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Photo by Kaushik Kalidindi.
Photo by Kaushik Kalidindi.

OKP 25-Year Anniversary: The Exclusive Questlove Interview

On the 25th anniversary of Okayplayer, day-one boards member Donwill sits down with the founder of the site Questlove to discuss the legacy and origination of the site as the first place for hip-hop heads to gather online.

“People always ask, ‘Why is Ahmir everywhere?’ And I just tell them that the gateway to everything is always Okayplayer,Questlove said in an interview with Okayplayer for the site's 25-year anniversary.

25 years after the Okayplayer boards officially came into existence, we enjoyed an exhilarating full-circle experience in downtown Manhattan. Fresh off filming an episode of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, the multi-faceted virtuoso, Questlove, sat down for an in-depth Okayplayer interview with rapper, DJ, podcast host, and day-one OKP boards member, Donwill.

The chat was lighthearted, nostalgic, educational, and chock full of quotable anecdotes. In short, it was everything you’d expect from a conversation emanating directly from the crucible of progressive hip-hop culture. If you really think about it, the OKP boards were social media before social media and app culture even existed. Music groups were formed on it, relationships, marriages, and business affiliations were created through it — not to mention a whole host of lurkers who used the boards as their vicarious connection to the culture. It’s a phenomenal artist-driven story that deserves its own David Fincher biopic.

Check out Part 1 of the Questlove interview, along with annotations below of key moments you can’t miss.

The Okayplayer Origin Story featuring

00:45 — Questlove muses about how he could have invented social media.

2:17 — Questlove explains how an interlude on a Public Enemy album helped spark the idea for Okayplayer.

7:03 — Questlove mentions how he used insights from the Beastie Boys, Hole, and R.E.M. as inspiration to create a digital gathering place for music fans.

10:00 — Okayplayer co-founder, Angela Niseel, tells Questlove to not be a “rap cliché” and invest money in building a digital community rather than buying a Pathfinder.

13:20 — Rahzel from The Roots tells Questlove to think bigger about the digital reach of Okayplayer and Questlove also shares how Common and D’Angelo were initially turned off by the Okayplayer idea.

14:14 — Questlove describes the pivotal day when he actually let someone diss him on the OKP boards and Angela persuaded him to let the slight slide.

17:14 — Donwill and Questlove share a philosophical exchange about how the Okayplayer boards created an exceptional community of like-minded individuals

18:01 — Questlove and Donwill talk about famous lurkers they encountered from the OKP boards.

20:20 — A discussion about how far-reaching the tentacles of the boards are in culture today.