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I Know You Got Soul: DJ Kay Slay

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The last time I heard DJ Kay Slay get hyped for an R&B record it was in 2001. Kay, who is formally known as the Drama King, or Mr. Slap Your Favorite F-ing DJ was catering to the ladies, not the goons when he premiered "Never Be The Same Again" by Ghostface Killah with Carl Thomas on the hook. By the time Ghost boldly uttered, "It was the beauty that caught me and held my soul hostage, 'member those days had you smellin my boxers" Kay spun the record back without hesitation at least four times. A few weeks ago on his Hot 97 show, Kay was in rare form again with what will soon be a great comeback record for Carl Thomas. Here DJ Kay Slay, moves beyond street music showing his versatility on his appreciation for R&B music. Read the interview below.

INTERVIEW BY RICHARD "TREATS" DRYDEN

You show a lot of love to R&B and every now and then. Tell me how that started.

At the end of the day, as a DJ you're supposed to know your responsibilities. And it's not soley to play hip-hop, you know what I'm saying? Anybody that's a true hip-hop head or knows about the culture knows that hip-hop somewhat evolved from disco and R&B. So you can't remove that element once you think you've reached a certain level. I always try to incorporate R&B into what I do, not to mention the love I have for women. And women would rather listen to R&B than rap. It's something I'm supposed to do, and I also do it because there's a major audience for it.

Do you ever have trouble though playing both sides—R&B [for the ladies] and catering to the dudes also?

Nah because if any guy got common sense, most guys want to be where the ladies at. Ladies is gonna come to hear what they wanna hear. Guys follow women's leads a lot of times. If a guy meets a girl, and he wants to get with her, and she gets in the car and says, "Can you turn on 98.7 Kiss [pauses], I wanna hear some R&B," he's gonna do that if he got common sense. He not gonna be, 'fuck that.' So guys really follow girls' leads a lot. And I've never got no complaints about playing R&B shit. Any real nigga don't wanna hear that boom, bam, crash anyway.

When you play R&B sets, what do you play?

I can go from new to old. A new Trey Songz, I can flow into the new Usher, I can flow into a joint like Drake that got rap, but that's R&B oriented. I can go into a slight hip-hop set, like a mediocre and then jump into "Over Like A Fat Rat," "I Want To Thank You," "Outstanding," Gap Band, "Don't Look Any Further," Dennis Edwards, you understand? I jumps in and out of every angle. That's the whole thing, you get in, you get out, whatever you see the crowd feeling, you ride it a little longer. But once you see a couple of people might be breaking for the bar, you go into the next set.

When was the last time you really went in on an R&B set?

It might have been a good four months ago. Denver.

Denver? What was it like out there?

Weird. When I say weird, it's like, say up here if we go to club Mansion on a night that Rick Ross will be there, or Jim Jones, it's gonna be a predominantly black crowd. If you hear a rap name, it's predominantly black and Puerto Rican. You might see some white people dwindling throughout the party, but out THERE it was weird. It was white, black, chinese, latino. It was no race that was more than anybody. It was real weird to me to hear Kay Slay was coming out with Straight Stuntin magazine, which means it was urban women—you know big booty, urban chicks—Kay Slay, Drama King, street, and it was a mixed crowd.

So you and your people felt out of place?

No I didn't feel out of place. It's just that I wasn't expecting that, so I knew that I just couldn't do the core rap set that I really thought I was gonna be doing. I had to switch it up.

Did you go out there with some ladies?

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Matter of fact, it was just me and Bubbles went out there, [the] model Bubbles. There was also competition too. There was 30 girls that we had on-stage competing to win a spread in the magazine and 1,000 dollars.

Now, you host at Sue's Rendezvous? Or do you DJ at Sue's?

Yeah, yeah, I got a party coming up the 30th of this month. Yeah I host Sue's. I do some of my big events there, magazines release parties, so on and so forth.

But you don't exactly DJ there?

