DJ Kay Slay Dies At 55 Following COVID-19 Battle


New York City hip hop legend DJ Kay Slay has died at the age of 55 following a lengthy battle with COVID-19. The iconic DJ passed away on Easter after being hospitalized for four months.

Slay first made a name for himself as a graffiti artist under the tag name “Dez,” before gaining recognition as a DJ in NYC’s mixtape scene. In 2003, his major label debut, The Streetsweeper, Vol. 1, reached No. 4 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. He would also go on to host The Drama Hour on Hot 97.

DJ Kay Slay, death
Scott Gries / Getty Images

“Our hearts are broken by the passing of Keith Grayson, professionally known as DJ Kay Slay,” Hot 97 said in a statement. “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.”

Hip Hop promoter Van Silk reflected on Slay’s passing in a statement provided to HipHopDX: “Hip Hop lost a real gem. 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.”

Wack 100 was the first to reveal that Slay had been hospitalized, back in January.

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