On Sunday, April 17, DJ Kay Slay, an active and influential participant in Hip-Hop culture since its inception, passed away. He was 55.
Hot 97, his longtime radio home, and Kay Slay’s family confirmed his death. He reportedly passed away due to complications from COVID-19.
“Hot 97 is shocked and saddened by the loss of our beloved DJ Kay Slay,” said a Hot 97 rep via a formal statement. “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. Our hearts go out to his family, friends, and fans worldwide and we will always and forever celebrate The Drama King’s legacy.”
Born Keith Grayson, Kay Slay was first spotlighted as a Hip-Hop influencer when he was the graffiti writer DEZ in the seminal Hip-Hop documentary Style Wars. After a stint in jail, he would return to the game as a renowned mixtape DJ before securing his long-time Hot 97 gig,
In early 2022 it was reported that Kay Slay was hospitalized due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, he would never recover and he passed away on Sunday evening.
“Our hearts are broken by the passing of Keith Grayson, professionally known as DJ Kay Slay,” said the Grayson family 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.”
Rest in power DEZ aka DJ Kay Slay.