BUFFALO, N.Y. — If you listen to hip-hop, then you know the name DJ Shay, especially if you are from Buffalo.
"His ear for music was so epic, he knew who was going to be great," said Rick Hyde, a rapper and producer.
Demetrius Robinson was DJ Shay's real name. He was 48 years old when he died earlier this week from COVID-19-related complications. Friends say he had other health issues.
"Please stay safe and take it seriously because the minute you don't, it can effect you very, very closely," Hyde said.
He was a hip-hop guru from Buffalo who made sure his hometown was known in the genre.
"He knew what he wanted music to sound like, and he executed it the way he wanted it to be," Hyde said.
He produced for artists that signed to Jay-Z's label. Hyde remembers the day it happened.
"Jay-Z walks in the room greets us formally, and the first thing Jay-Z says is, 'Y'all want to pop the champagne first? Or y'all want to sign the papers?' "
DJ Shay was closely associated with the Griselda powerhouse: Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, and Benny the Butcher.
He is the grandson of the late Count Rabbit, a member of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.
DJ Shay died in Atlanta. He will be buried in Buffalo. A service is planned for Thursday.