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4,5,6 is the debut studio album by American rapper Kool G Rap, released on September 26, 1995, on Cold Chillin' Records. The release followed his break-up with DJ Polo in 1993. The album was mostly received neutrally among critics, but was warmly accepted by underground fans. Despite the album's dark, grimy street sound, it peaked at number one on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart, and the single "Fast Life" charted on the Billboard Hot 100. The album features guest appearances from B1, MF Grimm, and Nas (who also appeared on the front cover), as well as production from Dr. Butcher, Naughty Shorts, T-Ray, and Buckwild of D.I.T.C. It would also be Cold Chillin' Records' final release before it went defunct in 1997.
|Studio album by|
|Released||September 26, 1995|
|Genre||Hip hop, East Coast hip hop, mafioso rap, hardcore hip hop|
|Kool G Rap chronology|
Background and recordingEdit
Following the critical acclaim of a three-album run with D.J Polo, Road to the Riches (1989), Wanted: Dead Or Alive (1990) and Live and Let Die (1992), Kool G Rap chose to concentrate his efforts in a more underground direction, in continuation with the sound on his albums with D.J. Polo. In early 1993 Kool G Rap separated from D.J. Polo in the aftermath of the media controversy surrounding the cover art of their previous album Live and Let Die. The cover which depicted two police officers being hanged followed the Cop Killer controversy involving Time Warner & Warner Bros. Records. Warner Bros. Records ultimately refused to distribute Live and Let Die resulting in the termination of its contract with Cold Chillin' Records. Live and Let Die was eventually released and distributed independently by Cold Chillin' in 1992. In 1995 Cold Chillin' signed a distribution deal with Epic of which 4,5,6 was the first to be released under the new deal. For the recording of 4,5,6 Kool G Rap retreated to the rural wilds of Bearsville, New York.
In contrast to his previous albums with D.J. Polo, 4,5,6 has Kool G Rap returning to a mafioso theme of which he is credited as the originator. An example of the mafioso content on the album can be seen in the opening verse of It's a Shame:
And once again it's big G, running the number rackets
Wearing Pele jackets Fast loot tactics, I'm well up in the millionaire bracket
The boss of all bosses, I own racehorses and a fortress
Corridors with Olympic torches and Mona Lisa portraits
Jacuzzis and saunas and eating steak at Benihana's
Bentley's, limousine, the front yard stream is full of piranhas
I'm set, a private jet, I drink a lot of Beck's
Get a lot of sess, condo and duplex, diamond infested Rolex
Deliver a crown at the world units with silver china
Sipping on finer wine-r you see more shines than diamond miners
The Highness, kingpin of heroin
I'm thorough when I have to bring the terror in
Handle business in each and every borough in
Town or city, I'm rolling like Frank Nitti, I'm rich and pretty
Back up kiddies, I got crimmies that's grimy and gritty
A nigga that's spunky and likes to keep his pockets chunky
Making most of my money, from all the dope fiends and junkies
I learned from the best the ones that's living
And the ones that's put to rest
So I bless my chest with a vest and pack a Smith-N-Wes
And then I'm off to get the snaps, not the scraps
The game is be a real mack, the name is Kool G Rap
The title track "4,5,6" depicts the urban street game of Cee-lo and how the game is played along with rhymes of a braggadocio nature and his success and skill at Cee-lo. The song starts with the notes from Mysterious Traveler by The Weather Report which are used throughout the entire song and give the song a very dark street sound. The second single "It's a Shame" contains a prime example of mafioso themes and self boasting. In the song, Kool G Rap portrays himself as a heroin kingpin from a first person prospective, boasting of his wealth, power and extravagant lifestyle. However, it is implied that he harbors a sense of remorse over his choice of trade, with the chorus (sung by an uncredited Sean Brown) stating:
"Now it's a damn shame, what I gotta do just to make a dollar Living in this game, sometimes it makes you wanna holler"
The song "For Da Brothaz" details the falling of his friends and the unforgiving struggle on the streets of New York.
On the album's lead single "Fast Life", Kool G Rap and Nas (credited under the alias Nas Escobar) rap about their business ventures and mafioso lifestyle. The video for the single revolves around the construction of the mythical "Fast Life Hotel and Casino".
|1.||"Intro"||N. Wilson||Dr. Butcher||1:03|
|2.||"4,5,6"||N. Wilson||Dr. Butcher||3:21|
|3.||"It's a Shame"||N. Wilson||Naughty Shorts||4:04|
|4.||"Take 'Em to War" (featuring B-1, MF Grimm)||N. Wilson, B-1, MF-Grimm||T-Ray||3:45|
|5.||"Executioner Style"||N. Wilson||Dr. Butcher||4:07|
|6.||"For Da Brothaz"||N. Wilson||T-Ray||3:45|
|7.||"Blowin' Up in the World"||N. Wilson||Buckwild||4:26|
|8.||"Fast Life" (featuring Nas)||N. Wilson, N. Jones||Buckwild||4:55|
|9.||"Ghetto Knows"||N. Wilson||Naughty Shorts||4:29|
|10.||"It's a Shame (Da Butcher's Mix)"||N. Wilson||Dr. Butcher||3:10|
|11.||"Money on My Brain" (featuring B-1, MF Grimm)||N. Wilson, B-1, MF Grimm||Dr. Butcher||4:53|
|12.||"Fast Life (Remix) (Bonus)"||N. Wilson||Salaam Remi||3:46|
- Sample credits 
- "4,5,6" samples "Mysterious Traveller" by Weather Report.
- "It's a Shame" samples "Love Is for Fools" by Southside Movement.
- "Take 'Em to War" samples "A Divine Image" by David Axelrod.
- "Executioner Style" samples "Leroy the Magician" by Gary Burton.
- "For Da Brothaz" samples "Soulsides" by Art Farmer and "Power of Soul" by Idris Muhammad.
- "Blowin' Up in the World" samples "What You Won't Do For Love" by Bobby Caldwell.
- "Fast Life" samples "Happy" by Surface.
- "It's a Shame (Da Butcher's Mix)" samples "Bamboo Child" by Ryo Kawasaki.
- "Money on My Brain" samples "Chameleon" by Herbie Hancock and "Overnight Sensation" by Avalanche.
|"It's a Shame"
|US Billboard 200||24|
|US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)||1|
- "4,5,6 Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- Kool G Rap review. Billboard. 1995-11-25. p. 34. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
kool g rap.
- "4,5,6 Information". Rhapsody. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- Kool G Rap Information in the Rolling Stone Album Guide. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- "4,5,6 Information". The Source. Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- "4,5,6 Information". Trouser Press. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- 4,5,6 Information. Vibe. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- "Kool G Rap Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
- "Kool G Rap Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved March 5, 2017.