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Written by: Robbie Ettelson
Not content with serving-up killer beats for the Flavor Unit crew, DJ Mark The 45 King also blessed us with several examples of his impressive mic skills, a tradition that’s since been carried on by Kid Capri, Doo-Wop and Tony Touch. Forget that “best producer on the mic” talk, DJ’s that rap are where it’s at, and 45 King puts it down like a pro whenever he steps to the booth.
His two finest moments would have to be his songs with Latee and Queen Latifah. “Puttin’ On The Hits”, the b-side to the Flavor Unit anthem “This Cut’s Got Flavor”, finds Latee and DJ Mark going for broke over an ill, conga-laced break, where the King advises that you “do the industry a favor and find another career” before reminding the listener that “I can rap, I’ve got ten years experience under my cap!”. While most of you would be familiar with the original version of “A King And Queen Creation” from the Queen’s debut, this version gives us DJ Mark’s verse over a reworked Fatback Band loop, and you better believe it when he states that “beats rock all night with no curfew, my talents’ advanced – you haven’t a clue.”
“Freestyle”, another early track, teams-up the King with Markey Fresh, as they drop rhymes like dimes over the same Dennis Coffey loop that Diamond D later flipped for “No Wonduh (The Projects)”, but Mark was still repping in the early nineties, as “Popcorn” (with the Maniac Mob) and “Musical Musican” attest to. The latter track is a laid-back solo mission that finds 45 proclaiming himself as “the hip-hop Houdini” capable of “pulling rabbits from hi-hats” while he details his daily operations of making remixes, quantizing samples and digging for beats while he reprises his line from the Latifah cut for the chorus.
Latee & 45 King - Puttin’ On The Hits [12", Wild Pitch, 1987]
45 King - Untitled (aka “A King Creation”) [Test Press, Tuff City]
45 King & Markey Fresh - The Free Style [The 900 Number, Tuff City, 1989]
45 King & Maniac Mob - Popcorn [The Lost Beakbeats 1 & 2, 45 King, 1991]
45 King - Musical Musican [The Lost Beakbeats 1 & 2, 45 King, 1991]
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