DJ Mark The 45 King died, What happened to the Producer? Cause of death & obituary

Dj Mark The 45 King
“45 King, Discoverer of Queen Latifah, Passes Away”(Image via IIIMuzik))


DJ Mark The 45 King died: The world of hip-hop is in mourning as it says goodbye to a true legend. The 45 King, a name synonymous with groundbreaking music, has left us.

He was the driving force behind the rise of Queen Latifah and went on to craft chart-toppers for icons like JAY-Z and Eminem. But it all started with those early Queen Latifah tracks and the creation of the legendary Flavor Unit crew. You might not know his name, but you’ve definitely grooved to his beats.

Remember the infectious rhythm of “The 900 Number” that Ed Lover danced to on Yo MTV Raps? That was him. And let’s not forget his magic touch on “Hard Knock Life” for Jay-Z and “Stan” for Eminem. The 45 King’s beats will forever be etched in hip-hop history. Here’s what we know everything about his passing and DJ Mark cause of death.

“The 45 King: A Hip-Hop legend passed away” 

As Hip-Hop commemorates its 50th anniversary, the industry mourns the loss of one of its most legendary producers. Mark James, renowned as the 45 King, played a pivotal role in founding the original Flavor Unit, a platform that catapulted the careers of artists such as Queen Latifah, Lakim Shabazz, Apache, Chill Rob G, and Latee.

Hailing from the Bronx and later relocating to New Jersey during his illustrious career, he was also recognized by the name Mark The 45 King. He passed away on Wednesday, just days after celebrating his 62nd birthday. A true Pioneer Legend of The Contribution To NJ Hip Hop And The World.

DJ Mark The 45 King Cause of death

Although the specific cause of his death has not been disclosed, it was known that he had been battling illness for some time. DJ Premier, a prominent figure in the music industry, was among the many who paid their respects to this Flavor Unit icon.

DJ Premier provided some insight into The 45 King’s final moments, sharing that he had the opportunity to have one last conversation with him while he was in the hospital the day before his passing.

Immediately upon hearing the news, DJ Premier took to Instagram to write a heartfelt tribute, highlighting The 45 King’s profound contributions to the world of Hip-Hop culture.


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DJ Premier, Bumpy Knuckles, and DJ Green Lantern are among the prominent figures who have openly shared their grief for the loss of 45 King.

In the past decade, the DJ and producer had triumphed over a heart attack, publicly acknowledging his journey to better health.

He proudly declared his decision to quit smoking and documented a remarkable weight loss, showcasing his resilience and determination in the face of adversity. 

Mark Howard James – A Pioneer of Hip Hop

Early Life and Beginnings

Mark Howard James, professionally known as The 45 King, was born on October 16, 1961, in The Bronx, New York. He made a significant mark in the world of hip-hop as a producer and DJ. His journey into the music industry began in the mid-1980s, when he honed his skills as a DJ, setting the stage for a remarkable career.

The 45 King Moniker

The moniker “The 45 King” was not just a stage name; it reflected his extraordinary ability to craft beats using obscure 45 RPM records. This unique talent would become his signature and pave the way for his groundbreaking work in the industry.

Breakthrough with “The 900 Number”

In 1987, The 45 King gained widespread recognition with his iconic breakbeat track, “The 900 Number.” The song featured a mesmerizing loop of a baritone sax solo from Marva Whitney’s “Unwind Yourself” (1968). This track propelled him to fame and became a cornerstone of hip-hop music, repeatedly sampled by many artists.

Collaborations and Impact

Having signed with Tuff City Records in 1987, The 45 King’s production talents were in high demand. He was instrumental in the emergence of the Flavor Unit, a group featuring renowned hip-hop acts like Chill Rob G, Lakim Shabazz, Apache, and Queen Latifah. His pivotal role in Queen Latifah’s album “All Hail the Queen” on Tommy Boy Records in 1989 cemented his status as a respected producer.

Challenges and Resilience

The early 1990s brought challenges, with drug addiction causing him to lose a production deal with Warner Bros. Records. Despite these setbacks, The 45 King contributed to hip hop by releasing breakbeat records and remixing tracks, including a memorable rendition of Madonna’s “Keep It Together.”

Legacy and Influence

The 45 King’s impact extended beyond his own productions. DJ Chad Jackson’s 1990 hit “Hear the Drummer (Get Wicked)” sampled “The 900 Number,” attesting to the track’s enduring influence. Furthermore, his work with DJ Kool and the production of Jay-Z’s hit “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” underscored his lasting legacy in hip hop.

“Hip-Hop Community Pays Tribute to DJ Mark 45 King”

Upon learning of DJ Mark’s passing, numerous members of the hip-hop community expressed their condolences and shared tributes. 

DJ Kid Capri, a fellow Bronx hip-hop icon, paid his respects on Instagram, fondly recalling DJ Mark as “one of the sweetest people” he had ever known. He further expressed his heartfelt prayers during DJ Mark’s hospitalization, hoping for his recovery. He concluded with a message of condolences to DJ Mark’s family and praised Mike, DJ Mark’s brother, for keeping him informed throughout this challenging journey. Capri added that Queen Latifah, who was part of the NYC crew Flavor Unit alongside the 45 King, was by his side in the hospital.

DIAMOND D musician wrote, The good die young. Im lost for words right now. The 45 King was one of the nicest and most humble dudes in this shit industry. I learned so much from Mark. He was a king as far as I was concerned and even tho he helped start Latifah’s career and produced joints for Madonna, Jay Z, and Eminem he never really felt appreciated. So much more I can say about this great individual. We will miss you.

Blu wrote,”Rest in peace, power & paradise to easily one of the best and easily one of my all-time favorites producers in hip-hop history,” “RIP king .. THANK YOU!!” added DJ Green Lantern. Longtime hip-hop journalist Dan Charnas described him as “one of the best to ever do it.”

Obituary: Mark “The 45 King” James (1961-2023)

Mark James, the renowned “45 King,” was a pioneering force in the world of hip-hop. Born on October 16, 1961, his legendary career was marked by groundbreaking beats and timeless tracks. On October 18, 2023, at the age of 62, Mark James passed away, leaving a void in the music industry. His iconic production, including “The 900 Number” and his work with artists like Queen Latifah, remains influential and everlasting. Mark James’s legacy is an enduring testament to his innovation and impact on hip-hop culture. 

“Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, and fans. Mark’s music and his legacy will forever be remembered, and his spirit lives on in the hearts of those he touched.” Please feel free to drop your condolences in the comments section below.


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