Today in Hip Hop History: September 26, 1995
Queens-based rapper Kool G Rap released his debut solo album 4,5,6 through Cold Chillin’ Records in 1995. He began his rap career in the mid-1980’s as a part of the hip hop duo Kool G Rap & DJ Polo in addition to being a part of the Juice Crew. 4,5,6 was produced by Dr. Butcher, Naughty Shorts, T-Ray and Buckwild. It featured outside vocals from B-1, MF Grimm and Nas.
4,5,6 contained 2 singles, “Fast Life” and “It’s a Shame,” the latter which contained a remix on the B side. Kool G Rap handled essentially all of the writing himself, minus the verses from the featured artists. 4,5,6 saw Kool G Rap return to his originating mafioso themes, to which he influenced the likes of Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., Rick Ross and several others.
Following the commercial success of his previous albums with DJ Polo, G wanted to focus his attention on a more underground circle with his sound on 4,5,6. They split after a controversy with Live and Let Die‘s album cover, which showed two police officers being hanged, to which Warner Bros. dropped their contract.
4,5,6 peaked at #24 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums Chart in 1995. It received fairly average critical reviews, but underground hip hop fans lauded the album. It’s dark and grimy themes proved too much for much mainstream success, but regardless it charted well. The album was also the last Cold Chillin’ Records release before it became defunct in 1997.