The news of the DJ’s death was revealed to HipHopDX by hip-hop promoter Van Silk, who confirmed that Kay Slay passed away yesterday (April 17). He was 55 years old.
“Hip Hop lost a real gem,” Silk told the outlet. “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.”
In January DJ Kay Slay’s brother gave an update on the New York artist and record executive’s condition after he was hospitalised with the virus.
Speaking to HipHopDX at the time, Kwame Grayson said that his sibling was “definitely not going to die” and is currently in “a recovery state”.
He also said that the reports claiming the DJ – real name Keith Grayson – had been put on a ventilator were false, explaining: “It was a machine that was helping him breathe, but it was not a ventilator. I don’t know where they get this information.
“He was on a machine that was helping him breathe because he couldn’t breathe. A couple of days ago, he was in a state where everybody thought he really wasn’t going to make [it].”
Following news of Slay’s death, tributes have begun pouring in on social media. See a selection below.
Rest Easy King Dez aka Spade TDS aka DJ Kay Slay a legend in two games: graffiti and DJaying.
F Covid. Rest In Power 👑
— Dante Ross (@DanteRoss) April 18, 2022
R.I.P. DJ KAY SLAY!!!! WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE HOW MUCH OF A LEGEND HE WAS AND WHAT HE MEANT TO OUR CULTURE!!!! 💔💔💔💔💔💔
— Termanology (@TermanologyST) April 18, 2022
— Crime Rhyme Houdini (@JustBlaze) April 18, 2022
RIP DJ KAY SLAY
A true HipHop legend.
A New York legend.
A mixtape king.
long live the streetsweepers.
— juice wayne (@visecs) April 18, 2022
RIP DJ KAY SLAY! 55 Years Old Man SMH pic.twitter.com/nqRI7tdO0w
— First Class 🏁 (@1DJFirstClass) April 18, 2022