The 45 King
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|Born||October 16, 1961|
|Origin||Bronx, New York, United States|
|Occupation(s)||Record producer, disc jockey|
|Labels||45 King Records, Tuff City Records|
Mark Howard James (born October 16, 1961) professionally known as The 45 King (also known as DJ Mark the 45 King), is an American hip hop record producer and disc jockey (DJ) from The Bronx borough of New York City. James began DJing in New Jersey, in the mid-1980s. His pseudonym, 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 of a baritone sax solo from Marva Whitney's "Unwind Yourself" (1968). The 45 King signed with Tuff City Records that year and was 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.
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. 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.
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. A remixed 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 credited himself, and King, as co-writers of the song.
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 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 hip hop music and considers him a true pioneer of the business. In 2000, he produced the platinum-certified track "Stan" for Eminem.
Selected production credits
- Paula Perry -Y'all Chickens Make Me Laugh - Fully-Blown Recordings, 2000
- Big Scoob - Can Du - White Label, 2000
- Eminem - Stan - Aftermath/Interscope/Universal, 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 (The Ghetto Anthem) - Roc-A-Fella/IDJMG/Universal, 1998
- Fanclub Erdberg - Anton Polster Du Bist Leiwand - Mego, 1997
- Queen Latifah - Name Callin' - Tommy Boy/Warner Bros., 1996
- C&C Music Factory - Do You Wanna Get Funky? (Remix) - Columbia/SME, 1994
- PMD - Thought I Lost My Spot - RCA/BMG, 1993
- Diamond D - Best Kept Secret (Remix), Check 1, 2 - Chemistry/Mercury/PolyGram, 1992
- Apache - Do Fa Self, Tommy Boy/Warner Bros., 1992
- Positively...Practical Jokes - Atlantic, 1991
- MC Lyte - Big Bad Sister, Kamikaze, Like a Virgin, Absolutely - First Priority Music/Atlantic
- Lisa Stansfield - "All Around the World" (Remix) - Arista/BMG, 1990
- Madonna - Keep it Together (Remix) - Sire/Warner Bros., 1990
- Maestro Fresh Wes - Drop the Needle (Remix) - LMR/RCA 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/Warner Bros., 1990
- Queen Latifah - Come Into My House (Mark 45 King Mix) - Tommy Boy/Warner Bros., 1990
- Markey Fresh - The Mack of Rap - Jive/RCA, 1989
- X-Clan - Heed The Word of the Brother - 4th & B'Way/Island/PolyGram, 1989
- Eric B. & Rakim - Microphone Fiend (Remix) - MCA, 1989
- Salt-N-Pepa - My Mic Sounds Nice (Remix) - Next Plateau/London/PolyGram, 1989
- Lord Alibaski - Lyrics in Motion / Top Gun - Tuff City, 1989
- King Sun - Fat Tape, It's A Heat Up - Zakia/Profile, 1989
- Chill Rob G - Ride the Rhythm (album) - Wild Pitch/EMI, 1989
- Gang Starr - Gusto, Knowledge - Wild Pitch/EMI, 1989
- Queen Latifah - All Hail the Queen (album) - Tommy Boy/Warner Bros., 1989
- Too Nice - Cold Facts (Remix) - Arista/BMG, 1989
- Double J - Bless the Funk - 4th & B'Way/Island/PolyGram, 1989
- Chill Rob G - Chillin' - Wild Pitch/EMI, 1988
- Lakim Shabazz - Pure Righteousness (album) - Tuff City, 1988
- Gang Starr - Movin on, Gusto, Knowledge - Wild Pitch/EMI, 1988
- Latee - No Tricks, Wake Up - Wild Pitch/EMI, 1988
- Gang Starr - Movin' On, Bust a Move, To Be A Champion - Wild Pitch/EMI, 1987
- Latee - This Cut's Got Flavor, Puttin' On the Hits - Wild Pitch/EMI, 1987
- 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
- Put the Funk Out There - Rock-A-Fella, 1999
- Universal Beat Generation, Vol 1-3 - Ultimate Dilemma, 1998 (European label "The Lost Breakbeats" re-release)
- Breakapalooza Vol 1 & 2 - Tuff City, 1997
- Champain - Tuff City, 1997
- Beats Don't Fail Me Now (12" Single) - CLR Records, 1997
- Breakamania, Vol 1-3 - Real Tuff Breaks, 1997
- Grooves for a Quiet Storm - Tuff City, 1996
- Killer Beets, Vol 1-3 - Music Station, 1996
- Real Tuff Jazz - Tuff City, 1995
- Zig-a-Ziggin ZZ - Tuff City, 1995
- Straight Outta Da Crate, Vol 1-5 - Tuff City, 1993
- The Lost Breakbeats - 45 King Records, 1993-1996
- 45 Kingdom - Tuff City, 1990
- Rhythmical Madness (with DJ Louie Louie) - Tuff City, 1990
- On A Mission (from "One Voice: Pride") - Ruffhouse, 1990
- 45 King Presents: The Original Flavor Unit - Tuff City, 1990
- Master of the Game - Tuff City, 1989
- The King is Here (with Markey Fresh) (12" Single) - Tuff City, 1989
- Red, Black, and Green (with Lakim Shabazz) (12" Single) - Tuff City, 1989
- When a Wise Man Speaks/Catching a 'Tude/Rocking With Tony H (12" Single) - Tuff City, 1989
- The 900 Number EP - Tuff City, 1987
- Funky Beats '84 - 45 King, 1984
- Just Beats - 45 King, 198?
- "45 King". Twitter.
- "The 45 king addressing his stage name". The 45 King's official YouTube channel.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 208. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 273. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.