As you may have seen on Billboard, ?uestlove has announced the formal relaunch of Okayplayer Records as a digital-only label after an 8-year hiatus. The relaunch will kick off with the release of Atlanta-based rapper and producer Danny!’s latest album, Payback on September 25th and an all-instrumental album of breakbeats from renowned recording engineer Young Guru, Essentials Vol 1, on October 9th.
“I’ve been waiting years for the right moment to re-launch the label and I’m eager to kick things off with Danny!” says ?uestlove.
Okayplayer President, Daniel Petruzzi adds, “This provides another avenue for our brand to further establish what we stand for by aligning ourselves with artists and projects that speak to our core values. 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.”
A huge proponent of the DIY approach, Danny! Swain, who has released projects via Def Jux and Interscope, has actually achieved most of his critical acclaim for projects he’s released on his own. Explains Danny!, “My angst with the record industry has long been documented but it hasn’t jaded my outlook. Since 2006, Okayplayer, who’ve always had an eye and ear for talent both unsung and widely known, has always been in my corner. I’m fortunate to finally have a team behind me that clearly believes in my vision.” Payback, which features guest artists El-P, Blu, Phonte, Jim Jones, Tanya Morgan, Lil B, DJ Kay Slay, Rhymefest, Swizz Beatz and more, will be available for digital-release on September 25th.
Revered as “The Sound of New York,” Gimel Keaton, better known as Young Guru, possesses over a decade of experience in sound engineering, production, and A&R for the acclaimed Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings. Most recognized for shaping some of the biggest talent in hip hop, Young Guru has mixed 10 of Jay-Z’s 11 albums and has earned himself a number of shout-outs on Jay-Z’s tracks, fitting homage to his exceptional skills behind the boards. Young Guru: Essentials Vol 1 is the legendary engineer’s debut as a solo artist with a collection of all original breakbeats produced and recorded entirely by Guru. Having been known for years in the industry as the go-to guy for his impeccable percussion techniques, the unveiling of this serious beat-digger, vinyl collector, turntablist, and ghost-producer’s signature sounds with the release of this breakbeat album marks a special occasion indeed. Essentials Vol 1 will be the first of three album releases in this series, presented by Okayplayer Records.
As ?uestlove concludes: “I’m excited for what the future holds for Okayplayer Records and look forward to releasing more great projects over the next few years.” Us, too.