VP celebrates 40 years

VP celebrates 40 years
The VP Records store on Jamaica Avenue in Queens, circa 1980s.
VP Records

The world famous VP records celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The Queens-based independent reggae music label is going to commemorate the milestone with a year of musical releases, and celebrations spanning from North America, the Caribbean, and the United Kingdom.

Founded in 1979 as a record store by Jamaican music producer and record holder Vincent Chin and his wife Patricia, the Chins’ store was and continues to be the go-to locale for classic reggae vinyls and records in New York City. In the early 90s, they launched a label under the same name, representing dozens of internationally famous artists and singers, notably Sean Paul, Beenie Man, and Shaggy.

Chin died in 2003, and today the company remains a family business and is managed by his two sons, Randy and Christopher Chin — who are company president and chief executive officer, respectively. And his wife regularly makes appearances.

In honor of VP’s legacy and its four decades of being a highly influential entity in promoting Caribbean music, the company plans on utilizing its anniversary, to shed light on what they have always done — celebrate music, said Randy Chin.

“VP is integral to the history of reggae and dancehall music. We take this responsibility seriously and we are using our 40th anniversary to celebrate the music’s rich heritage as we steward the genre into the future,” he said.

From now until the end of the year, VP will be releasing compilation albums, art installations, interactive experiences, concerts, and a conclusive box set, set to be released later this year. These events will take place in Jamaica, Florida, Queens, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The first event commences on Jan. 30 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, with the release of volumes 58 and 59, of their popular compilation albums, Strictly the Best.

The same day is the launch of “A Reggae Music Journey,” a visual exhibit that will be on display at the Sangster International Airport until June, which will also be moved to Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, to be on display from July to December.

In March is the launch of “Reggae Trail,” — a digital avenue where users will be able to discover areas in New York City that played an important role in reggae’s popularity, and by April, the flagship store kicks off their annual record store day, which features some well-known sound systems.

Other events to come will be with several local concerts such as the Jerk Festival, and the release of the company’s 40th anniversary box set, highlighting the early stages of VP Records when it began in Jamaica.

Chin said the company plans to further their mission of musical goals, and continue to push one of the Jamaica’s biggest cultural exports.

“A major focus for the anniversary is highlighting the company’s commitment to the development, promotion, and globalization of Jamaican music,” he said.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com. Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.

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