Following a four-month-long battle with COVID-19, legendary New York DJ Kay Slay passed away at the age of 55.
According to HipHopDX, hip-hop promoter Van Silk revealed the unfortunate news to the outlet, stating he passed away on Easter Sunday (April 17).
“Hip Hop lost a real gem,” Silk told the outlet. “My dear brother is gone. I’ve known him since he was 16 years old. He was my little brother. I introduced him to many and we did a lot of things together. We last talked December because we were finishing up the 200 rolling deep project. He was gonna do his video part with MC Sha-Rock.
“From the mixtapes to helping him launch Straight Stuntin’ magazine and the whole What The Science project, the world not only lost a real dedicated person to the culture of Hip Hop but a source of bridging the gap in Hip Hop. I’m gonna miss my little brother.”
Kay Slay’s (real name Keith Grayson) condition was updated by his brother, Kwame Grayson in January. Grayson told HipHopDX that he was “definitely not going to die” and is currently in the “recovery state.”
Kay Slay, aka the Drama King, has been an essential part of the essence of Hip-hop culture as a whole since the late 70s and merging into the 80s. By the early 2000s, he was imprinted within the biggest MC battles. Most notably, Jay-Z versus Nas and 50 Cent versus Ja Rule. He also hosted a Hot 97 radio show, properly titled Drama Hour. Moving into the 2020s, he continued to release albums and mixtapes, featuring appearances from Kendrick Lamar, Busta Rhymes, Dave East, Lil Wayne, and countless more.
Before Kay Slay got his start as a disc jockey, Kay was known as Dez from TFP (The Fantastic Partners), a group of writers that were known for their graffiti work throughout Harlem.