The 45 King (born Mark James, October 1961), also known as 45 King, started DJing in New Jersey in the mid-1980s. The nickname the 45 King came from his ability to make beats using obscure 45 RPM records.
The 45 King first gained fame with his breakbeat track "The 900 Number" in 1987. 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. He was also featured on the 1989-Hustlers Convention album on the UK label Music of Life, which is considered by many[who?] to be hip-hop's first-ever live album.The 45 king is also working currently with various artists and making a lot of new music.
Using his popularity from the previous release, the 45 King was able to help the other members of his crew, dubbed the Flavor Unit, which included many well-known hip-hop acts including Chill Rob G, Lakim Shabazz, Apache, and Queen Latifah. The 45 King's big break came when Queen Latifah signed with Tommy Boy Records in 1989 and released the album All Hail the Queen. The 45 King did extensive production on this album, and it is considered by critics[who?] to be among his best production work. Over the next few years, many other Flavor Unit members also signed with Tommy Boy, and the 45 King frequently contributed to their albums with his productions. In November 1989, the re-release of "The King is Here" / "The 900 Number" peaked at #60 in the UK Singles Chart; his only appearance in a UK chart.