DJ Kay Slay, a New York City icon both for his renowned graffiti career and second act as an early 2000s Billboard hitmaker, died this past Sunday (April 17) following a four-month battle with COVID-19.
Born Keith Grayson but also known as The Drama King or simply Dez, the late East Harlem native will surely be remembered as a true Renaissance Man for all that he accomplished in 55 years. For those familiar with Kay Slay’s illustrious musical catalogue, his mixtape game is one of the most prominent parts of his legacy.
DJ Kay Slay was no stranger when it came to making a hit record, as we saw with his 2003 summer smash “Too Much For Me” with Nas, Birdman, Foxy Brown and Amerie. Last year he flexed that power of bringing together the hottest acts in hip-hop on one record once again with “Rolling 110 Deep,” which as the title suggests includes 110 rap features ranging from Ice-T and Shaq to Ghostface Killah and even actor Omar Epps. Looking back now, it’s easy to see that he’s been a master at mixing up the elements for the sake of art throughout his entire career.
Even while vetting love from the industry and hip-hop heavyweights, Slay made a name for himself on the underground mixtape circuit by putting many rappers on that we look at today as icons in the game. Whether hosting a mixtape or dropping it under his signature “Streetsweeper” series, you knew what to expect just by hearing his unmistakeable voice on a record or even his signature logo on the cover.
To honor one of the most important aspects of DJ Kay Slay’s impactful career, we put together a list of 10 essential mixtapes he collaborated on that anyone mourning his loss or looking to learn a few things about a fallen legend will truly appreciate. Rest well, king:
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1. DJ Green Lantern & DJ Kay Slay – ‘On My New York Shit’
2. The Diaz Brothers (Tony Touch and Doo Wop) w/ DJ Kay Slay – ‘G’z Up’
3. DJ Kay Slay & Doo Wop – ‘Double Drama’
4. DJ Kay Slay & Dazon – ‘Player Hater Eliminators Part 5: Do Or Die’
5. ‘StreetSweepers Presents: Get Down Or Lay Down Pt. 2’ (Hosted By LL Cool J)
6. DJ Kay Slay & Big Mike – ‘Go Hard Or Go Home’
7. ‘Street Sweepers Presents Return Of The Jada’
8. ‘Diplomats, Volume 5’ (Hosted By DJ Kay Slay)
9. ‘Say What You Say’ (Hosted By Eminem)
10. StreetSweepers Presents DJ Kay Slay & Big Mike, ‘Racial Profiling Part 2’