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Okayplayer is an online hip-hop and alternative music website and community, described by Rolling Stone as a "tastemaker" and "an antidote to dull promotional Web sites used by most artists".[1][2]

The community was founded by The Roots' drummer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and author Angela Nissel as a loose musical collective in 1987, and evolved into an online community in 1999.[3][4] In 2004, Questlove launched Okayplayer Records as a spin-off of the community, in partnership with Decon.[5][6] After a near-decade hiatus, the label was rebooted in 2012 with Danny! as its flagship artist.[7][8]

This community is made up of recording artists (who keep their official internet homes there), visitors to the site, and individuals who post on the site's message board, the most popular feature of the site.

All of the artists and staff, as well as those who post to the site's message board, are considered "okayplayers," or "OKPs" for short. Okayplayer was one of the first online hubs through which fans could interact directly with their favorite artists.[9] Okayplayer has been identified as an online community that allows people to bypass traditional media and network with each other.[10] An example of such a collaboration fostered by the site is the Foreign Exchange project, with Little Brother's vocalist Phonte Coleman and Dutch producer named Nicolay meeting on Okayplayer, and making an album together by sending tracks and verses back and forth over the Internet. The album, Connected, was released before the pair had met in real life.[10]

According to Questlove, the site was originally a medium to chronicle the day-to-day life of his band, The Roots.[9] However, it became a hub for urban music, politics, arts, and lifestyle.[9] In addition to daily blog updates, the site featured popular messenger boards. Based in New York, Okayplayer eventually expanded into a label that produced live events.[9]

The site also hosts affiliated specialists sites: the Revivalist for jazz, OkayAfrica for African music, LargeUp for reggae, and OkayFuture for electronic music.[9]

In 2011, Okayplayer launched its sister site, Okayafrica, focused on African culture, politics, and music.[11]

Okayplayer organize regular tours and an annual Roots Picnic all day event.[12][13][14]


  1. ^ "Wiz Khalifa: Globe-trotting Pittsburgh rapper takes independent route to the top", Rolling Stone, November 29, 2006
  2. ^ Binelli, Mark (2000) "Hip-Hop Alive and Well on the Web: A primer of six hip-hop Web sites", Rolling Stone, November 16, 2000
  3. ^ Johnson-Roberson, Chris (2012). ""The Lesson's Beef with Women": Misogyny in Online Hip-Hop Discourse". Technomusicology: A Sandbox Journal. Brown University. 3 (1). Archived from the original on April 9, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
  4. ^ Wiltz, Theresa (2000) "Taking The Rap Online And Off; With a 44-City Tour, Okayplayer Links Its Web Site to a New Generation of Fans", Washington Post, October 9, 2000
  5. ^ Strickman, Andrew (2004) "The Roots Make Their "Point"[dead link]", Rolling Stone, January 30, 2004
  6. ^ "The Roots Launch Okayplayer Records", Glide, January 23, 2004
  7. ^ Johnson, Bill (August 14, 2012). "?uestlove Relaunches Okayplayer Records With New Releases From Danny! and Young Guru". Okayplayer. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  8. ^ Ramirez, Erika (August 14, 2012). "Exclusive: ?uestlove Announces Okayplayer Records Relaunch & New Danny! & Young Guru Albums". Billboard. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  9. ^ a b c d e "The Oral History of Okayplayer". Complex. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  10. ^ a b Menconi, David (2006) "Metropolis now: Halfway through the first decade of the 21st century, we've entered a new techno-cultural age[permanent dead link]", The News & Observer, January 1, 2006
  11. ^ "Searching for a new sound". The Economist. November 4, 2011. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  12. ^ Schafer, Gabrielle (2000) "Tour Dates Set for Okayplayer Tour[dead link]", Rolling Stone, October 5, 2000
  13. ^ "Okayplayer Tour featuring Dead Prez, Talib Kweli", NME, November 3, 2000
  14. ^ Paine, Jake (2009) "The Roots Bring Public Enemy To Annual Picnic Archived 2009-03-21 at the Wayback Machine", HipHopDX, March 17, 2009

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