The 45 King

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Mark James
Born October 1961 (age 52)
Origin Bronx, New York, United States
Genres Hip hop
Occupations Producer, Singer
Instruments Turntable
Labels Tuff City Records

The 45 King (born Mark James, October 1961), also known as 45 King, started DJing in New Jersey in the mid-1980s. The nickname the 45 King came from his ability to make beats using obscure 45 RPM records.


The 45 King first gained fame with his breakbeat track "The 900 Number" in 1987. The song featured a looping baritone sax solo from Marva Whitney's "Unwind Yourself". The 45 King signed with Tuff City Records that year and given a production deal. "The 900 Number" remains his signature work, having been resampled by many artists. He was also featured on the 1989-Hustlers Convention album on the UK label Music of Life, which is considered by many[who?] to be hip-hop's first-ever live album.The 45 king is also working currently with various artists and making a lot of new music.

Using his popularity from the previous release, the 45 King was able to help the other members of his crew, dubbed the Flavor Unit, which included many well-known hip-hop acts including Chill Rob G, Lakim Shabazz, Apache, and Queen Latifah. The 45 King's big break came when Queen Latifah signed with Tommy Boy Records in 1989 and released the album All Hail the Queen. The 45 King did extensive production on this album, and it is considered by critics[who?] to be among his best production work. Over the next few years, many other Flavor Unit members also signed with Tommy Boy, and the 45 King frequently contributed to their albums with his productions.[citation needed] In November 1989, the re-release of "The King is Here" / "The 900 Number" peaked at #60 in the UK Singles Chart; his only appearance in a UK chart.[1]

In the early 1990s, drug addiction took its toll on the 45 King's career, which caused him to lose a production deal that he signed with Warner Bros. Records. Around this time the 45 King released multiple series of breakbeat records (the Lost Breakbeat series, the Breakapalooza series, etc.) and remixed Madonna's Top-10 single "Keep It Together", but he stayed mainly with his breakbeat record franchises.

In July 1990, Manchester-born DJ Chad Jackson sampled "The 900 Number" on his single "Hear the Drummer (Get Wicked)", which reached #3 in the UK Singles Chart.[2] A rexed version was also a minor UK hit in 2007. Jackson was apparently unaware that the song had itself been sampled from the original "Unwind Yourself", as he creditted himself, and King, as co-writers of the song.[citation needed]

In 1996, Washington, D.C.-based go-go artist DJ DJ Kool had a hit with the song "Let Me Clear My Throat". It was a call-and-response vocals over a chopped half of the "900 Number" beat. DJ Kool did not just sample the track: he also acknowledged the 45 King's as the song's originator, and the 45 King remixed the track for Kool.

In 1998, the 45 King produced "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" for Jay-Z. The song was a hit that featured a looped chorus from the original cast album of the Broadway musical Annie. Jay Z also did an interview when he spoke about how important the 45 king has been to rap music and considers him a true pioneer of the business. In 2000, he produced the platinum-certified track "Stan" for Eminem.

The 45 King's Production Credits

»Paula Perry -Y'all Chickens Make Me Laugh - Fully-Blown Recordings, 2000 »Big Scoob - Can Du - White Label, 2000 »Eminem - Stan - Aftermath, 2000 »Various Artist Remixes - Rakim - Feeling You, Public Enemy - Bring the »Noise, - White Label, 2000 »Craig Mack - The Wooden Horse - White Label, 2000 »Common Sense - Car Horn - Groove Attack, 1999 »Peanut Butter Wolf - Run the Line (Remix) - Stones Throw, 1998 »Jay-Z - Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem) - Rock-A-Fella, 1998 »Fanclub Erdberg - Anton Polster Du Bist Leiwand - Mego, 1997 »Queen Latifah - Name Callin' - Tommy Boy, 1996 »C&C Music Factory - Do You Wanna Get Funky? (Remix) - Columbia, 1994 »PMD - Thought I Lost My Spot - MCA, 1993 »Diamond D - Best Kept Secret (Remix), Check 1, 2 - Mercury, 1992 »Apache - Do Fa Self, Tommy Boy, 1992 »Positively...Practical Jokes - Atlantic, 1991 »MC Lyte - Big Bad Sister, Kamikaze, Like a Virgin, Absolutely, »Lisa Stansfield - Been Around the World (Remix) - RCA, 1991 »Madonna - Keep it Together -(Remix) - Sire, 1990 »Maestro Fresh Wes - Drop the Needle (Remix) - LMR Records, 1990 »Lakim Shabazz - Lost Tribe of Shabazz (album) Tuff City, 1990 »Eric B. & Rakim - Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em (Remix) - MCA, 1990 »Digital Underground - Packet Man (Remix) - Tommy Boy, 1990 »Markey Fresh - The Mack of Rap - Jive, 1989 »X-Clan - Heed The Word Of The Brother - 4th & B'Way, 1989 »Eric B. & Rakim - Microphone Fiend (Remix) - MCA, 1989 »Salt-N-Pepa - My Mic Sounds Nice (Remix) - London, 1989 »Lord Alibaski - Lyrics in Motion / Top Gun - Tuff City, 1989 »King Sun - Fat Tape, It's A Heat Up - Zakia, 1989 »Chill Rob G - Ride the Rhythm (album) - Wild Pitch, 1989 »GangStarr - Gusto, Knowledge - Wild Pitch, 1989 »Queen Latifah - All Hail the Queen (album) - Tommy Boy, 1989 »Too Nice - Cold Facts (Remix) - Arista, 1989 »Double J - Bless the Funk - 4th & B'Way, 1989 »Chill Rob G - Chillin' - Wild Pitch, 1988 »Lakim Shabazz - Pure Righteousness (album) - Tuff City, 1988 »GangStarr - Movin on, Gusto, Knowledge - Wild Pitch, 1988 »Latee - No Tricks, Wake Up - Wild Pitch, 1988 »GangStarr - Movin' On, Bust a Move, To Be A Champion - Wild Pitch, 1987 »Latee - This Cut's Got Flavor, Puttin' On the Hits - Wild Pitch, 1987

