Hip-Hop Icon DJ Kay Slay Is Dead At 55 After A Months-Long Battle With COVID-19

DJ Kay Slay, a beloved DJ and record executive whose real name was Keith Grayson, is dead at 55 years old following a months-long battle with COVID-19. Hot 97 confirmed the news this morning by sharing a statement from Grayson’s family.

The statement reads, “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.”

Grayson, who was also known as the “Drama King,” hosted “The Drama Hour” on Hot 97 for over two decades. They shared their own statement about his passing:

In January 2020, Grayson’s brother Kwame Grayson revealed the DJ had been battling COVID-19 since December 27 and noted of his condition, “He’s definitely not going to die. […] He was slowly fading away, but God didn’t let that happen. Everything in time and when they found out who he was, they got him powered up again. So he’s up and going. He’s like in a recovery state, but he’s definitely not going to die. You can trust me on that.”

Grayson’s biggest commercial success was his debut album, 2003’s The Streetsweeper, Vol. 1. On that project alone, he worked with Eminem, 50 Cent, Fat Joe, Funkmaster Flex, Joe Budden, Remy Ma, and Wyclef Jean. The album’s biggest single (and Grayson’s biggest overall in terms of chart success) is “Too Much for Me,” which features Nas, Baby, Foxy Brown, and Amerie. It peaked at No. 53 on Billboard‘s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.