DJ Ready Red, Collins Leysath was an integral figure in Houston’s rap scene in its earliest days, serving as the DJ and producer for the moderately regional Ghetto Boys as we became the internationally known Geto Boys. In doing so, he was a musical pioneer, creating a trademark sound for Houston’s storied Rap-A-Lot label as a pioneering hip-hop producer from the South. Red died Friday August 24, of an apparent heart attack at his Cherry Hill, New Jersey home. He was 53.
Red was a DJ and producer whose affinity for comic books, kung-fu movies, sound effects and TV themes found its way into his music, an approach to building music that was years ahead of its time.
Though Red died in his New Jersey and originally hailed from the Garden State, he made an enduring mark on the Third Coast. He moved to Houston in 1987 and threw himself into the city’s nightlife, eventually arranging a meeting with J. Prince, the Rap-A-Lot founder at the car lot where J worked. Red impressed the producer and label head with his DJ skills, and J let him set up shop on the property. With two turntables and a drum machine, he become the Geto Boys DJ and in-house producer from 1987-1991.
His recorded output in later years was small. But by charting a path for the sound of Southern hip-hop, DJ Ready Red, known affectionately as, “The Musical Enforcer” earned pioneer status as an artist well ahead of his time.