Albums & Singles:

Beats of the Month - Bronx Science, 2000/2001 - November, December, January, February, March, April, May volumes of "Lost Breakbeat" style beats.

Beats for the New Millennium, Vol 1 & 2 - 45 King Records, 2000 - Some new shit from the King, featuring hot new beats. Some clips are featured in the sounds section.

Put the Funk Out There - Rock-A-Fella, 1999 - Bootleg of an unreleased promo compilation album. featuring Jay-Z, Chill Rob G., Latee, Queen Latifah, and Diamond D.

Universal Beat Generation, Vol 1-3 - Ultimate Dilemma, 1998 - This European label re-released "The Lost Breakbeats" under a new name.

Breakapalooza Vol 1 & 2 - Tuff City, 1997 - Yet more Tuff City beats.

Champain - Tuff City, 1997 - A 6 track EP featuring female rapper Champain.

Beats Don't Fail Me Now (12" Single) - CLR Records, 1997 - The 45 King's "comeback" record is a two-track EP featuring the songs "And You Don't Stop" and "Terrordome."

Breakamania, Vol 1-3 - Real Tuff Breaks, 1997 - Tuff City released a set of 3 CD's in 1997 featuring some vinyl-only treats from the 45 King that were original recorded around 1989.

Grooves for a Quiet Storm - Tuff City, 1996 - This is an all-instrumental album with a mellow, laid back feel. Very nice.

Killer Beets, Vol 1-3 - Music Station, 1996 - An instrumental battle record with popular looped beats.

Real Tuff Jazz, Tuff City, 1995 - This mysterious album (no track names) features some jazzy tracks spiced with horns. None of the tracks seem very polished; most sound like they're works in progress.

Zig-a-Ziggin ZZ - Tuff City, 1995 - Yet another breakbeat album.

Straight Outta Da Crate, Vol 1-5 - Tuff City, 1993 - Similar to the Lost Breakbeat series, these volumes contain funky instrumentals.

The Lost Breakbeats - 45 King Records - There are many LP's in this series. Volumes 1 & 2 were originally released in 1993, and the colored albums were released from 1994 through 1996.

45 Kingdom - Tuff City, 1990 - This is a partial "best of" the 45 King, consisting of material from his first two albums along with old classics like "The 900 Number" and "When A Wise Man Speaks."

Rhythmical Madness - Tuff City, 1990 - The 45 King collaborated with DJ Louie Louie to make a nice breakbeat album. Rappers Lakim Shabazz and Ron Delite also appear on the LP.

On A Mission - Ruffhouse, 1990 - This cut was taken from the "One Voice: Pride" LP, which was a compilation featuring "conscious" rap.

45 King Presents: The Original Flavor Unit - Tuff City, 1990 - Before the "new" Flavor Unit released an album in 1993, Tuff City released with this album by the "original" Flavor Unit. Most of the songs are demos from 1989 and earlier, but all are produced by the 45 King.

Master of the Game - Tuff City 1989

The King is Here (12" Single) - Tuff City, 1989 - Has rapping by Markey Fresh. This has a different version of "The King is Here" than appears on the "Master of the Game" LP.

Red, Black, and Green (12" Single) - Tuff City 1989 - Features rap by Lakim Shabazz.

When a Wise Man Speaks/Catching a 'Tude/Rocking With Tony H (12" Single) - Tuff City, 1989

The 900 Number EP - Tuff City, 1987 - The 45 King's breakthrough single, it has the original 900 Anthem with raps by Lakim Shabazz, a 45 King remix, and three Ced Gee (of Ultramagnetic MC's fame) remixes.

Funky Beats '84 - 45 King, 1984 - The 45 King's very first release, a 7-inch single with a live drumbreak.

Just Beats - 45 King, 198? - Old school electro-style breakbeats from the King.


  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 208. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 273. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

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