dj mark the 45 king

Mark The 45 King, Who Produced Jay-Z’s ‘Hard Knock Life,’ Is Dead At 62

Legendary music producer Mark Howard James, known to hip-hop heads as DJ Mark the 45 King, died Thursday, Oct. 19, days after his 62nd birthday, according to an Instagram post by DJ Premier.

The world was introduced to Queen Latifah and The Flavor Unit in part because of the production skills of DJ Mark the 45 King.

“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, Shakim and so many more members beyond whom I’ve mentioned please pardon me if I didn’t post your name),” DJ Premier wrote.

“His sound was unlike any other from his heavy drums and his horns were so distinct on every production.”


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Latifah’s debut album, All Hail the Queen, was produced almost entirely by DJ Mark the 45 King and included the hit songs that made the rapper a household name, including “Ladies First,” “Wrath of My Madness,” and “Dance For Me.”

The Queen acknowledged him on her Facebook page.

“I love you, Mark❤️ thank you for everything!!! thank you for teaching me taking me under your wing, teaching me about this thing called hip-hop, and so much more!”

DJ Mark the 45 King provided the sound of the Jay-Z hit that catapulted his career: “Hard Knock Life.” Another pop classic that Mark was responsible for was the Eminem hit, “Stan.”

Eminem also thanked the producer on his X account.

The cause of death has not yet been disclosed.