Hip Hop Legend DJ Kay Slay Passes Away at 55

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Image: Johnny Nunez/WireImage.

Legendary New York City graffiti artist and hip-hop producer DJ Kay Slay passed away on Sunday after a four-month battle with COVID-19, the New York Post reports.

The passing of the iconic DJ, whose real name is Keith Grayson, was confirmed in a statement from his family.

“Our hearts are broken by the passing of Keith Grayson, professionally known as DJ Kay Slay,” the family’s statement read. “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,” the statement continued. “We ask that you respect our privacy as we grieve this tragic loss.”

The NYC radio station Hot 97 also paid tribute to Kay Slay who was a mainstay of the station for over two decades.

“Hot 97 is shocked and saddened by the loss of our beloved DJ Kay Slay,” the statement read. “We cherish the many memories created through the twenty-plus years he dedicated to the ‘Drama Hour.’

“A cultural icon, Kay Slay was more than just a DJ, to us he was family and a vital part of what made Hot 97 the successful station it is today,” the statement continued. “Our hearts go out to his family, friends and fans worldwide, and we will always and forever celebrate The Drama King’s legacy.”

Born Aug. 14, 1966, in New York City, Grayson launched his career as a renowned graffiti artist and was prominently featured in the 1983 hip-hop documentary Style Wars.

Initially, Slay didn’t want to become a DJ.

“It was just something to do that was fun and that I enjoyed doing,” he told Forbes in a 2019 interview.

In 2003, he released his first album The Streetsweeper, Vol. 1. He went on to release several other studio albums, including The Streetsweeper, Vol. 2, More Than Just a DJ, The Big Brother and Hip Hop Frontline. His most recent album The Soul Controller was released in 2021.

Many took to social media to honor the legacy of DJ Kay Slay.

“We lost one of the most SOLID MFs in HipHop,” Ice-T wrote on Twitter. “I’ve been checking in on him for his whole struggle in the Hospital. I honestly thought he was gonna pull through. This truly Hurts… F Covid. RIP  to the Drama King #Kay Slay.”

We extend our prayers and deepest condolences to the family and friends of DJ Kay Slay.

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