DJ Kay Slay: Breaking Records

Throughout Hip-Hop, there are record executives and several rappers that have instilled fear in the hearts of many. Behind the turntables, the same may be true of Kay Slay. Still, “The Drama King” didn’t use those tactics to get into the industry. Instead, the East Harlem native has been involved in Hip-Hop for four decades, […]

Throughout Hip-Hop, there are record executives and several rappers that have instilled fear in the hearts of many. Behind the turntables, the same may be true of Kay Slay. Still, “The Drama King” didn’t use those tactics to get into the industry. Instead, the East Harlem native has been involved in Hip-Hop for four decades, and four elements.

As the Hot97 DJ will be quick to defend, perhaps the stigma behind “The Drama King,” is a misconception. After all, Kay Slay has been a hero to the unsigned rapper. He was there for 50 Cent, and today, he’s backing Papoose into his own rise to fame. The mixtape veteran holds it down for his community, the old school, and his art. I guess let’s start with being “The Drama King,” what’s with all the drama?

Kay Slay: Well really, it’s more-so drama in the music because it’s just like everybody plays the political game and when it comes to certain people, I’m just the type of person that felt like this is Hip-Hop, and if you in it, you in it. And if somebody challenges you to a battle, you supposed to pick up your pen and pad and go to work. Listening to some of the stuff you’ve said to cats on mixtapes though, it would appear that you get pleasure form going at these cats the way you do. Is it all just business for you or do you just like pissing people off?

Kay Slay: I mean…I’m into Hip-Hop, understand? So if everybody’s in this game for all the right reasons, then they know the rules of the game. I’m around a lot of different types of artists, and I know a lot of them don’t really know what this whole thing here is about. I know some of them don’t know who who Kool Moe Dee is or Busy Bee; they don’t know about their battle… and if they don’t know, that’s their problem. But as far as I’m concerned, I’m just here to do what I was put here to do. So is it okay for an artist just coming out to go after a top dog like Jay-Z in the spirit of battling?

Kay Slay: Nah, nah, nah, I don’t cosign that. Stay in your zone. Okay, but if this person feels like he can hold his own and he wants to call out Jay or whomever, what is earning your stripes?

Kay Slay: Earning your stripes is just like if a new website came out yesterday, and they was sayin’ that they were number one and AllHipHop sucks, and nobody should f**k with y’all. You know damn good and well that if y’all respond to that, y’all are putting them on the same level as y’all, so you gonna ignore it. So I feel like it’s a due-paying process, nobody should be able to just come out and go after Jay-Z, I’m not honoring that. Although I don’t agree with all the beefing, I understand it as a proponent of Hip-Hop…

Kay Slay: Now see when you say beef, it’s not beef. Beef is like what Biggie told people. Beef is when you can’t take your daughter to school ‘cause you don’t want her to get hurt because of you. Beef is when you have to move your mother out of an area where people know her. That’s beef. I don’t know what this is that cats are doing ‘cause Number One: If it was beef, you wouldn’t be talking about it giving statements to the police and dry snitching and Number Two: All you gotta do is show up, you know where the show is gonna be, go to the show, and take they head off. You know the s**t ain’t beef, it’s drama, it’s entertainment. But how do you keep situations from escalating?

Kay Slay: I mean, whatever is gonna be in life, is gonna be. None of our s**t is more powerful than the Creator, so if that’s what he put in your destiny, then that’s what he put there. Going back to snitching for a minute, isn’t everything said on wax about what goes on in the streets dry-snitching?

Kay Slay: That’s true, but if don’t attach names to it, and you just talking about life experience, then it is what it is. But once you start having peoples’ names and begin to get intricate with details where people can figure out who you’re talking about, then that’s not cool. So let’s play devils advocate and say if someone were snitching in the name of justice and doing what’s right in order to solve a crime then why isn’t it okay?

Kay Slay: You can’t confuse a civilian with somebody from the hood. You could be from any borough and take a p### on the street, and n***as would walk by like, “Whatever.” But if you do that s### on 52nd Street and 5th Avenue, a white man will calmly go tell a police officer, “Hey, that man is urinating on the corner,” and he’s gonna be able to go back to his neighborhood and not have people care that he told. But in the hood, somebody can violate another individual and that person can go to his office and crack his head and keep it moving, you just gotta stay strapped because when he sees you again he’s gonna get back at you. You try to go to a record label and crack somebody’s head and that guy is gonna call the cops and he’s not gonna worry about what you say about this that or the other so you really cant confuse civilian life with life on the streets. What’s your favorite old and new school battle?

