BILLY SUNDAY’s True Hip-Hop Stories: DJ KAY SLAY

the next level

True story is that I was an aspiring cub reporter for a Hip-Hop magazine with no budget. On the strength of a former NYC on-air radio personality that will remain nameless on this blog I was given the assignment to be the feature writer for this magazine. I was also given the respect by those in the industry as someone who has no connections and no clout. DJ Kay Slay was my second interview and it lasted all of two minutes. Dude answered none of my questions with a sentence longer than one word. I came back home and crafted this interview in my mind as if Kay Slay wasn’t such an asshat that felt like he was too big for rap music.

Hip Hop music will always be the property of the DJ. Since the beginning of Hip Hop, it was
the DJ’s responsibility to move the crowd. Who do you think it was that brought all his equipment from his house down to the playground. Not just the two turntables and the mixer, but the amplifiers and the speakers. Who do you think risked electrocution by powering his set with electricity from the streetlamps. Who do you think had to take that twenty second break beat and make it play for twenty minutes? Who do you think brought the microphone so that someone could speak to all those that had gathered to dance and mingle. Who do you think has been getting shitted on since the advent of sampling machines. DJ’s were about to be put out to pasture with the grafitti artists and the breakdancers. Hip Hop music is the property of the DJ. Hip Hop music needed a bad guy that had the knowledge and the courage to return it back to it’s owners. Say hello to the bad guy.

The Next Level magazine caught up with the hottest DJ in the music industry as he prepared for his weekly radio show at the HOT 97 studios. His DJ name is Kay-Slay and if you know some his aliases you probably understand why he isn’t afraid of controversy. The Drama King, as he is ofter referred to, was responsible for playing one of the most lauded street records in recent history, Nas’ “Ether”. Just like the B.I.G. track “Who Shot Ya’?” this record set off a firestorm. Kay-Slay was the only person with shoulders big enough for Nas to stand on and everyone took notice. Now their relationship has gone sour, but we are all left to look at the re-emergence of the DJ. Hip Hop music is in good hands.

TNL: Kay, how long have you been in this arena?

Kay-Slay: I have been DJ’ing for over twenty six years.

TNL: So you go back to the park jams. The birth of Hip Hop and all of that.

K.S.: Yeah, all of that.

TNL: Who was the inspiration for you to become a DJ?

K.S. Bambatta and Flash. I came up in the East River Houses on 105th Street(Harlem). Bambatta was all over the Bronx and Harlem and I used to go to every jam. Then I got me a set and I started doing my own jams. My original name was Kay-Gee. I got out the game for a minute. When I came back in ‘91 that dude from Naughty(by Nature) blew that name up so I had to switch my joint around.

TNL: Speaking of names, you have several nicknames or aliases. DJ Kay-Slay from around the way, Kay-Slay, the Drama King and the craziest one, DJ Kay-Slay a/k/a Slap Your Favorite DJ. Where do these come from?

K.S. It’s just a sign of the times in rap music. Everybody is looking for drama, for controversy. I am that man in the streets.

TNL: You say ‘the streets’ want drama?

K.S.: The streets want that hot shit. The streets decide what real rap music is. That decision is not made in skyscrapers or in the stock market. I am just tryin’ to keep that hard street flavor in the music.

TNL: You are releasing an album shortly. Is this going to have the same hard edge as your mixtapes?

K.S.: Hell Yeah! I am not going to change what I do. This is why the people holla at me. So I can’t turn my back now and stop keeping it real.

TNL: You have a track on the album featuring several of the all-time great mixtape DJ’s rapping. This is a great song and it is an important song. Tell the Next Level about it.

K.S.: It’s a hot track. It’s a historic track. These dudes have meant so much to Hip Hop music and I felt they deserved their own shine. The DJ is the foundation that Hip Hop music is built on. We started this thing and we have to keep it going.

TNL: Who are some of the artists that you like to work with?

K.S.: G-Unit, R.O.C., DIP SET, the LOX, whatever is real.

TNL: You like the dudes that keep it street?

K.S.: No question.

TNL: What else is crackin’ for DJ Kay-Slay?

K.S.: I am working on this label deal that will allow me to continue to promote the underground side of Hip Hop music and develop new artists.

TNL: You are about to take the streets to The Next Level?

K.S.: Exactly!

One Response to “BILLY SUNDAY’s True Hip-Hop Stories: DJ KAY SLAY”

  1. Robbie says:

    Ha! I was meant to interview him a few weeks back, but when I called KOCH they were running behind schedule. Apparently they tried calling me back but I was over it by then anyway. I had planned on asking him a bunch of questions about “Style Wars” anyways, since I have zero interest in his “North Meets South” LP.

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