Okayplayer is an online hip-hop and alternative music website and community established in 1999 by The Roots' drummer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and author Angela Nissel. The company, described by Rolling Stone as a "tastemaker" and "an antidote to dull promotional websites used by most artists,"[1][2] is dedicated to discovering and defining culture through a musical lens.

Media & Culture
IndustryMass media
FoundersAhmir "Questlove" Thompson and Angela Nissel


Okayplayer began as an idea to simply promote The Roots' albums and connect with fans. Questlove wanted the site to be "a playground where people can actually interact" with the artists. By '99, the site became the first big tastemaker online hub for urban music, politics, arts, and lifestyle.[3].[4][5] In 2004, Questlove launched Okayplayer Records as a spin-off of the community, in partnership with Decon.[6][7] After a near-decade hiatus, the label was rebooted in 2012 with Danny! as its flagship artist.[8][9]

The community was 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 messageboard, 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.[3] 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]

In 2011, Okayplayer launched its sister site, Okayafrica, focused on African culture, politics, and music.[11] The site also hosts affiliated specialists sites: the Revivalist for jazz, OkayAfrica for African music, LargeUp for reggae, and OkayFuture for electronic music.[3]



First Look Friday is a monthly series which highlights emerging musical talent. Some notable names mentioned in this series includes Khalid, Chloe x Halle, and Duckwrth.

Secret History dives deeply into defining moments in music and culture.

Mixtape Monday is a weekly source of underground music.


OkayAcoustic gives artists a platform on which to perform stripped down renditions of new and familiar songs.

Storyville is an animated series presented in partnership with Okayplayer, TBS, and Mass Appeal that illustrates stories of celebrities and their weirder-than-fiction lives.


The Round-Up is a weekly playlist featuring bubbling new music.

In Hip-Hop & Beyond curates playlists celebrating the legacy of musicians.


J Dilla, a record producer and rapper, sells hoodies exclusively through Okayplayer Shop.

Dead Prez, a hip-hop duo formed in 1991, sells an assortment of merchandise exclusively through Okayplayer Shop.

Questlove, musician, music journalist, and founder of Okayplayer, also sells an assortment of merchandise exclusively through Okayplayer Shop.


The Roots Picnic is an annual music festival founded in 2008 and run by the Roots. The festival is hosted in their hometown, Philadelphia, every summer at Penn's Landing.

Okay Space is a multi-use gallery located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In addition to a hosting venue, Okay Space showcases partnerships, programming, and aesthetics.


  1. "Wiz Khalifa: Globe-trotting Pittsburgh rapper takes independent route to the top", Rolling Stone, 29 November 2006
  2. Binelli, Mark (2000) "Hip-Hop Alive and Well on the Web: A primer of six hip-hop Web sites", Rolling Stone, 16 November 2000
  3. "The Oral History of Okayplayer". Complex. Retrieved 2017-01-15.
  4. 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.
  5. 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, 9 October 2000
  6. Strickman, Andrew (2004) "The Roots Make Their "Point"", Rolling Stone, 30 January 2004
  7. "The Roots Launch Okayplayer Records", Glide, 23 January 2004
  8. Johnson, Bill (2012-08-14). "?uestlove Relaunches Okayplayer Records With New Releases From Danny! and Young Guru". Okayplayer. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
  9. Ramirez, Erika (2012-08-14). "Exclusive: ?uestlove Announces Okayplayer Records Relaunch & New Danny! & Young Guru Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
  10. Menconi, David (2006) "Metropolis now: Halfway through the first decade of the 21st century, we've entered a new techno-cultural age", The News & Observer, 1 January 2006
  11. "Searching for a new sound". The Economist. 2011-11-04. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
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