Small records, huge legacy: Check out the 45 King, a DJ and producer whose studio turnstile has seen the likes of Biggie, Tupac, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, Q-Tip, Queen Latifah, The Jungle Brothers, and many many more pass through.

They don't call him the King for nothing. Few can claim to have paved the way for stellar producers such as Pete Rock, RZA, DJ Premier and: The 45 King.

In 1987, the then Mark the 45 King (famed for his preference of 7″ (45 rpm) records gained first fame with his breakbeat track The 900 Number. The song featured a looping baritone sax solo from Marva Whitney's Unwind Yourself. The 45 King signed with Tuff City Records that year and given a production deal. The 900 Number remains his signature work, having been resampled by many artists.

Emerging alongside hip-hop icons, like Chuck Chillout and Kool DJ Red Alert, The 45 King has been responsible for classic after classic, and always makes it look like the tracks were just ideas he threw together for fun. But that's a key element to the 45 King style - he never forgets that tunes are for the dance first and foremost, and no one wants to hear an emcee taking themselves seriously for a whole track.

With the Flavour Unit he defined a whole era of an East Coast sound, and acting as the production engine room for Tuff City Records, his records have set parties off the world over.


In the early 1990s, a serious addiction to a substance called angel dust took its toll on the 45 King's career, which caused him to lose a production deal that he signed with Warner Bros. Records. Around this time, the 45 King released multiple series of breakbeat records on various small labels.

Perhaps best known for tracks like Stan and Hard Knock Life, the 45 King has etched his name in the run out groove of hip-hop history and the story isn't over yet... This live recording from Boston's Good Life for Red Bull Music Academy Radio shows Mark is still on top block-rockin' form, mixing up classic jams with the original breaks they came from. The King Is Here!





Want More?

DJ set by DJ Premier

Fireside Chat with Pete Rock

Interview and Fireside Chat with RZA

Headphone Highlights by DJ Krush

Trainwreck Mix by Steinski & Z-Trip


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