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Hip-Hop Pioneer DJ Mark The 45 King Dead at 62

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Mark Howard James, professionally known as DJ Mark The 45 King, died Thursday, Oct. 19. He turned 62 on Monday, Oct. 16.

The 45 King’s death was announced by DJ Premiere in an Instagram post. No cause of death was disclosed.

“R.I.P. DJ Mark The 45 King who passed this morning. An ICON. His 62nd Birthday was Monday,” he wrote.

The 45 King was a popular hip hop producer and DJ from The Bronx, New York. He began DJing in the mid-1980s. He chose the pseudonym, 45 King, due to his preference for making beats from old 45 RPM records.

The 45 King rose to fame with his breakbeat track “The 900 Number” in 1987. The song has been resampled by many artists.

The 45 King produced beats for his crew, dubbed the Flavor Unit, which included Chill Rob G, Lakim Shabazz, Apache, and Queen Latifah.

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His big break came when he produced tracks on Queen Latifah’s album All Hail the Queen in 1989. His production on the album is considered by critics to be among his best work.

In 1996, Washington, D.C.-based go-go artist DJ Kool recorded his hit song “Let Me Clear My Throat” over the 45 King’s “900 Number” beat. DJ Kool acknowledged the 45 King as the song’s originator.

In 1998, the 45 King produced “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” for Jay-Z from his album Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life. The song featured the chorus from the original cast album of the Broadway musical Annie.

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In an interview, Jay Z praised the 45 King’s contributions to hip hop music and called him a true pioneer of hip-hop.

The 45 King produced beats for Eric B. & Rakim – “Microphone Fiend (Remix)”, Salt-N-Pepa – “My Mic Sounds Nice (Remix)”, Queen Latifah – “Come Into My House (Mark 45 King Mix)”, Madonna – “Keep it Together (Remix)”, Eminem – “Stan”, and more.




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