.P. name was attached to a dozen outposts in Southern California. The chain’s original location in South Central was founded by Anderson’s older brother Cletus in the late 1960s; it specialized in gospel, Motown and R&B.

Rest of the Weekly blogpost here….

So sorry to hear of yet another record store going and with it, yet another brick-and-mortar laboratory where serendipity intervenes and ideas intersect, shape-shift and then become something brand new.

image by johnwilliamsphd via flickr


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