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Prince Charles

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Joined by his City Beat Bandand playing a unique wind synthesizer called the Lyricon, Charles "Prince Charles" Alexander released a handful of wild synth-funk albums -- 1981's Gang War, 1982's Stone Killers, and 1984's Combat Zone -- that achieved more recognition in the U.K. than in the U.S., even though their best singles were contemporaneous with that of the Gap Band, Rick James, Grandmaster Flash, and the Egyptian Lover. Alexander used his experience as a multi-instrumentalist and all-around studio hound to become active as a mixer and engineer. He went from working on albums by Kashif and Sarah Dash in the '80s to X-Clan and Jodeci in the early '90s, but he really hit his stride once he struck up an association with the Bad Boy label. Nearly every one of the label's major releases, including Mary J. Blige's My Life, Notorious B.I.G.'s Ready to Die, and Puff Daddy's No Way Out, features his handiwork. He also worked with the likes of Destiny's Child, Marques Houston, Angie Stone, and Alicia Keys. As of 2007, he was remaining busy as an engineer while holding down an associate professor slot at Berklee College of Music and a teaching gig at NYU's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music. ~ Andy Kellman