Hip-hop producer DJ Shay, who worked closely with Griselda Records and the Black Soprano Family, has died, a representative of Griselda confirmed to Pitchfork. "You were EVERY step along the way," Westside Gunn wrote in an Instagram post, noting that DJ Shay was diagnosed with COVID-19 this summer. "It was an honor to make your dream of Buffalo Hip-Hop come true."
In addition to Westside Gunn, DJ Shay worked frequently with Benny the Butcher, Conway the Machine and others. He also founded the Buff City Records label. DJ Shay was 48 years old.
DJ Shay, born Demetrius Chawton Robinson, started DJing local events in Buffalo at the age of 10 after receiving a record player for Christmas. "They had me in the kitchen because I couldn't be in the bar," he said in an interview about his earliest appearances. He eventually started making beats and working with the early 90s hip hop group Brother / Hood Nation. At the end of the decade, he released a number of compilation albums called Unsigned City, which highlighted local artists.
Shay met Benny the Butcher and Conway the Machine in the 2000s and began manufacturing, managing, and recording productively with them. "I knew 16 years ago that I had the two best rappers in the world," he said in July 2020. "And today I still say the same thing."