Hip-hop is currently in a period of mourning, as legendary Bronx-born producer and DJ Mark “The 45 King” James has passed away at age 62. As of writing this article, the cause of his death is still unknown, and he had previously celebrated his 62nd birthday just a couple of days prior. Moreover, DJ Premier announced the tragic news on Instagram on Thursday (October 19), stating that James passed that morning. He was best-known for his production work with many early rap hits, as well as collaborations with the likes of Eminem, Jay-Z, and many more excellent artists in the game. “R.I.P. DJ Mark The 45 King who passed this morning,” DJ Premier wrote. “An ICON. His 62nd Birthday was Monday. I never heard of Gang Starr until I heard DJ Red Alert play their 2nd single Produced by Mark on 98.7 Kiss in NYC.
“[I was] shopping my demos looking to get a record deal,” DJ Premier continued. “Red Alert was playing ‘Bust A Move Boy’ cutting it up cr*zy and I heard Guru’s voice wondering who the f**k is Gang Starr? I went and bought the 12inch single to discover the label Wild Pitch Records. From there my friend Carlos Garza in Houston told Stu Fine who owned Wild Pitch about me. I connected with them in 1988 when Guruu was looking for a new DJ and a permanent Producer. Mark is responsible for so many classics and was a member of the Iconic Crew FLAVOR UNIT. (Queen Latifah, Latee, Chill Rob G., Lakim Shabazz, Double J, Lord Alibaski, DJ Cee Justice, Apache, Naughty By Nature, Freddie Foxxx, Markey Fresh, Rowdy Rahz, Storm P and so many more members beyond whom I’ve mentioned please pardon me if I didn’t post your name).
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DJ Premier Honors DJ Mark “The 45 King” James
“His sound was unlike any other from his heavy drums and his horns were so distinct on every production,” DJ Premier went on. “He got a huge Warner Bros. deal and remixed the Classic Madonna single ‘Keep It Together’ and the raw remix of Eric. B and Rakim ‘I Know You Got Soul.’ The “900 Number” is a Super Classic, Queen Latifah’s “Wrath Of My Madness”, “Ladies First” w/ Monie Love, Chill Rob G’s “Court Is In Session”, Latee “Cuts Got Flavor”, the Historical Jay-Z hit “Hard Knock Life” and Eminem’s “Stan” to name a few of his catalog will forever ring bells.
“Beyond that, his vinyl releases of breakebeats are beyond any DJ of the 80’s/90’s Era, practically endless,” he concluded. “Thanks Dave Lotwin (D & D) for Facetiming me Tuesday in the hospital to salute him 1 last time before he transitioned. I know he heard me loud and clear. Condolences to his brother Mike and his sister. It’s so much more to say but I’ll leave it here. Sleep Peacefully Mark thank you for all that you’ve done. You’re such a special part of our culture that is chiseled in the stone of the greatest parts of us. LOVE YOU MARK. R.I.P. GURUU, Apache, Double J, Markey Fresh.” Tributes also came from The Alchemist, Kid Capri, Young Guruu, and many more. For more news and updates on Mark, DJ Premier, and other hip-hop legends, stay up to date on HNHH. Our deepest condolences go out to James’ loved ones.
Rest In Power DJ Mark “The 45 King” James.