Iconic hip-hop producer and renowned audio engineer The 45 King has passed away aged 62. The beatmaker (real name Mark James) was revealed to have died by the iconic DJ Premier, who, alongside James’ team, confirmed the news with Rolling Stone.
James was a silent assassin in hip-hop and worked alongside the likes of Eminem, Jay-Z, DJ Premier and more. He was even a prevalent figure in R’n’B and worked extensively with Mariah Carey.
Although he was known for his prolific career as a beatmaker, he also released a hip-hop classic in 1987, ‘The Number 900,’ which has been sampled numerous times and is considered a classic.
Songs that James helped craft include Queen Latifah’s ‘Wrath Of My Madness’, Jay-Z’s ‘Hard Knock Life’ and Eminem’s ‘Stan’. James emerged as part of New Jersey’s Flavor Unit, most known for birthing Queen Latifah. However, it also boasted characters such as Chill Rob G.
Since the news of his death became public, tributes from across the culture have poured in. In a statement to Variety, Queen Latifah said, “It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my beloved Mentor DJ Mark the 45 King!”
Jay-Z also paid tribute in a statement given to XXL, writing, “Thank you Mark. Your instrumentals, namely The 900 Number, were more memorable than our whole albums. You gave me a canvas to have a conversation with the whole world! You changed my life.”
The legend’s cause of death is yet to be revealed. However, as news of his passing spreads, tributes from the likes of Eminem, Alchemist and others continue to pour in for James, who was a greatly respected figure.