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VIP Status Lost?

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Long Beach’s “World Famous” VIP record store is a West Coast rap landmark — the back room is where Snoop Dogg, Warren G and Nate Dogg were smoking and honing their styles, trying to top each other as part of the group 213, years before they all went solo (and big-time).

It’s the first place you could have heard Snoop’s demo — and that’s Snoop on top of VIP in the breakout “Who am I? (What's my name?)” video. A dozen years later VIP is still independent, a place where the employees know their shit, and is still at the heart of the scene.

And it may be gone soon.

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New owners for the center strip-mall on PCH, MR Investments of Glendale, are proposing a 33% rent increase for its largest tenant. VIP owner Kelvin Anderson (he’s had the place since ’78) said that increase, along with competition he already faces from downloads and the ubiquitous “big box” stores, would force the landmark to move. Or close.

Tedious negotiations are ahead between the two sides, but you’ve got to hope MR has some understanding of what it’s got. Do we really need to lose another landmark record store?