//Beeper-shaped USB with album MP3s, videos, & extras
APATHY, HONKEY KONG
(Dirty Version Records)
Why: "Kids aren't programmed to buy tangible products—CDs are cumbersome to them," Apathy says. "Selling through iTunes doesn't work because they can download it for free [elsewhere]. You need to give them something they can't otherwise get."
//Lunch box with playing cards and music inside
MF DOOM, OPERATION: DOOMSDAY
(Metal Face Records)
Why: "Doom is kind of like a comic-book character, and always has a lot of food references. Plus the metallic lunch box speaks to his whole mask thing," says project designer and manager Trevor Gendron.
//12" vinyl record shaped like a saw blade
Why: "Limited-edition vinyl has always been big in hip-hop, so this was a crucial item for the fans," says Decon Records owner Peter Bittenbender. "The online buzz—pun intended—pushed this one a lot further than past vinyl releases."
//Money clip with fake cash
FREEWAY & JAKE ONE, HE STIMULUS PACKAGE
Why: "We always try to push the boundaries of manufacturing," says Rhymesayers Entertainment cofounder Siddiq. "If you pre-ordered the album from us, you also got a replica government stimulus check that can be placed in the wallet."
We Are All T-Pain
A version of this article appeared in the December 2011/January 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.