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Mark Howard James (born October 16, 1961) professionally known as The 45 King (also mistakenly 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 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 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 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'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.
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 (The Ghetto Anthem) - Roc-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 - "All Around the World" (Remix) - RCA, 1990 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 Queen Latifah - Come Into My House (Mark 45 King Mix) - 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
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?