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World mourns loss of legendary DJ Kay Slay, dead age 55

DJ Kay Slay battled COVID-19 for months before passing away from the illness on Easter Sunday, at 55.

Legendary DJ and graffiti artist, DJ Kay Slay, born Keith Grayson, has passed away from COVID-19 and left an influential and innovative career behind. Grayson’s list of credits with artists early in his career includes Eminem, Raekwon, Mac Miller and 50 Cent – to name a few. His ability to sense talent and potential was unparalleled.

Born in New York City in 1966, the DJ and record executive first found graffiti art and quickly became a prominent figure in the big apple. He was featured in the 1983 Hip Hop documentary, Style Wars.

DJ Kay Slay
Credit: The Photo Access/Jared Milgrim

While enjoying a successful career in DJing he soon found himself working as a radio DJ – becoming only one of few to successfully combine both vocations. While working at HOT 97, he promoted and showcased new and unknown artists. Evoking a Hip Hop John Peel, he was one of the first to play and plug Nas, Eminem and 50 Cent.

Having been on the other side of Hip Hop, DJ Kay Slay began work on his own albums. Releasing his debut, The Streetsweeper, Vol. 1, in 2003, he then followed it up with volumes 1 – 4.  Adding albums like: The Big Brother, Hip Hop Frontline, and More Than Just a DJ.

Vаn Silk, а hip hop promoter, confirmed the New York DJ’s deаth via HipHopDX, adding that the world had: “lost а true dedicаted person to the culture of Hip Hop.”

“My beloved brother hаs pаssed аwаy. Since he wаs 16 yeаrs old, I’ve known him. My younger brother, he wаs. I introduced him to а lot of people, аnd we did а lot together.”

As COVID takes another victim, it doesn’t get any easier. 55 years old is far too young to lose one’s life so tragically.

On being asked if he has any regrets for anything he’s rapped, DJ Kay Slay once replied to Funkmaster Flex in an interview: “I said some foul things, man, on some mixtapes when I was not in full touch with myself. But I’m not angry at myself for doing it, because the boy that I was made the man I am today.”

He can rest easy now.