DJ Kay Slay, Fiery Radio megastar and Rap Mixtape Innovator, Dies at fifty five - The big apple instances

DJ Kay Slay, who served as an important bridge between hip-hop generations, developing from a teenage B-boy and graffiti author into an imaginitive new york radio personality well-known for his pugnacious mixtapes that stoked rap beefs, broke artists and helped change the tune enterprise, died on Sunday in big apple. He was 55.

Slay had confronted "a 4-month combat with Covid-19," his family pointed out in an announcement confirming his loss of life.

Few figures in hip-hop might hint their persisted presence from the genre's earliest days to the digital present like he may. In late-Seventies manhattan, Slay become a young road artist called Dez, plastering his spray-painted tag on building walls and subway automobiles, as chronicled within the cult documentaries "Wild style" and "vogue Wars."

Then he turned into the Drama King, a.okay.a. S lap Your favorite DJ, internet hosting the late-nighttime "Drama Hour" on the influential radio station sizzling 97 (WQHT ninety seven.1 FM) for more than two many years before his disease took him off the air.

"Cats are aware of it's no holds barred with me," Slay instructed The manhattan instances in 2003, when the paper dubbed him "Hip-Hop's One-Man Ministry of Insults." moreover proposing a hoop and roaring encouragement for battles between Jay-Z and Nas, 50 Cent and Ja Rule, Slay gave an early platform to native artists and crews just like the Diplomats, G-Unit, Terror Squad and the rapper Papoose, each on his exhibit and on the mixtapes that made his identify as a great deal as theirs.

As mixtapes developed from do-it-yourself D.J. blends on exact cassettes to a semiofficial promotional tool and underground economic system of CDs bought on highway corners, in flea markets, record outlets, bodeg as and barber retail outlets, Slay advanced with the times, at last releasing his own compilation albums on Columbia records. as soon as illicit and unsanctioned, mixtapes now represent a essential piece of the song streaming economic system, with artists and principal labels releasing their own album-like reputable showcases that properly the Billboard charts.

"You have been truly the primary to bring the personality to the mixtape," Funkmaster Flex, a fellow hot 97 D.J., once talked about to Slay throughout a radio interview. "That was very odd. We were just used to the music and the exclusives."

Slay, who grew to be immersed in medication and hung out at the back of bars earlier than making it in music, answered, "I had to locate an attitude and run with it."

He become born Keith Grayson in new york on Aug. 14, 1966, and raised in East Harlem. As a baby, he become dra wn to disco, dancing the Hustle; when early hip-hop D.J.s all started turning breakbeats from these songs into proto-rap track, he traveled to the Bronx to look at and take part within the rising culture.

"I needed to see what became occurring and convey it again to my borough," he instructed Spin magazine in 2003. "So I used to hop on the 6 coach and go up to the Bronx River core [projects] to see Afrika Bambaataa and the Zulu Nation rock."

He soon took up the affiliated artwork types of breakdancing and graffiti, even casually rapping along with his chums. "every factor of the video game, I participated in," Slay told Flex. but highway paintings became his chief ardour, first beneath the tag Spade 429 and later Dez TFA, which he shortened to Dez.

"i needed a nice small name that I might rise up everywhere and do it short devoid of getting grabbed," he spoke of on t he time. "You're telling the world whatever thing — like, i am someone. I'm an artist."

Amid the metropolis's crackdown on graffiti, Dez took on the identify Kay Slay ("After a while you get tired of writing the equal identify," he referred to of his street-artwork days) and developed a fascination with turntables. "Boy, you more advantageous turntable these books," he recalled his dissatisfied folks saying. but in need of money and with little hobby in school, he quickly became to medication and stickups.

In 1989, Slay become arrested and served a yr in jail for drug possession with intent to promote. On getting out, he advised Spin, "I began noticing Brucie B, child Capri, Ron G. They have been doing mixtapes, doing parties and getting paid beautiful." He bought T-shirts, socks and denims to buy D.J. gadget and worked at a Bronx facility that assisted americans with H.I.V. and AIDS.

"i can't count number the variety of people I saw die," he instructed The times of that length. "Working there in reality made me start to recognize existence."

within the mid-1990s, Slay found the knowledgeable tune company nonetheless unwelcoming, and he began to name out, in colorful language on his releases, those label executives he notion of as pointless. "I told myself i would be so massive that one day the identical individuals i was begging for data could be begging me to play their statistics," he mentioned.

It changed into that irascible spirit that helped endear him to rappers who had their personal rankings to settle. In 2001, Slay had a step forward when he premiered "Ether," the blistering Nas dis of Jay-Z that revitalized headline hip-hop red meat following the murders of Tupac Shakur and the infamous B.I.G. His radio slots and mixtapes became a proving fl oor, and he later begun a magazine called Straight Stuntin'.

"He's like the Jerry Springer of rap," one D.J. instructed The times. "the entire fights occur on his exhibit."

Slay's gruff method and mid-music shouts would go on to affect his contemporaries, like DJ Clue, a one-time rival, and those who adopted, like DJ Whoo kid and DJ Drama. Alberto Martinez, the Harlem drug dealer referred to as Alpo, who was killed closing year while in witness insurance policy, even hosted a Slay tape from detention center.

"The online game become boring unless I got here around," Slay observed.

he is survived by using his mother, Sheila Grayson, along with his best friend and company supervisor Jarrod Whitaker.

In Slay's on-air conversation with Funkmaster Flex, the different D.J. marveled at the creativity of Slay's boasts and threats — "in case you stop the financial institution, then I'm gonna rob the bank!" — and requested his colleague if he ever regretted the shocking things he'd bellowed.

"I spoke of some foul issues, man, on some mixtapes when i used to be no longer in full contact with myself," Slay replied. "but I'm now not indignant at myself for doing it, since the boy that i used to be made the man i am today."

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