In 1958, the success of the Chin’s jukebox record venture led to the opening of a landmark retail store at 23 Parade, Randy’s Records in downtown Kingston. Within a few years, the Chins opened Studio 17, a production facility frequented by legendary artists Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Gregory Isaacs and others. In the mid-70s, the Chins moved to America and brought their business along with them to service the growing Caribbean market in the U.S
In 1979, Jamaica Queens, NY became the home of Vincent and Pat Chin’s U.S. retail store, VP Records. From the start, the couple quickly became major producers and wholesale distributors of reggae as they established supply lines to record stores all across North America. During these years they earned the right to their slogan “Miles Ahead in Reggae Music,” as they became the world’s leading distributor of music from Jamaica and other islands of the Caribbean. <br />
In 1993, the Chins made the next obvious move and established an impressive record label. From Shabba Ranks and Super Cat to Beres Hammond, Luciano and Sizzla, VP Records became home to some of the top acts in reggae music. In 2002, VP further strengthened its efforts by joining with Atlantic Records in a long-term strategic pact to provide VP with the vast resources of major label promotion and worldwide distribution of Atlantic. Not since Def Jam’s historic joint venture with Sony has there been such an important alliance between an independent label and a major distributor “Reggae has been mistaken for an underground phenomenon for much too long,” said Atlantic president Craig Kallman upon signing the multimillion dollar deal with VP. “Reggae, and specifically dancehall, have been the most prolific sources of musical advances in R&B, hip-hop, club music, and even pop in the last twenty years. Dancehall is the most vitally creative force in global popular music today, and VP is uniquely positioned to bring dancehall to the world.”
Releasing an average of 60 reggae and soca albums per year, VP has become known for carrying the hottest artists and the most current compilations. VP’s Reggae Gold series has been the best-selling reggae anthology in Reggae year in and year out. The 2002 release of Reggae Gold included Sean Paul’s breakthrough hit “Gimme the Light” as well as “Give It To Her” by Tanto Metro & Devonte, another major crossover record, which spent 20 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Reggae Gold 2003 includes the LL Cool J remix of Wayne Wonder’s massive “No Letting Go” and Busta Rhymes’ “Make It Clap” remix featuring Sean Paul, who led the dancehall takeover in 2003.
Other VP compilations Strictly the Best, Dancehall 101 and the Reggae Anthology series have also proven to be popular brands selling consistently year after year. While Strictly the Best focuses on the latest singles from singers and deejays on the hardcore dancehall circuit, Dancehall 101 provides a crash-course for those who are just discovering the dancehall genre, delivering “must haves” from every era of the dancehall explosion. The Reggae Anthology series explores major artists and producers in depth, with expert insightful notes and hard-to-find tunes that tell the full story of legendary figures in reggae dancehall.
VP’s current dancehall success started 5 years ago with the inroads made by Beenie Man from his hit albums “Many Moods of Moses” and “The Doctor”. Beenie’s “Who Am I” single sold over 250,000 units, pushing his career into the international arena. Over the years, VP maintained visibility at radio with hits like Tanto Metro & Devonte’s “Everyone Falls in Love” and “Give It To Her,” Wayne Wonder’s “No Letting Go,” and T.O.K.’s “Chi Chi Man.” VP’s catalog also contains Grammy nominees Dennis Brown “Let Me Be the One,” Gregory Isaacs’ “Private & Confidential,” Beres Hammond “Music is Life,” Luciano’s “A New Day,” Freddie McGregor’s “Anything For You,” Capleton’s “Still Blazing” and Bounty Killer’s “Ghetto Dictionary-The Mystery,” among others. Morgan Heritage teamed up with rock superstars Good Charlotte for a hardcore remix of “Jump Around” while Buju Banton’s released the brilliant Friends For Life, his first album with VP. Sizzla’s critically acclaimed “Da Real Ting” marked another major highlight for reggae music, as the powerful singer songwriter released an album that has stayed at the top of the Jamaican charts and become an instant classic. New talents like TOK, Mr. Easy., Sasha, and Tanya Stephens are ready to take the reggae revolution to the next level.
The artist that tells the real story of reggae’s success is 2003’s dancehall celebrity Sean Paul. VP Records was instrumental in launching his career in 2000 with the release of Sean Paul’s debut album “Stage One,” which featured his first radio hits “Deport Dem” and “Hot Gal Today.” With his latest album and return in 2002, Sean Paul stunned the industry with his “Dutty Rock” album featuring current hits like “Gimme the Light,” “Get Busy” and “Like Glue.” The album has sold nearly 2 million copies in the U.S. and another two million copies internationally. It has charted in the top-20 in seven territories. In the United States, the record has sold over 2 million units since its November 12, 2002, release, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The set reached No. 9 on The Billboard 200 and spawned the No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 and Hot 100 Airplay single “Get Busy.” “Get Busy” was unleashed to the global market, where it has reached the top 10 in 12 territories, including Denmark, Germany, Holland, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K., Singapore, Lebanon and Thailand. Sean Paul’s biggest territories outside the U.S. are the U.K. and Japan, where the album has sold 200,000 and 120,000 units, respectively. “Baby Boy” Sean’s duet with Beyonce Knowles, stayed at number-one on the pop charts for several weeks. The song was added to copies of Sean Paul’s album, ensuring strong record sales through the holidays. In December 2003, to cap off an incredible year Sean became the first reggae artist to appear on the cover of VIBE magazine.
While 2003 has been an exciting year beyond wildest imaginations, VP Records has no plans to slow down the momentum. Dancehall will continue to prosper with upcoming albums by the wildly popular Elephant Man “Pon de River, Pon de Bank”, up and coming female star Sasha “Dat Sexy Body”. Dynamic duo Tanto Metro & Devonte, and dancehall’s four man wrecking crew T.O.K (whose single “Gal You Lead” on Massive B’s Wanted riddim) has already begun heating up urban radio, with albums scheduled for release in 2004. Beyond commercial radio, the streets will not be ignored with the growing street buzz for Sizzla’s “Da Real Thing” album, Wayne Marshall’s “Marshall Law” debut, and the many hot tracks released on VP’s “Riddim Driven” series, which delivers all the latest hot juggling tunes direct from dancehall’s freshest top producers.
For the past two years, VP have been awarded Billboard’s “Best Independent Record Label” and for the past three years awarded “Best Reggae Imprint Label.” The reggae indie was most recently nominated for Best Independent Record Label for the 2003 Billboard Hip-Hop & R&B Awards. The label’s accomplishments have been highlighted in VIBE magazine as well as the NY Times, LA Times, Billboard, Time magazine and many other publications.
By staying true to their roots, VP Records has become a crucial link between reggae music and culture and an ever-growing market of reggae enthusiasts around the world. After 25 years in the game, the Chin family looks forward to the next quarter century with confidence, knowing that they have built a business that is poised to take Caribbean culture to the highest heights.
Edited by VPRecords on 11 Mar 2009, 14:57
Sources (view history)
VP Records Website, Label Staff
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