The world of Hip-Hop received some tragic news on Easter Sunday as it was confirmed that radio executive and cultural personality DJ Kay Slay passed away after battling COVID-19.
The family of Kay Slay, also known as Keith Grayson, confirmed his death on social media along with local New York radio powerhouse HOT97 on Sunday night (April 17th). The “Drama King” had been in the hospital after falling ill with COVID-19 in December 2021. Wack 100 had provided an update on his struggle last week through his Instagram account, verifying that he had been taken off the ventilator: “He’s been off the #ECMO machine for a couple weeks now,” he wrote. “Let’s continue our prayers as our brother continues to fight.”
“Our hearts are broken by the passing of Keith Grayson, professionally known as DJ Kay Slay,” his family wrote in a statement sent to press outlets and posted on HOT97’s social media accounts. “A dominant figure in Hip Hop culture with millions of fans worldwide, DJ Kay Slay will be remembered for his passion and excellence with a legacy that will transcend generations. In memory of DJ Kay Slay, our family wishes to thank all of his friends, fans, and supporters for their prayers and well wishes during this difficult time. We ask that you respect our privacy as we grieve this tragic loss.”
The DJ first rose to fame as DEZ, a renowned graffiti artist who was prominently featured in the classic 1983 film documenting the widespread growth of street art and Hip-Hop, Style Wars. Parlaying that talent into rapping, the Harlem, New York native would go on to become a popular DJ with his Streetsweeper mixtape series that featured numerous artists. The series also highlighted his innate sense of what the public demanded and also featured the prominent beefs between artists of the time, as well as his own disses towards those who he felt weren’t upholding the integrity of the culture. “Hip-Hop’s One-Man Ministry of Insults” would release Street Sweepers Volumes 1 & 2 through Columbia/Sony Records and go on to be a talent scout for entertainers like Shaquille O’Neal and Ray J while adding more wins to his resume as a DJ, eventually becoming part of the HOT97 family with the “Drama Hour” He’d also
release three more albums, with the last being The Soul Controller.
DJ Kay Slay was 55. May he Rest In Peace. Here are some of the reactions to his passing on social media.
Long Live The Drama King: Hip-Hop World Mourns DJ Kay Slay’s Untimely Death was originally published on hiphopwired.com
The Hip-Hop legend Ice-T offered his condolences and paid homage:
Twitter user EmGeeDub shared his tribute, saying: “It’s hard to see such pivotal pillars of hip-hop go. RIP DEZ aka DJ Kay Slay.”
5. Bumpy Knuckles
The O.G. Bumpy Knuckles weighed in on the legacy of DJ Kay Slay.
Twitter user Cas1Beats shared a classic photo of Kay Slay in his street art days.
Twitter user jewel_ebony reminisced on being present for the video shoot for DJ Kay Slay’s hit single: “My biggest Hip Hop memory of DJ Kay Slay is when he brought wild NY Spittas out to my hood and shot the ‘Too Much For Me’ video in 2002. Son signed autographs for all us Project kids and was humble af!!”
8. CZARFACE Eso
9. Rock The Bells
10. Benny The Butcher
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