A DJ KAY SLAY TRIBUTE

"The Drama King is in the building!" Watch this year's Hot 97 Summer Jam tribute to the late DJ Kay Slay now at BSTN Chronicles!
Image by Johnny Nunez/WireImage via Getty Images

“The Drama King is in the building!” Last Sunday, the annual Hot 97 Summer Jam took place in New Jersey. The undeniable highlights: An outstanding performance by the City Girls. A message straight from prison by Young Thug. And a heartfelt tribute to DJ Kay Slay, honoring the legacy of the influential DJ who died of Covid-19 earlier this year.

And the legacy of Keith Grayson, the New York DJ’s real name, is a huge one. First known as popular graffiti writer ‘DEZ’ in his teens in the early ’80s, he began his run as a radio DJ in the 90s and became the self-proclaimed ‘Drama King‘ in the 2000s: That’s when he put on countless rappers with his popular ‘Streetsweeper’ mixtapes and slowly became notorious for providing the stage for – guess what – drama. For instance, he premiered one of the arguably hardest diss songs ever – that is “Ether” by Nas, aimed at Jay-Z in 2001. Now that takes some courage to do. Other artists he gave an important platform to? Early Harlem Diplomats, early G-Unit and Papoose, to just name a few.

No wonder, the line-up of his Summer Jam tribute (that you can watch above) reads like a who’s who of 2000s New York rap: Busta Rhymes, Papoose, Fat Joe, Juelz Santana and The Lox, amongst others, performed one NY anthem after another to thank the man who played an integral part in their success – and who never stopped representing rap from the Big Apple, even when it lost some of its shine. Rest in peace, DJ Kay Slay!

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