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Studio album by Kool G Rap
Released September 26, 1995 (1995-09-26)
Recorded 1994–1995
Genre Hip hop, East Coast hip hop, mafioso rap, hardcore hip hop
Label Cold Chillin'/Epic Street/SME Records
EK 57808 (north America)
481472 (international)
Producer Dr. Butcher
Naughty Shorts
Kool G Rap chronology
Live and Let Die
(Kool G Rap & DJ Polo)
Roots of Evil
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[1]
Billboard Favorable[2]
Rhapsody Favorable[3]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[4]
The Source 4/5 stars[5]
Trouser Press Favorable[6]
Vibe Favorable[7]

4,5,6 is the solo debut by emcee Kool G Rap, released in 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.

Background and Recording[edit]

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, runnin the number rackets

Wearin 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 eatin steak at Benihana's

Bentley's, limousine, the front yard stream is full of pirahnas

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

Sippin 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 rollin like Frank Nitti, I'm rich and pretty

Back up kiddies, I got crimies that's grimy and gritty

A nigga that's spunky and likes to keep his pockets chunky

Makin most of my money, from all the dopefiends and junkies

I learned from the best the ones that's livin

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".

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Intro"   N. Wilson Dr. Butcher 1:03
2. "4,5,6"   N. Wilson Dr. Butcher, Shawn Brown 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 Da' 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

Album singles[edit]

Single information
"Fast Life"
  • Released: November 14, 1995
  • B-Side: "4,5,6"
"It's a Shame"
  • Released: 1995
  • B-Side: "It's a Shame (Da Butcher's Mix)"

Album chart positions[edit]

Year Album Chart positions
Billboard 200 Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums
1995 4,5,6 24 1

Singles chart positions[edit]

Year Song Chart positions
Billboard Hot 100 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks Hot Rap Singles Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales Rhythmic Top 40
1995 "It's a Shame" - - - 27 -
"Fast Life" 74 42 7 18 -

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "4,5,6 Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  2. ^ Kool G Rap review. Billboard. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "4,5,6 Information". Rhapsody. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  4. ^ Kool G Rap Information in the Rolling Stone Album Guide. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "4,5,6 Information". The Source. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  6. ^ "4,5,6 Information". Trouser Press. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  7. ^ 4,5,6 Information. Vibe. Retrieved 27 April 2011.