Vincent Chin

b. 3 October 1937, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies, d. 2 February 2003, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA. Chin’s initial involvement in the music industry was selling discarded jukebox records that he had…
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Artist Biography

b. 3 October 1937, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies, d. 2 February 2003, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA. Chin’s initial involvement in the music industry was selling discarded jukebox records that he had accumulated in the mid-50s. He was employed to maintain and replenish his employer’s machines that were located in bars around the island. By 1958, Chin with his wife Patricia opened Randy’s record shop in East Street, downtown Kingston. The store, named after an American recording outlet in Tennessee, proved so popular that by 1962 the entrepreneurs opened their own studio, known as Studio 17, above their new shop in North Parade. The facilities were utilized by artists such as Alton Ellis and Eddie Perkins although their initial success was the release of Lord Creator’s celebratory ‘Independent Jamaica’ (the first single issued on Chris Blackwell’s Island Records label). The husband and wife team also produced reggae shows at the celebrated Ward Theatre, which gave local artists a rare opportunity to perform outside of the dancehall. Chin was also responsible for the production of a number of ska songs through to 1968 with artists such as the Skatalites (‘Collie Bud’), Ken Boothe (‘Home, Home, Home’) and the Maytals (‘John And James’). The producer became known as Gauntlet when he began releasing records through his own label that took its name from the record shop. International success followed when his brother Victor distributed Vincent’s productions in the USA. Victor sold the records from his electrical store in Brooklyn alongside productions from another family member Keith. Maintaining the family connection after graduating from Kingston College, Vincent’s son Clive Chin began producing hits at Randy’s with artists such as, Alton Ellis (‘Too Late’) Carl Malcolm (‘Miss Wire Waist’, ‘Fattie Bum Bum’) Augustus Pablo (‘Java’), and Errol Dunkley (‘Created By The Father’).

While Randy’s had become a prominent landmark in Kingston, Vincent joined his brothers in New York in 1978. On his arrival in the USA he formed the VP label (Vincent and Patricia) that has since evolved into the biggest US-based reggae label. The label has produced classics from artists such as Beenie Man, Supercat, Shabba Ranks, Bounty Killer, Buju Banton and Rayvon. Bounty Killer and Beenie Man both released number 1 albums on the Billboard Reggae Chart, while the Reggae Gold and Strictly The Best series have consistently topped the chart. Chin handed over control of the label to his sons Christopher and Randy in the 90s, although at the time of his death in February 2003 his wife was still working on a part-time basis.