Today ?uestlove of The Roots announced the formal re-launch of his label Okayplayer Records after an 8-year hiatus. The digital-only label's first releases are by Atlanta-based rapper and producer Danny! and recording engineer Young Guru
Danny!'s Payback is slated to drop on Sept. 25 and an instrumental album of breakbeats from Young Guru entitled Essentials Vol 1 is due out Oct. 9th.
Okayplayer was founded in 1999 by ?uestlove with the goal of creating a forum for like-minded artists to communicate directly with fans. The venture has since worked with such artists as Common, Erykah Badu, D'Angelo, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) and Jill Scott. The project has grown to include Okayplayer TV, an online store, a live production arm (that produces the annual Roots Picnic amongst other shows) and the launch of four sister sites, including Okayafrica.com.
The last Okayplayer Records release was a 2004 compilation album entitled True Notes Vol 1.
"I've been waiting years for the right moment to re-launch the label," said ?uestlove in a statement, "and I'm eager to kick things off with Danny!."
Daniel Petruzzi, Okayplayer's President, added that Danny!'s new album "provides another avenue for our brand to further establish what we stand for….Not only does Danny!'s sound and lyrical content match our aesthetic, but his DIY approach to production, promotion, artwork, and branding make him an ideal candidate to partner with."
Danny! Swain, has released projects via Def Jux and Interscope and has been working with Okayplayer since 2006. His upcoming release, Payback, features guest artists El-P, Blu, Phonte, Jim Jones, Tanya Morgan, Lil B, DJ Kay Slay, Rhymefest, Swizz Beatz and more
"My angst with the record industry has long been documented but it hasn't jaded my outlook," Swain said in a statement. I'm fortunate to finally have a team behind me that clearly believes in my vision."
Over the past decade, Gimel Keaton, a.k.a. Young Guru (sometimes referred to as "The Sound of New York"), has worked in sound engineering, production, and A&R for Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings. He has also mixed ten of Jay-Z's 11 albums. Young Guru: Essentials Vol 1 is his debut as a solo artist with a collection of all original breakbeats produced and recorded entirely by Keaton.
Essentials Vol 1 will be the first of three album releases in this series, presented by Okayplayer Records.
I'm excited for what the future holds for Okayplayer Records," ?uestlove noted, "and look forward to releasing more great projects over the next few years.