Kay Slay: I would have to say Force MD’s [vs.] Cold Crush Brothers. More recently, it would have to be Jay and Nas, because it was more on the Hip-Hop side than drama. Do you ever feel caught in the middle as a DJ?

Kay Slay: Naw, I never feel like I’m in the middle. I don’t mean in the middle like you’re the cause, but like you have to choose sides?

Kay Slay: I’m never in the middle. This is a business, ya understand? It’s just like if I’m disagreeing with a DJ, they’re not gonna say I’m not gonna give this record to this DJ because he’s beefing with Kay Slay, that’s bulls**t. They’re going to give the record and the beat to the DJ ‘cause they have nothing to do with it. These are grown ass men. Yes we all miss Justo, I’ve been hearing a lot of banter about things going on as far as the difficulty of putting on this years awards.

Kay Slay- Yea, I don’t know what’s going on, I just know I’m gonna support it when it happens. I just think it’s too many people trying to be involved and I don’t really want to speak on it because I love Justo and his family might feel a certain way about things being ran by certain people and they want it to go one way and I think Titanic and them want to do it another way but it’s so much confusion that I’m just kinda leaning back. everybody knows DJ Kay Slay, what is something they might not know about you, any hobbies?

Kay Slay: I think [some] people know that I draw. That’s my alter-ego, graffiti, drawing, all that. When I was younger, that was my craft. What types of things do you draw?

Kay Slay: Characters, all types of things… whatever comes to my mind. So does that mean we have some animation coming?

Kay Slay: I ain’t into it like that, but I still go out to the park where we got this wall we started back in ’81 called “The Graffiti Hall of Fame,” and I still go once a year and link up until some old heads I used to run with, and lace the wall. Other than that, it’s not enough hours in the day for me to do that – especially how deep into the game I am right now. Totally off topic, if you were a superhero what would be your superhero power?

Kay Slay: To take away all the poverty in the hood. Are you involved in your community?

Kay Slay: Yes, I have a tournament that I do in the projects for the kids eight [years old] and up. I get ‘em trophies and everything, and there’s no losers. I like that, that’s important that everyone gets rewarded.

Kay Slay: Yeah, I do it every year for the kids. I invite some rappers and stuff down to get involved. Last year, Ron Artest came down. This year it’s gonna be August 19th, at East River Housing [Projects] on 151st Avenue. It’s all day event. I have a lot of different things going on and I’ve been doing it the past nine years, so it’s something that people know that I do. It’s important for our kids to have something going on in the midst of all this other crap going on in the world including wars and all that. Do you know anyone in Iraq?

Kay Slay: Yeah, I know a few people. I have a friend who’s a Sergeant, who goes back and forth. Do you think we should be over there?

Kay Slay: I don’t really speak on it much, but when you get down to the real s**t going on, hell no we shouldn’t be there. But if our kids gotta be there then these people in Congress and the White House need to have their kids over there too. But since none of them will ever go, why is it that we gotta send all our little black sons and daughters to fight in a war that’s being fought for no reason? I don’t see the reasoning behind that but now it’s to a point where if they pull out, they look stupid, so they’re like, “F**k it.” How long are y’all gonna be out there letting people die? When there’s no more soldiers to fight? Then that means we lost. Let’s bring it back to our streets. How do you know an artists like a Papoose has it before he’s on?

Kay Slay: I just got a good ear. And with him, it’s like if rappers are on a topic and he’s coming at me with a different topic, he was saying stuff people needed to hear. It was also his intellect and things I seen early on and I said all I gotta do is get this kid to listen to me and I’m gonna make him big. What’s the biggest misconception that people have about you?

Kay Slay: That I’m a trouble maker. Could it be the title Drama King?

Kay Slay: That’s exactly what it is, but anybody who knows me knows how I move, I don’t like movin’ with a lot of people. Number One: 99% of time when people see me, I’m by myself and [Number] Two: I’m just like anybody else. If you do something to me, I am going to attack. But with my situation, it’s more [that] you hear what I did, but you don’t hear why I did it. But trust me, it’s all a reaction. I’m a grown ass man – I don’t just run around doing s**t, I don’t have time for that.