American Gangster, out today
Jay Z - American Gangster

So, I (Wendy Day) see three ways to get a deal (that you'd want to have) in this industry (hip hop):

1. Get put on by an established artist (but bear in mind that you may only be as successful as that artist. It's rare that someone puts you on and you blow up larger than they are). This means coming up under Busta Rhymes, Jay Z, Kanye, BG, Jeezy, T.I., 50 Cent, Nelly, Eminem, Dr Dre, etc. With any luck, the artist who puts you on is fair and doesn't do to you what was done to him when he was coming up.

2. Create a buzz. In a perfect world, you want everyone in the industry and on the streets talking about you before you get signed. Young Buck was a perfect example of an underground artist who had a very strong buzz when he was coming up. The trick is to keep it going til you get signed and then turn it up a notch so that the whole industry is buzzing about when you're going to drop (50 Cent is a great example of someone who kept up the buzz). This option usually takes many years to land a good deal.

3. Sell units. This is, of course, my favorite method because it proves to the labels you can sell, which reduces their risk and gives you negotiating leverage. Therefore, you have more control over the "fairness" of your deal, and often a choice of labels to sign with. In a perfect world, you want to be with a label that not only believes in you, but has an experienced hard-working staff in every department that can really make your project happen. Plus, a nice bidding war never hurts… [All Hip Hop]

Here's some (mostly non-hip hop) artists who recently received record deals....

 Man Man
* Man Man signed to ANTI
* Bob Mould signed to ANTI
* The Raveonettes signed to VICE
* Murder by Death signed to VAGRANT
* Story of the Year signed to EPITAPH
* Margot & The Nuclear So & Sos signed to EPIC
* Hilary McRae signed to HEAR MUSIC
* Bon Iver signed to JAGJAGUWAR
* Annuals signed to CANVASBACK
* No Age signed to SUB POP
* Blitzen Trapper signed to SUB POP
* Black Kids signed to ALMOST GOLD
* School of Language signed to THRILL JOCKEY
* Quinn Walker signed to VOODOO-EROS
* Russian Circles signed to SUICIDE SQUEEZE
* Growing signed to SOCIAL REGISTRY
* Thao Nguyen signed to KILL ROCK STARS
* Clipse signed to COLUMBIA
* The Cool Kids signed to CHOCOLATE INDUSTRIES
* Radiohead signed to XL RECORDINGS