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Buffalo music producer dies of COVID-19, local artists remember him

Posted at 11:58 PM, Aug 20, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The local music community is mourning the loss of a man who left a big mark on Buffalo's hip-hop scene. Music fans knew Demetrius Robinson as DJ Shay. Shay died after a battle with COVID-19.

Most recently Shay produced for Griselda Records. It includes Buffalo rappers like Benny The Butcher, Westside Gunn, and Conway the Machine. The group signed with Jay-Z's record label last year.

Benny worked with Shay for more than 15 years, and said it was an accomplishment just to meet him.

“Without Shay, I wouldn’t be where I’m at," he said. "He made it his job to come and pick me up, every morning at times, and wouldn’t drop me off at night. Sometimes we wouldn’t even record, he just wanted to break me in the habit of being in the studio.”

DJ Hassan of WBLK radio said he also owes part of his career to Shay. The two grew up together. Hassan would wait on the porch of Shay's Bissell Avenue home.

“He would teach me his DJ tricks, he was the DJ in the city, and he was someone I actually looked up to and helped me get started with my DJ career," he said.

Shay leaves behind the rappers he inspired.

“Anybody in Western New York that did something that’s notable on the music scene in hip hop, Shay did the music,” Hassan said.

Hassan is putting together a DJ Shay tribute show that will air on WBLK Saturday at 10 p.m. and Sunday at 8 p.m. It will include Shay's early projects through present day music.