Chicago Rapper Bumpy Johnson Lands Major Label Deal

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 "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

units combined.

"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

the label.

"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

perfect combination."

Johnson's untitled CD is scheduled to hit stores

towards the end of the year.