Keith Grayson, who is recognized by his musical moniker DJ Kay Slay died from complications arising due to to COVID-19, on Sunday, April 17. The hip-hop influencer and graffiti artist had been battling the infection from the last four months. His death was announced on Sunday, in a statement from his family to various news outlets and confirmed by radio station Hot 97.
The New York City radio station hot 97 confirmed the news of his passing away and shared a statement from his family. Tributes poured in from the music world. The iconic hip-hop DJ had hosted several shows from the radio station at the Big Apple. He was a pioneering artist who began to paint his talent on walls in NYC. However, as city authorities cracked down on graffiti, he moved to the turntable and began his career as a DJ at parties and at parks.
Due to low pay, he turned to petty crime and low level drug dealing and did a one year stint at prison. He came out and spent time helping those who had HIV and AIDS at a facility in Bronx. He also returned to his career as a DJ.
DJ Kay Slay began releasing mix tapes as he wanted to make it big as a musician. He told The Times that he convinced himself that he would be so big one day that the people whom he had begged for records would then beg him to play their records.
In the early 2000s he established himself in the city’s hip-hop scene but it was his diss tracks during two famous rap feuds: Nas vs Jay-Z and 50 Cent vs Ja Rule that catapulted him to fame. He also got a new title “The Drama King.”
In 2003, he released his first mainstream album The Streetsweeper, Vol. 1. He cut six studio albums, the last one was Soul Controller in 2021, along with several mix tapes. The celebrity hip-hop artist was the CEO of the magazine Straight Stuntin. DJ Kay Slay also hosted the popular weekly show “Drama Hour” on Hot 97.
RIP to the legendary “Drama King”, DJ Kay Slay🙏🕊 pic.twitter.com/sEqRB01RCn— madlib fan acct (@TheRealAntonioA) April 18, 2022