Hip hop producer and entrepreneur, MARK JAMES died on Thursday October 19th. He was aged 62. No further details have been provided.
Hailing from the Bronx, King became a DJ in the mid-80s and was quickly dubbed “the 45 King” for his knack of creating beats from obscure, old 45 rpm soul records. His most famous sample being taken from Marva Whitney’s ‘Unwind Yourself’ (which itself was a cover of an old Hank Ballard song).
King’s breakthrough came when he produced Queen Latifah’s 1989 ‘All Hail The Queen’ album on Tommy Boy. He went on to produce other acts for the label and in 1989 he had his own chart entry with ‘The King Is Here’/’The 900 Number’. He then signed a production deal with Warner Bros but drug issues meant the deal delivered nothing significant, is
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 charts. Jackson was apparently unaware that the song had itself been sampled from the original Whitney/Ballard ‘Unwind Yourself’, as he credited himself, and King, as co-writers of the song.
In 1998, the 45 King produced ‘Hard KnockLife’ for Jay Z. The song was a hit and featured a looped chorus from the original cast album of the Broadway musical ‘Annie’ In an interview, Jay-Z spoke on the 45 King’s importance to hip hop and called him a true pioneer of the genre. In 2000, King produced the platinum-certified track ‘Stan’ by Eminem.