VP Records

Label history

VP Records is an independent record label, located in Queens, New York. It is best known for releasing music by Jamaican artists. The company started in 1979 and has gone on to become the world's biggest reggae and Caribbean music label and distributor.

The VP Records label was founded in 1979 by the late Vincent "Randy" Chin and his wife Patricia Chin, Chinese Jamaicans who owned the Randy's Records store in Kingston, Jamaica (as seen in the 1978 film Rockers), as well as the Studio 17 recording studios. In the mid-1970s, the Chins moved to New York City, setting up a record store in Brooklyn called VP Records in 1975, from which they sold and distributed records. In 1979, they relocated the store to Jamaica, Queens. In 1993, the record label was formed after the success of the retail store. The name of the label is a product of the first letters in the founders' names, hence the title "VP".

The label established itself as one of the first and largest independent record labels for reggae and dancehall, and with the popularity of the riddim sound of the early 2000s, the label achieved worldwide success for artists such as Sean Paul through the label's deals with Warner Music's Atlantic Records and Virgin Music Canada. The label is often also accredited with having increased the popularity of the now globally recognized Elephant Man, also known as the 'Energy God' or 'Ele', through a deal with Bad Boy Records. VP Records has acquired the slogan "Miles Ahead in Reggae Music" to signify that they could be considered to be the future of music that derives from the Caribbean. Besides reggae, VP is also known for dancehall and soca music. VP also releases a series of Riddim Driven albums, which feature various artists tracks using the same rhythm. The Biggest Reggae One-Drop Anthems is a series of CD reggae compilations that began in 2005 released by Greensleeves Records; Greensleeves was acquired by VP in 2008, and with Greensleeves' catalogue of over 12,000 songs, VP became the largest reggae label and publisher in the world. VP has also issued the compilations series Strictly the Best, which has now reached over 50 volumes.

VP Records has been awarded Billboard's "Best Independent Label" for two consecutive years (2002 and 2003), and has received the award for "Best Reggae Imprint Label" for three consecutive years. VP was also nominated for Best Independent Reggae Label at the 2003 Billboard Hip-Hop and R&B awards, and had been mentioned and featured in publications such as Vibe magazine, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Billboard, and Time magazine.

Vincent Chin died in 2003. The label is now run by the Chins' sons Randy and Christopher, while Patricia Chin continues to assist with the maintenance of her late husband's company as well. In 2007, VP Records began re-issuing classic albums from the 1970s and 1980s on the 17 North Parade label, the address of Randy's Studio, where it all began.

VP now has a 10,000 square feet warehouse in Jamaica, Queens. In addition to the main store in Queens, there is another store in Miami that is run by the Chins' daughter Angela and her husband. The company also has offices in Johannesburg, Kingston, Rio de Janeiro, London, Tokyo and Toronto.

In 2014 Vincent Chin's son Clive filed a lawsuit against his step-mother Patricia, claiming that VP records licensed tracks written or produced by him, without his permission, and seeking payment of US$3 million.

VP Associated Label Group (VPAL) is a subsidiary of VP Records that allows independent artists to access VP Records' distribution channel, allowing them broader visibility.

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