Interview conducted by William Hernandez.
Mark James aka “The 45 King”, is a name synonymous with great music. He has produced for the likes of Jay Z, Eminem, Queen Latifah and many others. This pioneer producer was ahead of his time with the beats he was making and this led to him working outside the field of hip hop – 45 King was the first producer to work with pop artists like Madonna and Lisa Stansfield. After seeing the ups and downs of success, including drugs, he cleaned himself up and started working again, releasing breakbeat records and the famous “Beat Of The Month” record. He produced Jay Z’s 1998 hit ‘Hard Knock Life’, and Emimen’s 2000 hit ‘Stan’. Recently he’s been dedicating himself to bettering and developing his site www.45king.com where you can check out his beats, his video clips and other stuff and eliminate (in his words) “the middle man bullshit.”
What have you been up to lately?
45 King: Working on my website. I took a few classes on web design and now I work on my site and post stuff up there. I’ve also been making beats for Biz Markie, Treach… and doing tapes and parties… I put out a mix cd… I did a remix for Dido and a remix for Prince, but it didn’t get accepted. I did it anyway, and a few other things.
How did you get the opportunity to work with Eminem for the song ‘Stan’?
45 King: I gave a few tapes to people and Aton from Interscope gave me some money for the track. Steve Stoute gave it to D.J. and he gave it to Eminem, and from there emimen started to write the lyrics to it.
Can you dispel the rumor that you didn’t get any production credit for the song and that they paid you the money up front?
45 King: No, that rumors comes from ‘Hard Knock Life’. A lot of times, rumors come from the past work that you’ve done. I’m sorry to disappoint people – yeah I got PAID. People like to hear that you don’t get paid that much because they don’t get paid too much.
What advice to you give to up and coming producers?
45 King: It’s not what you have, it’s knowing how to use you use what you have. Try to have all the equipment in one place also.
Thanks to 45 King for the opportunity for the quick chat, and to William Hernandez for offering it to the site.