Long Beach Music Icon Cletus Anderson, Founder of VIP Records, Dies at 82.

Cletus Anderson, the founder of the famous V.I.P. Records in Long Beach and a pivotal figure in West Coast rap, died at the age of 82 on Sunday, Jan. 28 according to his younger brother, Kelvin Anderson.

The store’s rooftop sign became an iconic symbol of gangsta rap in 1993 when Snoop Dogg featured it sign in the video “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” from his debut album “Doggystyle.” Though the original location is now a 7-Eleven store, and V.I.P. Records moved to a new location in a strip mall in Long Beach, the sign was designated as a historic landmark in 2017.


He was my oldest brother, but he was a real father figure for me and the rest of the family and so many others,” said Kelvin Anderson Sr., who bought the Long Beach store from his brother in 1979.

The family first made the announcement on V.I.P. Records’ official Instagram page, stating that he died surrounded by his family in his native Mississippi.

(( Long Beach, CA – January 29, 2024 – It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that VIP Records and the Anderson family announce the passing of Cletus Anderson, the visionary founder of the iconic music retail chain VIP Records. Mr. Anderson peacefully departed this world on January 28, 2024, surrounded by his loving family at home. Cletus Anderson was not only a pioneer in the West Coast music scene but also an influential figure in the global music industry. Born with a passion for music, Mr. Anderson’s journey began as a fervent music enthusiast that evolved into the establishment of VIP Records, a brand that has become synonymous with cultural excellence and innovation worldwide. As the mastermind behind VIP Records, Mr. Anderson played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of music retail distribution for decades. His keen understanding of music marketing strategies propelled the Anderson family into a position of dominance, leaving an indelible mark on the industry. Under his guidance, VIP Records became a beacon for music enthusiasts, celebrities, up and coming music artists and record labels, and a cultural hub that celebrated the diversity of musical expression. Mr. Anderson’s legacy extends beyond the walls of VIP Records. He was not only a successful entrepreneur but a beloved family man, a mentor, and a friend to many in the industry. His contributions to the world of music will continue to resonate, inspiring generations to come. The Anderson family expresses their heartfelt gratitude for the outpouring of love and support during this difficult time. They request privacy as they mourn the loss of their patriarch and plan to celebrate his remarkable life Details regarding memorial services and tributes will be shared with the public in the coming days. In remembrance of Cletus Anderson, VIP Records will continue to uphold the values and vision he instilled, ensuring that his legacy lives on through the enduring power of music. ))



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According to his younger brother, Anderson was diagnosed with aggressive gallbladder cancer less than two months ago.

“The V.I.P. brand is stamped all over the beginning of rap on the West Coast without a doubt,” Anderson Sr. said. “He changed the game of how a record store should be run and operated and he helped countless people get into the records business.”

VIP Records expanded to 12 stores in its heyday, helping launch the careers of some of rap’s biggest names.

“I saw him in the early days work with Dr. Dre,” said Kelvin Anderson. “He recorded the first ever Ice-T record.”

Kelvin is now the owner. Kelvin’s daughter and Cletus’ niece Tenisha runs operations.

“Friends at school would think that I was telling lies when I’m like, ‘We hung out with the Jacksons this weekend,’ when the fact is we hung out with the Jacksons on the weekend,'” Tenisha Anderson said.

The family is planning a private memorial in his home state, but Anderson Sr. said there will likely be a public memorial in Long Beach sometime in the future.