Best Reggae Record Store Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2005 - Rankin Records
Wedged between a Vietnamese soup house and a tropical ice cream parlor, Rankin Records rounds out a truly multiculti strip mall (there's a store selling Middle Eastern goods around the corner) along busy Highway 441. Unlike usual reggae suspects you'll find at your suburban CD megastore, Rankin leaves the pricey Bob Marley box sets for Johnny-come-lately types and instead focuses its stock on the needs of discriminating West Indian expats. Put it this way -- you probably won't find the collected works of Ras Shiloh at your local Best Buy. Obscure offerings issued on tiny, mom-'n'-pop labels abound. Small and loud (like any good reggae shop should be), Rankin is the place to find local recording artists from Screwdriver to Tanto Irie on CD, cassette, and even 12-inch vinyl singles. A case full of DVD and videotapes is where you'll finally discover that live Yellowman show you've been looking for. As you'd expect, Rankin's interior is flush with new vinyl albums, including one whole wall devoted to soca compilations decorated with colorful and racy cover art (who knew they made bathing suits that small?) and a healthy selection of old-school soul and R&B discs for Gramps to pore over. Most impressive is the store's commitment to representing every segment of the West Indian musical universe, its bins packed with "calypsoca" collections galore. With seminal artists like Mighty Sparrow acknowledging the presence of the Trini Massive in South Florida, Rankin has the island vibe sewn up.