How a Kingston record store powered the Jamaican dancehall culture of today

Randy’s started life as a secondhand record shop in an ice cream parlour at 36 East Street, Kingston, founded by Miss Pat and her late husband Vincent ‘Randy’ Chin. It then became a small label and producer of original recordings at its now iconic North Parade location and eventually went on to become the world’s largest independent reggae label – VP Records.

The label is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year with the sprawling Down In Jamaica: 40 Years Of VP Records compilation, having expanded far from its Kingston birthplace. After a brief stint in Brooklyn in 1977, when Vincent and Miss Pat moved to New York, VP Records settled (aptly) in Jamaica, Queens. It was from there that this family-run label and distributor played a major role in the globalisation of reggae and dancehall – a genre that is now such a core part of contemporary pop music.
The Chin family may have moved to the US, but they also never really left Jamaica. Miss Pat was raised in Kingston, by her Chinese mother and Indian father and even now, in her 80s, her love for the music of her home island is as strong as it was when she first discovered it.

Leave us a comment

Comments are closed.