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Hip-Hop pioneer DJ Kay Slay died Sunday, April 17, after a four-month battle with the coronavirus, Hot 97 and his family confirmed in a statement. He was 55.

“Hot 97 is shocked and saddened by the loss of our beloved DJ Kay Slay. We cherish the many memories created through the twenty-plus years he dedicated to the “Drama Hour,” the radio station wrote.

Kay Slay’s family issued the following statement:

“Our hearts are broken by the passing of Keith Grayson, professionally known as DJ Kay 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 New York native, born Keith Grayson, was also known as The Drama King and graffiti artist Dez in his early days.

Music manager Wack 100 announced Kay Slay was on life support in a NY hospital in January:

“Pray for my brotha @djkayslay it’s not looking good. He might be mad at me for this those that know Slay but he needs all the support he can get… Been 14 days fighting Ovid and he’s just be put on a ventilator. Keep him in your prayers please [sic].”

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Kay Slay was a mixtape DJ, graffiti artist, and record executive who released four albums: The Streetsweeper, Vol. 1, The Streetsweeper, Vol. 2, The Champions: North Meets South (with Atlanta’s own Greg Street), and More Than Just a DJ.

When the graffiti movement faded in the late 1980s, Grayson began selling hip-hop mixtapes.

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Grayson’s mixtapes were wildly popular and gained a large following. His studio became the top destination for many rappers and artists including 50 Cent, Eminem, Foxy Brown, Kid Capri, and more.

The New York Times referred to Kay Slay as “Hip Hop’s One-Man Ministry of Insults”.

Wack 100 wrote in a statement on Sunday:

“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.”