Los Angeles based indie Delicious Vinyl, founded by Mike Ross and the late Matt Dike in 1987, built its reputation through platinum selling hip-hop acts including Tone Loc ("Wild Thing," "Funky Cold Medina") and Young MC ("Bust A Move") and the visionary production of the late J Dilla. However, the label's A&R Leslie Cooney also signed several Caribbean acts in the early '90s, including Jamaican-American dancehall/hip-hop duo Born Jamericans, Jamaican dancehall star Mr. Vegas and future Trinidadian soca superstar Machel Montano.
In 2018, Ross, Cooney and industry veteran Adrian Miller (former manager of Grammy-winning singer/rapper Anderson .Paak who now manages Grammy-nominated Panamanian-American hip-hop/reggaeton duo Los Rakas) joined forces to create a tropically focused imprint, Delicious Vinyl Island, whose releases will span music from the Caribbean, Central and South America and beyond. "I had released so much Caribbean music on Delicious Vinyl proper for over 20 years, I thought that music needed its own home, that's how Delicious Vinyl Island came about," explains Leslie Cooney, whose career began as a Delicious Vinyl intern in 1991. "Mike Ross was my boss for years, he provided whatever resources I needed to develop the Caribbean artists. Adrian was straight hip-hop but has always had an interest in reggae and he brings in a different demographic. Adrian and Mike are both executives with many platinum records to their credit and they've negotiated deals for several crossover acts. On a daily basis, the three of us knock heads, we all have to like a project to work with it and we are equally responsible in making the decisions, creative and otherwise."
Delicious Vinyl Island has adopted a model similar to that of its parent company, which Ross says was patterned on the label founded by his mentor, Chris Blackwell. "When I started Delicious Vinyl, it was all about finding great talent, developing it and trying to give artists a great platform to take their music to the next level," Ross told Billboard. "My first distribution deal was through Chris Blackwell/Island Records so when Leslie and Adrian came to me with the idea for Delicious Vinyl Island, I said yeah, let's do it, and use the Island Records template, which is very A&R driven, focusing primarily on reggae and Afro-Caribbean artists; there's a hot new scene now for that music, so it felt like the right time." Adds Miller: "We all got on the same page after looking at what didn't exist in Los Angeles, or on the west coast for that matter, and that's a real entity that understands the music business and the music coming out of the African diaspora. Our collective desire is to give artists asset building tools to make their dreams happen."