For Shirin Senegal, current president of VIP Records, words are not minced when it came to the moment when the iconic VIP Records sign—one, mind you, that is inextricably attached to West Coast hip hop—was taken down.
“When the historic sign was taken down in January of 2018 after 40 years, it was like a dagger plunged into the hearts of G-funk fans around the world,” Senegal said. “Declared a historic landmark only a year before it was dismantled and put in storage, the sign is now found only on T-shirts, posters, and in photos.”
Well, Adidas wasn’t having much of that. The company gave a call to VIP with the hopes of bringing the sign to ComplexCon to not only celebrate the 25th anniversary of Snoop Dogg’s inaugural album, “Doggystyle,” but also to hand out pairs of Adidas PODs hand-painted by Los Angeles-based visual artist Gregory Siff.
“To be honest, I was surprised,” said VIP owner Kelvin Anderson, Sr. “It came out of the blue.”
Despite the surprise, the rich cultural history of VIP is one that is a tale of its own: Kelvin Anderson, Sr., at a record shop that he built from the ground up at the southeast corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, birthed the G-Funk era of hip hop by providing a safe, accessible space for Long Beach teenagers to record and create.
According to Senegal, the initial request from Adidas was to haul the original sign out of storage; that, logistically, was impossible, leading Adidas to ask Long Beach-based TNT Electric Signs to create a 5-by-8 foot replica of the famous sign for placement at their booth at ComplexCon.
And on top all this fanfare, Snoop himself will be stopping by the booth, recreating one of hip hop’s most memorable images—Snoop’s music video for “Who Am I? (What’s My Name?)” features him atop the original VIP store and has since become one of the most well-known images in the entirety of 1990s music—for fans and history nerds alike.
Once ComplexCon is completed, the replica will be moved to the new VIP Create Space “incubator” space created by Senegal and Kelvin at 2242 Long Beach Blvd., where the public can view it.
“We appreciate Adidas helping us create this amazing moment that celebrates and preserves the history of G-Funk, and all the years of dedication Kelvin Anderson, Sr. has made,” Senegal said. “We look forward to doing many great things with them to nurture creative talent and expand our brand.”
Want to know when Snoop going to make an appearance at the booth? Follow @adidasla and @viplongbeach on Instagram and Twitter to find out the time Snoop will take photos with winners and fans and for prizes throughout the weekend.
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