Nah I ain't gonna lie, the deejaying in the strip club is lame, to me. I'm a strip club dude. I'm not just a dude pimpin' the strip club scene because it's hot right now. When I was doing strip clubs back in '97, '98 and people were calling it... "Oh you're perverted!" You know how girls are. You go into strip clubs now, they're on line to get in there! The same dudes that were like, "Nah I don't go to strip clubs," they're online to get in there, or they're trying to DJ there! Now I'm at the point where I done built a rep, people don't even want me to DJ. They book me because they want me to host and they want me to bring a team of my ladies.

So it's beyond that now.

Yeah, with the strip club scene, they want to see me bring some ladies to put on a performace. they want me to see what I'ma do in the club.

Back to your Hot 97 show, many years ago when Bulletproof Wallets first came out with Ghostface, Raekwon, and Carl Thomas, you might have spun that record back like four times. Are you more of a supporter of Carl Thomas or is it just R&B in general?

I'm a big supporter of Carl Thomas because he's one of the guys that I think can really sing. You got a lot of studio gangsters out here, and you got guys that can really sing. Carl Thomas can really sing man. His first album, Emotional, I can still—up to this day—can listen to that album, beginning to end, don't skip a track. There's no track that I go, "No I don't want to hear that right now." Everything flows smoothly. And speaking of Carl Thomas (I'm the only cat right now), I got this record called "Blahzay Blah."

That's what I was gonna get to.

Over [Billy Squier] "Big Beat." Yeah, and I'm killing it.

You know I been searching the internet for like a good day trying to find it. I added you on Twitter, I went to Carl Thomas' MySpace page, and I couldn't find it.

You won't find it. What happened was, me and his manager grew kind of cool because me and Carl Thomas are kind of cool. He sent the joint to my e-mail. So, I'm looking at this e-mail, because I didn't know who sent it for like a month. I clicked on it, and I'm like, lemme hear what this shit is. It was Carl Thomas, over "Big Beat." I was like, "Ah somebody did a fucking mix." This was the first thing I said. I called him and said, "Yo, who sent this?" He's like, "I know you're a hip-hop head. I made Carl do a couple of new joints, and we wanted to give this to you. That's your personal joint, do what you want with it." From then on, I been destroying that shit.

Wow. So you support Carl Thomas, you're a big fan of his. But you guys have never worked together, have you?

Yeah we actually got a song we did about three years ago for Papoose's album that's really incredible. It's called "Holiday Love." I just never leaked it because once the situation fell through with Jive (with the deal that Papoose had). When the world hears it, it's just gonna impact.

But you worked with Ray J, on More Than A Just A DJ.

Yeah, i worked with Ray J, because even on his album, I A&R'ed his project and he had the hit, the "Sexy Can I" record. I A&R'ed that album, a lot of people ain't know that, but a couple of million ringtones, and a couple of million iTunes download sales with that project there. But when we was working on his project, I was working on cuts for my album too, so a lot of times there was songs I needed hooks for, either I wrote the hook and I told him, "Yo i need you to do this, or I need you to do that," and he just laid it.

That was such a huge look for the both of you because it was on the show, and it was the music bed for the first season. Anything else you have going on with R&B singers or looking to do?

I'm doing my final album. I'm always working. When one situation is out, I'm working on the next. That's just the kind of individual I am. The title of the project is called Rhyme Or Die. How I'ma do it is, a lot of the songs I got is gonna be R&B oriented hooks. Somebody that I am trying to get in contact with that was on my very first album intro (I'ma get him on the line this week) is Aaron Hall. Aaron was on my first album intro. Aaron Hall is a guy that can sing. I'm also gonna get Rell back on the album.

Oh my God.

He's on the hook of the song with Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks, Papoose, and Jim Jones. That's Rell on that hook. Somebody I always wnanted to get a song with is Anthony Hamilton. I'm pushing for that. I already talked to Lil' Mo. With me, I don't care about these big names that could be out now, I want the people that can go! That's what I'm into.

Like that could do a whole album acapella.

Exactly. Fucking stop the music, and be like, "Yo no music, go!" They not gonna stutter, they not gonna think about it, they gonna go, and they go in! That's what I want on this project here.

Posted: March 18, 2010
I Know You Got Soul: DJ Kay Slay