Slept-On Sundays: DJ King Assassin – The Man Behind The Best Of The West
By Anton Constantinou
This week, Highlight Nation have kept the formula fresh by replacing our usual Flashback Fridays segment with a new Slept On Sundays piece dedicated entirely to a underrated hip hop producer who continues to make music today…
Who are the first producers that spring to mind when you think of west coast hip hop? Top of most people’s list are: Dre, Eazy E, The Alchemist and Dj Quik. The fact remains though that alot of others, down the years, have slipped through the netting and not received the credit they deserve- this is true, even of the game today.
Take Daz Dillinger for example. Believe it or not, he ghost produced most of Snoop Dogg’s debut album Doggystyle. Yes, the world will have us believe that it was Dre, but as Suge himself revealed in a 2013 interview with HNHH (HotNewHipHop), “Once Daz finished [Doggystyle], everybody wanted Andre to get the credit. Next thing I know Daz is having a meeting with Andre and them and came back and said, “It’s okay, give me a few bucks and I’ll sign anything over that says produced by Andre instead of me”. Another strong case in point is Easy Mo Bee. Unfamiliar ? Most people recognise his beats but not his name. Arguably one of the most underrated hip hop producers of all time, he made instrumentals for all the big boys: Notorious, 2Pac, LL Cool J, Lost Boyz. On Pac’s Me Against The World alone, he lays claim to production on two of the biggest tracks from the album: If I die 2nite and Temptations.
More often than not, a talented producer won’t get the kudos they deserve purely down to the conditions of their record label. In some instances, a greedy executive producer might be to blame- desperate to take all the credit, they might pass off the true beat maker as a sound engineer/ technician. In other instances, the producer’s name may not harness the selling power necessary to turn an underground classic into a quadruple platinum release- as was the case with Doggystyle.
DJ King Assassin knows all about being slept on in hip hop. He’s produced tracks for both west coast and east coast platinum royalty, but still to this day lacks both a Wikipedia page and his own website. While neither of these things determine artistic merit, they certainly make it easier for people to know who you are and who you do at the click of a button. As active as Assassin is on Twitter, Instagram and Soundcloud, it’s near on impossible to find a anything vaguely close to a biography about him on online. That’s where Highlight Nation come in. As one of our loyal followers, it’s only right that we give Assassin the respect the deserves by putting him on the map and acknowledging his achievements to date. Buckle up.
Who is Dj King Assassin?
A California Bay Area and Los Angeles based musician, rapper, record producer and DJ, active on the hip hop scene for over 20 years. In 1993 he became the first west coast producer to sign to Def Jam/ West records. Since then, he’s released over 20 underground albums and previously signed distribution deals with Universal, Koch and EMI.
Away from the music business, he’s a motivational speaker and has been actively involved in youth programmes at community centres and high schools. He’s also contributed at Berkeley University- offering knowledge and guidance on the hip hop to students from around the world.
Which big name artists has he work with?
2pac, Wyclef Jean, Ice T, Eazy E, Akon and Roger Troutman. Following the passing of EZ Rock, he even went to become to the main DJ for the multi platinum Artist, Rob Base.
What was his involvement with the late, Tupac Shakur?
Assassin was a close friend of ‘Pac’s. The two first met back stage during a convention in San Francisco and instantly got along. During a visit to L.A, courtesy of Russell Simmons, Assassin introduced ‘Pac to an instrumental he was working on- that beat would later form the basis for one of ‘Pac’s dopest underground tracks, Real Bad Boyz. The two would again team up on the previously unreleased joint, Judgement Day. More recently, Assassin put together a project for all 2pac fans called, The Way He Wanted It. As well as containing previously unreleased material, it featured collaborations with former ‘Pac Collabo partner, OG Kokane, and west coast legend, OG Big Hutch (Above The Law)
In Assasin’s eyes, Pac was a bundle of energy who could easily churn out 3-4 tracks a day. He saw the rapper going on to become a big film Director, brushing shoulders with the likes of Spielberg and Spike Lee.
During his time with death row legend, Assassin also became closely acquainted with the Pac’s step brother, Mopreme, as well as co rapper/ producer, Stretch. Mopreme and Assassin would later go on to release the compilation album, Black and Brown Pride in 2007.
How many LP’S has he released to date?
Over 20 (see below iTunes link to his discography)
What’s he doing now?
Getting radio rotation on 98.2 The Beat (L.A), tweeting lots and providing online support to up and coming artists looking to increase their exposure on Youtube. Earlier this year he teamed up with Cali rap artist, OG Rome, for the release of the gritty, Rowdogg Mixtapes.
How can I find out more about him?