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The 45 King has produced some of the most popular rap songs of the past few decades, for artists like Jay Z and Eminem. But before that, he took his keen ear for a funky loop and put it into the creation of beats for one of Golden Age rap’s greatest crews, The Flavor Unit. He served as beatmaker and tour DJ for the Unit’s breakout star, Queen Latifah, producing and mixing the vast majority of her gold debut album, 1989’s All Hail the Queen.

His work with other Flavor Unit members like Latee, Apache, and Lakim Shabazz, his own instrumentals like the classic “The 900 Number,” as well as songs outside his crew with acts like Gang Starr, Eric B & Rakim, and even Madonna cemented his reputation as one of rap’s hottest producers.

After a few years out of the public eye, the 45 King returned with a sparse, Annie-sampling beat that Jay Z turned into his career-making hit “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem).” Shortly afterwards, the producer turned an obscure Dido song into one of Eminem’s biggest hits with “Stan.” We caught up with the 45 King at his home in New Jersey, famous subway turnstile still intact, to discuss his storied career.

Tracks featured in this episode:

  1. Funky Four Plus One, “That’s the Joint”
  2. Jazzy 4MC’s, “MC Rock”
  3. The Cipher Episode 34: Dante Ross
  4. Latee, “This Cut’s Got Flavor”
  5. 45 King, “Raisin”
  6. 45 King, “Drum Machine”
  7. The Joubert Singers, “Stand On The Word (Larry Levan Mix)”
  8. The B-52’s, “Mesopotamia”
  9. Colonel Abrams, “Trapped (12” Regisford Vocal Mix)”
  10. 45 King, “Loaded”
  11. 45 King, “Master of the Game”
  12. Lakim Shabazz, “Pure Righteousness”
  13. Lakim Shabazz, “All True And Living”
  14. Queen Latifah, “A King and Queen Creation”
  15. 45 King, “The 900 Number”
  16. Marva Whitney, “Unwind Yourself”
  17. Queen Latifah, “Dance For Me”
  18. Queen Latifah, “Come Into My House”
  19. Queen Latifah, “Latifah’s Law”
  20. Queen Latifah & The 45 King - Freestyle @ Yo MTV Raps 1989 (HQ)
  21. Queen Latifah f/Monie Love, “Ladies First”
  22. Outside the Lines With Rap Genius, “Big Daddy Kane Excerpt #4 - Production Disputes”
  23. Big Daddy Kane, “Set It Off”
  24. Diamond & the Psychotic Neurotics, “Check One, Two”
  25. Gang Starr, “Movin’ On”
  26. Gang Starr, “Gusto”
  27. Lakim Shabazz, “First In Existence”
  28. X-Clan, “Heed The Word Of The Brother”
  29. Lord Alibaski, “Lyrics in Motion”
  30. 45 King, “Raw Dope Rhyme”
  31. Chill Rob G, “Let Me Show You”
  32. Kool & the Gang, “Chocolate Buttermilk”
  33. Kool & the Gang, “Too Hot”
  34. Madonna, “Keep It Together (12” Mix)”
  35. Lisa Stansfield, “All Around the World (Remix)”
  36. DJ Kool, “Let Me Clear My Throat”
  37. Queen Latifah, “How Do I Love Thee”
  38. Eric B & Rakim, “Microphone Fiend (Remix)”
  39. The Jaz, “The Sign of the Crimes”
  40. The Jaz, “Rhymes For Da Funny Farm”
  41. Melvin Bliss, “Synthetic Substitution”
  42. Naughty By Nature, “O.P.P.”
  43. James Brown, “Funky Drummer”
  44. 45 King Produces Jay Z (Hard Knock Life )
  45. Jay Z, “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)”
  46. Rakim, “How I Get Down”
  47. Dido, “Thank You”
  48. Eminem f/Dido, “Stan”
  49. Eminem & Elton John, “Stan (Live at Grammy Awards)”
  50. Eminem f/Dido, “Stan”
  51. King Sun, “Fat Tape”
  52. Seinfeld Theme
  53. David Bowie f/Queen Latifah, “Fame ‘90”
  54. David Bowie, “Fame”
  55. Guys and Dolls, “Fugue for Tinhorns”
  56. 45 King, “Paul Revere”
  57. Chill Rob G, “Let the Words Flow”
  58. Snap!, “The Power”
  59. Jocelyn Brown, “Love’s Gonna Get You (Dance Mix)”
  60. Snap!, “The Power”
  61. Chill Rob G, “Make It”
  62. Chill Rob G, “Dope Rhymes”
  63. Snap!, “The Power”
  64. Ed Lover dance ft. MC Hammer on Yo! MTV Raps (1990)
  65. Queen Latifah, “Wrath of My Madness”

Show notes:

  1. Dangerous Minds, “Club Zanzibar And Newark’s Dance Revolution”
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