DJ Kay Slay has passed away, says longtime friend and promoter 

The veteran New York City hip-hop artist had reportedly battled COVID-19. “Hip-hop lost a real gem,” promoter Van Silk said.

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The world of hip-hop is mourning the loss of another legend. 

HipHopDX is reporting that DJ Kay Slay has died after a lengthy battle with COVID-19. He was 55 years old, and passed away on Easter Sunday.

“Hip-hop lost a real gem,” veteran promoter Van Silk told DX. “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.

DJ Kay Slay attends the Tycoon Pool Party hosted by 50 Cent at Bar Code on August 18, 2019, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

“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.”

Born Keith Grayson on August 14, 1966, in New York City, the DJ was once called, “Hip Hop’s One-Man Ministry of Insults,” by the New York Times. 

Reactions to the loss were swift on social media. “Rest in eternal peace to DEZ AKA DJ Kay Slay AKA The Drama King,” wrote Dart Adams. “This is a sad day for Hip Hop culture & Rap fans the world over.” 

The veteran DJ was mourned by his former radio station, Hot 97, which wrote in a statement: “HOT 97 is shocked and saddened by the loss of our beloved DJ Kay Slay. We cherish the many memories created through the twenty-plus years he dedicated to the ‘Drama Hour.”’ 

The statement continued, “A cultural icon, the streetsweeper 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. Our hearts go out to his family, friends and fans worldwide and we will always and forever celebrate the Drama King’s legacy.” 

“RIP DJ Kay Slay. Dez. The Drama King. Mr. Smack Your Favorite DJ,” wrote Andrew Barber of Fakeshore Drive. “Not only did he premiere “Ether,” host Dipset’s first mixtape and unleash countless songs and freestyles. But he was also featured in the movie ‘Style Wars’ in 1983. A true pioneer, innovator and legend.” 

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