Chicago native Bumpy Johnson has inked a deal
with Free 4 All, a new label distributed by Atlantic and headed up by industry
veteran, Free Maiden.
According to Maiden, the rapper was the subject
of an intense bidding war after hitting the mixtape circuit and getting airplay
on both of Chicago’s commercial and Hip-Hop and Pop radio stations.
"Bumpy is like 50 Cent out there in Chicago,"
Maiden told AllHipHop.com. "I gotta guy from Chicago named Phil Edwards
that has been a partner of mine for years. The last time he said he had something
special, it was Kanye West. And I managed Kanye for a long time."
The rapper released two mixtapes, "Welcome
to Grimeyville" and "Live From Bedrock," that moved almost 20,000
"Me being in the game from an executive
standpoint, in terms of having presence, he had that. He had a retail story.
Everything he released sold immediately. The first time I met him, he had a
show in the park. Children, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, everyone was out
there. If you walked through the neighborhoods, they knew him. He’s already
a star on the street."
Maiden said that Atlantic and Warner Music Group
was the best place to take his Free 4 All imprint. The major factor that swayed
his decision was the coming of Lyor Cohen, who left Island Def Jam to head up
"Lyor is someone that I always admired.
Super aggressive, take no prisoners guy," Maiden said. "He’s been
associated with so many successful executives. It wasn’t about the money. I
wanted to go somewhere I feel the people can execute with HipHop Atlantic has
alot of success, especially with Twista, who is also from Chicago. Atlantic’s
President Craig Kallman knows what he’s doing. These talented people are the
Johnson’s untitled CD is scheduled to hit stores
towards the end of the year.