In a post-Spotify world, it's tough to make a living as a musician. Even rappers signed to major record labels via million-dollar advances tend to come and go, winning the figurative lottery with a hit single or two, then losing it all just as quickly. We see it time and time again, from Dr. Dre and Ice Cube vs. Ruthless Records in the early '90s, to the LOX vs. Bad Boy in the early '00s, to Mannie Fresh, Tyga, and (now) Lil Wanye vs. Cash Money Records. A theme emerges.

Whether you're a one-hit wonder or one of the brightest stars of your generation, chances are the biggest, baddest boss is the guy who signs your checks. Power corrupts, and the music industry is one mad, seedy business. For all the aspiring megastars out there, we've compiled a list—a sort of warning—of 5 Signs You're Being Extorted by Your Record Label.