DJ Mark the 45 King, real name Mark Howard James, has reportedly died at age 62.
In a post shared on Instagram, DJ Premier broke the news of his death. “DJ Mark The 45 King who passed this morning. An ICON. His 62nd Birthday was Monday,” wrote Premier, who paid extensive tribute to the 45 King. He added that he did a FaceTime call with him just last week with the help of David Lotwin of D&D Studios.
“Condolences to his brother Mike and his sister. It’s so much more to say but I’ll leave it here,” DJ Premier wrote. “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.” A cause of death has not been revealed.
Throughout his career, DJ Mark the 45 King produced tracks for the likes of Queen Latifah, Gang Starr, Salt-N-Pepa, Eric B. and Rakim, and Common. Perhaps two of his biggest songs came near the turn of the millennium with “Hard Knock Life (The Ghetto Anthem)” for Jay-Z and “Stan” for Eminem.
Many in the hip-hop community shared tributes to DJ Mark upon hearing the news of his death. Fellow Bronx hip-hop icon DJ Kid Capri shared a tribute on Instagram, describing DJ Mark as “one of the sweetest people” he ever knew. “Everyday he was in the hospital, I prayed and prayed that he would come out on top, but now he is not suffering anymore, what a great man,,,my condolences go to his family, his brother Mike kept me informed of everything, almost everyday,” he wrote.
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.
“Rest in peace, power & paradise to easily one of the best and easily one of my all time favorites producers in hip-hop history,” wrote Blu. “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.”
Others to post tributes include Alchemist, who called him “one of the original architects of production” and one of the “greatest of all time.” A-Trak wrote that the 45 King’s “creativity in picking unlikely samples embodies the whole (fun!) spirit of hip-hop.”