“#HOT97 is shocked and saddened by the loss of our beloved DJ Kay Slay. We cherish the many memories created through the 20- plus years he dedicated to the ‘Drama Hour.’ A cultural icon, The Streetsweeper Kay Slay was more than just a DJ, to us he was family & a vital part of what made HOT 97 the successful station it is today. Our hearts go out to his family, friends, & fans worldwide and we will always and forever celebrate The Drama King’s legacy. With Love, the Hot 97 family,” the station said in a social media post.
As news of Grayson’s death continues to spread, sources say that the legendary DJ died after a lengthy battle with COVID-19. Hip Hop Ties Media reported that Grayson had been hospitalized for complications with the virus in December.
The hip hop pioneer is said to have passed away yesterday (April 17).
Before gaining noteworthy fame as DJ Kay Slay, Grayson began his career as a graffiti artist known as “Dez.” After putting out attention-grabbing mixtapes in the late 90s, he was signed to Columbia Records where he released his label debut album, The Streetsweeper, Vol. 1. The album reached No. 4 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. His most recent album, The Soul Controller, was released just before his hospitalization in December 2021.
The New York native began Straight Stuntin magazine as a way to showcase his views on the beauty of Black women.
In a November 2021 interview with Krush Magazine Grayson stated, “When you coming from the hood, women had bodies. But somewhere along the line between Black Men Magazine, Smooth and King — and it ain’t slander, this is the truth — they wasn’t appreciating the Black, thick queens.” He continued, “Like they started showing fragile chicks. You had to be exotic, overseas and all that. They was trying to make sistas feel like ‘Oh you too short to do this’ or ‘Oh you too dark to do this.’”
The entrepreneur spoke about the “horror” stories he would hear and how they led him to start his magazine.
Grayson’s family released a statement following his death that read, “OUR HEARTS ARE BROKEN BY THE PASSING OF KEITH GRAYSON, PROFESSIONALLY KNOWN AS DJ RAY SLAY. 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. THE GRAYSON FAMILY.”
A Word From The HOT 97 Family: 🕊️
RIP DJ Kay Slay pic.twitter.com/TawxjRSSRh
— HOT 97 (@HOT97) April 18, 2022
Legendary NY DJ, DJ Kay Slay has reportedly passed away, according to Wack 100.🕊
He was reportedly still recovering after being hospitalized for COVID-19 in December. RIP DJ Kay Slay.🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/IOyaicsxob
— Hip Hop Ties (@HipHopTiesMedia) April 18, 2022