Pioneering Hip-Hop Producer DJ Mark the 45 King Reportedly Dead at 62

He was known for producing hits like Jay-Z's "Hard Knock Life," Eminem's "Stan," and "900 Number."

Al Pereira via Getty Images

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."

Rest In Peace, Power & Paradise to easily one of the best and easily one of my all time favorite producers in Hip Hop history, the unfadeable unreplicatable very own DJ Mark The 45 King, may your legacy live on forever ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™ @TheReal45King !!!

— BLU (@HerFavColor) October 19, 2023
Twitter: @HerFavColor

Mark the 45 King ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™ .. RIP king .. THANK YOU!!

— DJ Green Lantern (@DJGREENLANTERN) October 19, 2023
Twitter: @DJGREENLANTERN

In Memoriam for DJ Mark the 45 King, one of the best to ever do it. He certainly has more popular tracks, but this was *always* my favorite. https://t.co/sHxe9ioRtw

— Dan Charnas (@dancharnas) October 19, 2023
Twitter: @dancharnas

Rest easy 45 KING. One of the original architects of production / greatest of all time . ๐Ÿ•Š๏ธ

— Alchemist Type Beat (@Alchemist) October 19, 2023
Twitter: @Alchemist

Damnnn RIP to Mark The 45 King. An absolute monument in music.

Not only did he make classics like 900 Number, Hard Knock Life, Stan (and a bunch of Queen Latifah joints!), to me his creativity in picking unlikely samples embodied the whole (fun!) spirit of hip hop.

— Good Bunny (@atrak) October 19, 2023
Twitter: @atrak

I only met DJ Mark the 45 King once, but it was extremely memorable. Luckily, most of the encounter was captured on tape. RIP to a true originator. https://t.co/L5C7DsY3AZ

— Shawn Setaro (@SameOldShawn) October 19, 2023
Twitter: @SameOldShawn

Rest In Peace DJ Mark the 45 King

Producer of such hits as Jay-Z's "Hard Knock Life" & Eminem's "Stan" -- as well as favorites from Rakim, Queen Latifah, Common & many more...

We can't forget "The 900 Number" and the Ed Lover dance. Thank you for everything. ๐Ÿ˜ข pic.twitter.com/CB6TtR7GBH

— Andrew Barber (@fakeshoredrive) October 19, 2023
Twitter: @fakeshoredrive

DJ Mark The 45 King RIP ๐Ÿ˜ž

My favourite producer in my formative years - these two albums were the first I ever paid import price for ๐Ÿ™

I bought ANYTHING with his name on it whether it was a Queen Latifah single or a Stereo MCs remix - didnโ€™t matter - ๐Ÿ of the genre pic.twitter.com/8qFB17jHcn

— RobTresvant (@robpursey) October 19, 2023
Twitter: @robpursey

RIP Mark the 45 King. From "900 Number" to "Wrath Of My Madness" to "Hard Knock Life" to "Stan", 45King is responsible for some of the greatest hip-hop production of all time, across time.

— Noah Callahan-Bever (@N_C_B) October 19, 2023
Twitter: @N_C_B

45 King ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ pic.twitter.com/6ZcNjDsrsd

— Elliott Wilson (@ElliottWilson) October 19, 2023
Twitter: @ElliottWilson

Latest in Music