DJ Mark The 45 King? I am sure most people know the name from that whiny hit ('Stan') and a good Jay-Z track ('Hard Knock Life'),"900 Number"? but how much do some really know about the 45 King and why isn't he mentioned in peoples top producers lists?.
I don't have the answers, but I can provide as much information and background as I can one of the World's greatest ever producers, please read on...
New Jersey's Mark "The 45 King" James was raised on good music and after his sister bought him a pair of turntables and a mixer in the mid 70's, there was no turning back for the 45 King, a man named Jerome Miller taught Mark how to mix and later introduced him to Breakout of the old school rap crew Funky Four Plus One More, who Mark was assigned as a record passing boy to. While the 45 King did this stint, he learned a great deal about breakbeats, scratches and cuts and during the late 70's and collected thousands of old soul 45's, funk 45's earning him the 45 King title, Mark The 45 King is synonymous with a classic sound, sparse and often stripped back drum loops,jeep ready basslines, funk and soul samples and he had the ill horns way before Pete Rock became as famous for horn samples as he was ad-libbing on his remixes (uh yeah, another Pete Rock remix etc...)
Mark was also a pioneering digger that used many classic breaks before most producers even knew about them (ie Jeff Beck's "Come Dancing" ) and Mark released more than a couple of handfuls of breaks albums,Master of The Game, 45 Kingdom,Beats of The Month (Bronx Science) including one with Louie Louie-Rhythmical Madness and his first ever beats LP-Just Beats(1987), which had only a limited pressing of a 1000 copies(that must be worth some serious $$$$ if some heads still have originals right?).
It wasn't until 1987 that the 45 King's style and sound was first introduced to radio and the Hip Hop heads, the classic "This Cuts Got Flavor" was created using Casio RZ1 drum machine, the track was incredibly sparse but Latee's voice was commanding and as Guru said it was mostly the voice, I remember hearing this on The Wednesday Nite Jam and had to wait another 2 weeks before they played it again, but by the time the next Wednesday came around my finger was firmly on the record button and I got it and listened to over and over, at first it was the drums and then it was Latee's voice and flow,I had a feeling that we were going to be hearing more from these two and when they played "No Tricks" on a later show I was hooked at this time though I had very little money for records so I settled for the radio tapings.
From then on The Original Flavor Unit quickly formed, with a certain lady named Queen Latifah (originally in an all Female crew called Ladies Fresh) getting a lot of love on radio and in the clubs for "Wrath of My Madness" in 1988, Latifah had actually gone to the same school as Mark and was good friends with him and through The Ruler Lord Ramsey and the King himself, Latifah got a record deal on Tommy Boy records, 1989's All Hail The Queen is hailed as a great album and rightly so, Latifah also had production from Daddy-O, Prince Paul and Louie Louie as well as the passing the mic back and forth track with Mark "A King and Queen Creation".
NB: Big Thanks to Robbie at the truly ill www.unkut com for the classic pic and for the earlier postings and interviews (see link below)
Then came the great (and very missed) Lakim Shabazz (first known as MC La-Kim) who's deep and powerful voice, was always full of pride of his heritage and where he came from, his voice and Mark's beats were one of the greatest combinations of the late 80's and Lakim's debut album, Pure Righteousness is essential in any rap collection, as are the non-lp singles "Red, Black and The Green","Your Arms Too Short To Box With God" and his 2nd album, 1990's The Lost Tribe of Shabazz.
La has a my space page and talked about a new album, check this link for more info
^The Original Flavor Unit also consisted of DJ Cee Just (Lakim's DJ)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FdM9rnzKQk Lakim Shabazz and DJ Cee Just and a hype Dancer performing live on Night Music in the late1980's.
Chill Rob G was another MC with a deep and powerful voice who blessed Mark's beats always, his debut album Ride The Rhythm (1989) is packed tight with infectious loops and dope drums and even an ill Police sample and the original version of The Power, which some chump named Turbo B and his wack production team called Snap ripped off, bit and chew and had a huge club and chart hit, but it was the 45 King that used those bells and the female vocal sample first and never got credit it, it's all good Snap vanished and no one knows who Turbo fucking B is but they do know the name Chill Rob G and that's all that matters.
Lord Alibaski is famous for his joints "Top Gun" and "Lyrics In Motion", both being classic slices of 45 King funk and smooth Alibaski rhymes,plus he also had "Crunch Time" Produced by The Mighty Maestro) & "What A Rapper Does" off the 45 King Presents The Flavor Unit LP .
Last year on the great unkut Robbie.E did a piece on Chill Rob G and Lord Alibaski ended up signing in and saying what he had been doing and where he had been for so many years.
Markey Fresh first debuted on "The King Is Here" (1988) which became an anthem for Kool DJ Red Alert's (Yeaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh) radio show and his We Can Do This album,which was an ode to the great 45 King, he later released "Mack of Rap" and "No Thang" (not releases as a 12"),all tracks had fat drums and dope samples and Fresh was perfectly suited, his flow was effortless.
Double J released just the one album, The Hitman (1991) which was good but could have been better but had the club based "Bless The Funk" and "Double J'z Tantrum" which were dope tracks as was "Cannibal Town", Double J later formed Maniac Mob with Leader One-EZD and had "Get Up" (produced by 45 King) on the first D&D Project LP.
Double J was also a beatmaker himself and produced most of his The Hitman album and produced 2 tracks in Apache's album.
In 1995 Mark also produced "Jersey State of Mind"in 1995 for Queen Latifah, which became a part of the dope New Jersey Drive movie (I always get scenes in my head when I listen to this).
