Eminem & DJ Premier Mourn The Death Of Legendary Flavor Unit DJ Mark The 45 King

The Bronx native was produced several songs on Queen Latifah’s “All Hail The Queen,” Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life” and Eminem’s “Stan.”

Legendary Bronx DJ Mark The 45 King died on Wednesday (October 18) after celebrating his 62nd birthday just two days prior. While no cause of death has been specified, he had been sick for some time. DJ Premier is among the many paying tribute to the Flavor Unit legend. Moments after learning of his death, Preemo penned a lengthy Instagram caption outlining his many contributions to Hip-Hop culture.

“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 while shopping my demos looking to get a record deal,” he wrote. “Red Alert was playing ‘Bust A Move Boy’ cutting it up crazy and I heard Guru’s voice wondering who the f### is Gang Starr? I immediately went and bought the 12inch single to discover the label Wild Pitch Records. From there my friend Carlos Garza in Houston, TX told Stu Fine who owned Wild Pitch about me and I connected with them in 1988 when Guru 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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Mark The 45 King (real name Mark Howard James) began making music in the 1980s. His name referred to his ability to make beats using 45 RPM records. After dropping “The 900 Number” in 1987, his big break came two years later when fellow Flavor Unit member Queen Latifah signed with Tommy Boy Records and released All Hail the Queen. The 45 King did extensive production on the album and earned countless accolades for the project. After wrestling with drug addiction throughout the ’90s, he cleaned up his act and produced “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” for Jay-Z in 1998. In 2000, he produced the platinum-certified track “Stan” by Eminem.

DJ Premier added a little context into his passing, revealing he got to talk to The 45 King one last time as he laid in the hospital the day before he died.

“His sound was unlike any other from his heavy drums and his horns were so distinct on every production,” he continued. “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.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. Such a nice person.
You’re such a special part of our culture that is chiseled in the stone of the greatest parts of us. LOVE YOU MARK.”

Eminem also chimed in, tweeting, “Legends are never over. #RIP Mark Howard James aka The 45 King … I’m 4ever grateful!!!”

Van Silk offered an additional detail into his medical condition, telling AllHipHop, “I stayed in touch with him. He will definitely be missed. He is a brother that I have known on his come up. He from the Bronx and started carrying records from Brothers Disco Dj Breakout and Baron which is the family of the original Funky 4. He produced many hits many may not know about, including Jay-Z’s ‘Hard Knock Life.’ His memory was gone. He didn’t remember a lot of things.”

AllHipHop sends our condolences to Mark The 45 King’s loved ones. Find additional reactions below.