45 King After creating the hip-hop legendary song “The 900 Number” (also dubbed “The Ed Lover Dance” on MTV Raps), The 45 King has dropped some of hip-hop’s biggest singles to date including “Hard Knock Life” by Jay-Z and “Stan” by Eminem. This breakbeat producer/DJ helped make Queen Latifah’s “Flavor Unit” one of hip-hop’s most unstoppable forces! Check out this unforgettable interview with Mark “The 45 King” James.
By William Hernandez
WHO?MAG: What new projects are you working on? 45 KING: Nothing really!
WHO?MAG: How do you feel about the “900 Number” being used in the new Will Smith movie “Hancock”? 45 KING: It’s brining me a lot of trouble with those kinds of questions. I wish a lot of people didn’t know because it’s bringing me problems already.
WHO?MAG: Why? 45 KING: Because the first thing people ask me is did I get paid? It’s kind of f*cked up when you’re in a situation where the job that you do people wonder if you got paid.
WHO?MAG: I was told you have a new radio show? 45 KING: It’s on Scion radio. They’re going to be mad at me for not really knowing. It’s a Scion station on the internet. I play some weird type of stuff because I can’t play what I’m usually used to playing because you have to clear, write down, and type the name of the record, artist, and label it’s on, and how many members are in the group. They want to know everything about each song that you play. A lot of the stuff that I normally do like remixes and I guess they call them mash ups these days. I take an acapella and put it over another beat and I play that. I don’t really have the time to type all these names and what label it’s on and if I made up the beat. In other words, I put one record after the other basically. I play a lot of old school stuff like club stuff on the station.
WHO?MAG: How do you feel about Wild Pitch reissuing the old catalog? 45 KING: I don’t really know anything about that. Who is putting that out?
WHO?MAG: Stu Fine from Wild Pitch. 45 KING: How do you know about this? (laughs)
WHO?MAG: I read about it on a website. 45 KING: I don’t know how true it is. I can’t really tell you about that one.
WHO?MAG: How do you approach to making a beat? 45 KING: Hmm, my approach to making a beat. Wow! I just get a drum machine. That’s the best approach to making a beat. It’s not what you use to make a beat, it’s what you come up with, what you have I guess. There’s really no rule to make it up. If you want, start up with the drums. But some people make up the baseline first. There are really no rules to anything artistically if you ask me.
WHO?MAG: Of all the emcees you’ve worked with who was the one you most enjoyed and why? 45 KING: MC Lyte because she did her own vocals. (laughs)
WHO?MAG: How did you get signed to Wild Pitch back the days? 45 KING: I wasn’t signed to Wild Pitch. I just did the production for them.
WHO?MAG: How was the making of the 900 Number? 45 KING: I found an old record and basically I looped and put drums under it. I slowed it down, chopped up the drums and stuff and that was how it came about.
WHO?MAG: What equipment are you using now? 45 KING: Logic 8, but it doesn’t make a difference what you use. Somebody can use something else and make more money or come out with better stuff.
WHO?MAG: How did the song with Latee “This Cuts got Flavor” come about? 45 KING: I went into the studio with Latee and we made up the record. We gave it to Red Alert and he started playing it and other people started playing it. Red Alert introduced me to Stu Fine [interviewers note: owner of Wild Pitch records] because he knew that Stu Fine had Gangstarr so he said why don’t you sign this because I play it on the radio every week. Stu Fine signed us because we were getting played on the radio every week. The process behind the song was drums, samples, and drums basically.
WHO?MAG: Have you ever had any issues with clearing samples? 45 KING: Back then they didn’t clear samples. That was before people started clearing samples and before records started really selling a whole lot also.
WHO?MAG: In your opinion what producers are the hot ones right now? 45 KING: Mmmm the ones making the money. That’s all I can really say.
Thanks to Sammy B at Tuff City records for making the interview happen. For more info and updates of the 45 King go to www.tuffcity.com and www.45king.com.