Apache-first appeared on The Flavor Unit LP (1990) and had a little success with the 1993 single "Gangsta Bitch" (produced by Q-Tip) and with his album Apache Aint Shit (1993), which had production from Diamond-D, Large Professor,S.I.D, Double J and Apache himself, Apache also produced "Smooth Yet Hard" on the 45 King & Louie Louie-Rhythmical Madness LP, he also had a small bit part in the 1993 Who's The Man movie.
DJ Ad and Shakim (who went to run Flavor Unit record with Latifah in 1993)close associates were Lord Finesse and Mike Smooth, Jamose, who released the classic Louie Loiue produced "The Rhymthologist" (1989),Large Professor, Nikki D,Sidney Reynolds (S.I.D.) and King Sun and The Mighty Maestro.
From the late 1980's to the the mid 00's The 45 King had produced, mixed and/or remixed the following (NB: List contains artists mentioned above and list is artists A-Z)
Aaliyah-Try Again (remix),Your Girl 2000 (remix)
Apache-I Feel Like Flowing, Smooth But Hard, Do Fa Self, Flavor Unit Assassination Squad & remix,Passin The Mike
Big Pooh-Roll With Me, Simplicity, Still The One, Harlem Bros, Drop Da Bomb
Big Scoob-Can Du
Biz Markie-Turn Back The Hands of Time
Bush Babees-The Love Song (remix)
C & C Music Factory_Do You Wanna Get Funky (remix)
Carry Von Murry-Lady
Celph Titled-Right Now
Chill Rob G-Chillin, Ride The Rhythm LP, Let Me Know (remix), Simplicity, Go Off Rob, Taking Them Back
Class A Felony
Cold Crush Brothers-Heartbreakers (remix),We Reserve The Right To Rock (remix)
Craig Mack-Wooden Horse
David Bowie-Fame 90
Def Jef -Don't Sleep,
Diamond D-Best Kept Secret (Remix),Check 1-2, Double Dare, U Don't Owe Me
Digital Underground-Packetman (45 King's extended mix)
DJ Kool-Let Me Clear My Throat (remix)
Double J-Cannibal Town, Def Style, The Hitman LP,Flavor Unit Assassination Squad & remix, Big Ballers
Ed Lover and Dre-Who's The Man
Eric B & Rakim-Microphone Fiend (Remix),Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em (Remix),The R (Remix), I Know You Got Soul (45 King unreleased remix), Run for Cover, Mahagony Rakim: Feeling You, How I Get Down
Fanclub Erdberg-Anton Polster Du Bist Leiwand
Gangstarr-Knowledge, Gusto, Movin On' ,To Be A Champion, Bust A Move
Grandmaster Caz-A Girl Named Kim (remix)
Jay-Z-Hard Knock Life, Check It
Jibri Wise One-I'll Be There For You (remix)
John Davis & The Monster Orchestra-I Can't Stop (45 King Hip Hop Break Re- Mix)
Kid Capri-Put The Funk Out
King Sun-Fat Tapes, It's A Heat Up
Lady Champain-Super People,Welcome to the Terrordome, Drop Da Bomb
Lakim Shabazz-Pure Righteousness LP,Lost Tribe of Shabazz LP,The Red, The Black & The Green,When A Wise Man Speaks, Your Arms Too Short To Box with God,Hands of Fate,La-Kim Theme,Raw Dope Rhyme,900 Number (version off Master of The Game LP), Style is Free,Flavor Unit Assassination Squad & remix, Really Don't Want It, Flow Motion
Latee-No Tricks,Wake Up, This Cuts Got Flavor, Brainstorm,Passin The Mike
Puttin on The Hits,
Lati Rocks The Bells
Lisa Stansfield-Been Around the World (Remix)
Lord Alibaski-Top Gun,What It Takes To Be A Rapper, Lyrics in Motion,Flavor Unit Assassination Squad & remix
Lucy Hawkins-Gotta Get Outta Here (45 King original break mix)
Madonna-Keep it Together -(Remix)
Maestro Fresh Wes-Drop The Needle on the Record (remix)
Major Force- Orchids-I Will Call You (remix)
Maniac Mob-Get Up, Popcorn, Rock The Rhythm
Markey Fresh-The King is Here, No Thang, The Mack of Rap
MC Lyte-Big Bad Sister, Kamikaze, Like a Virgin, Absolutely,Practical Jokes
MC Sugar Ray & Stranger D-Knock Em Out (remix)
Miss Bell-7 Days
Mobb Deep-Scam (remix)
Paula Perry-Y'all Chickens Make Me Laugh
PMD-Thought I Lost My Spot
Princess Superstar-Bad Babysitter (remix)
Public Enemy-Bring The Noise (remix)
Queen Latifah-All Hail The Queen LP, Princess of the Posse (remix),Jersey State of Mind, Name Callin
Rasco-Run The Line (remix)
Ruff Jusdis-Keep Up With The Rhyme (Piano Mix)
Salt N Pepa-My Mic Sounds Nice (Remix)
Shelly Thunder-Working Girl (Extended Mix)
Spoonie Gee-Spoonin Rap (remix)
Stereo MCs -On 33 (remix)
Take 6 -Spread Love?
The Jaz-Sign of The Crimes,Rhymes For Da Funny Farm
Together Brothers-Get Off His & Get Off Mine
Too Nice-Cold Facts (remix)
Trey Lorenz-On and On
Wanda Dee-To The Bone
Wee Papa Girl Rappers-Wee Rule (Hip Hop Remix)
X-Clan-Heed The Word of a Brother
No info on remixes for Doug E Fresh, Antoinette and the info for 45 King's input on the Class A Felony
Please send me an e-mail or a comment if you know
Compilation coming soon...