New York, NY

Hip Hop is mourning the death of DJ Kay Slay, who passed away on Sunday (April 17) after a four-month battle with COVID-19. The 55-year-old was a revered staple of Hip Hop culture, appearing in the 1983 cult classic film Style Wars and, as on-air radio host Drama King at Hot 97, dedicating most of his life to celebrating Hip Hop music. So it’s only fitting the New York legend will be celebrated in a larger-than-life service at the famed Apollo Theater in New York City on Sunday (April 24).

The details on the service include an obituary that sums up the massive impact DJ Kay Slay had on Hip Hop culture. The obituary reads: “Keith Grayson, P.K.A. DJ Kay Slay, was born August 14, 1966 in New York City and raised in East Harlem. As a child, he was drawn to disco, dancing the Hustle; when early Hip Hop DJs began turning breakbeats from those songs into proto-rap music, he traveled to the Bronx to observe and participate in the rising culture.”

It continues, “Keith would hop on the 6 train and go up to the Bronx River Center to see Afrika Bambaataa and the Zulu Nation rock. Keith took up the affiliated art forms of breakdancing and graffiti, even casually rapping with his friends, mastering every element of Hip Hop culture. Street art became his chief passion, first under the tag Spade 429 and later Dez TFA, which he shortened to Dez.

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“Amid the city’s crackdown on graffiti. Dez took the name Kay Slay and developed a fascination with turntables. In 1989, after serving a brief stint of incarceration, Keith found solace in the Nation of Gods & Earths and fully immersed himself into his craft of performing as a DJ and releasing exclusives mixtapes.”

Legendary New York City DJ Kay Slay Has Passed Away Following COVID-19 Battle

DJ Kay Slay is survived by his mother, the honorable Sheila Grayson, partner Shea Robinson, protégé and brother-in-kind Papoose, Big Gene, business manager and brother-in-kind Jarrod Whitaker and his many friends, family and peers. The order of service includes words of welcome, prayers, scripture readings, musical selections, formal readings, eulogy and life tribute. The public viewing and memorial begins at 10 a.m. EST and wraps up at noon EST. HipHopDX sends our condolences to the Grayson family and all those who loved him.