This week over at Rhyme Junkie, I profile Kool G Rap and his solo debut album 4,5,6. I feel that it is arguably his most underrated piece of work.
Here's a snippet (the article's introduction):
After three years of working together and touching up their craft, Kool G Rap and DJ Polo bursted on the scene to release their debut album Road to the Riches in 1989. Behind Marly Marl?s top-notch production, they would receive positive critical acclaim and capture commercial success on the strength of hits like self-titled ?Road to the Riches,? ?Trilogy of Terror? and ?Poison.? One year later, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo built their brand to an even higher level with Wanted: Dead or a Alive, a grimy street record that helped bring gangsta rap to a plateau it had yet to reach. Highlighted by hit single ?Streets of New York,? the classic album featured ?Bad to the Bone,? ?Erase Racism? (ft. Big Daddy Kane & Biz Markie) and other hood smashes to help open the doors for similar acts to bring their style to fruition. In 1992, the hip hop duo expanded on their legacy and released Live and Let Die, their third and final album together, which was carried by hits ?Ill Street Blues,? ?On the Run,? ?#1 With a Bullet? (ft. Big Daddy Kane) and ?Two to the Head? (ft. Scarface, Ice Cube & Bushwick Bill).Take a look at the full article here
The time G Rap and Polo spent together indisputably had a heavy hand in the progression of the mafioso rap scene. Not only did they make a name for themselves with a style that was [dang] near universally looked down upon until N.W.A?s Straight Outta Compton, they left radio stations no choice but to put them on blast. One of the biggest reasons for that was the original style that Kool G Rap graced the microphone with. The product of Queens, NY boasted a menacing flow and level of delivery inside of continuous multi-syllable rhyme schemes that never seemed to take their foot off the gas. In addition to that, his pristine annunciation, imagery and lyrical prowess is something that only a handful of rappers can hold a candle to.
The combination of everything G Rap brought to the table was unheard of, and the influence his style had on the craft is not left up for discussion. Kool G Rap?s unique microphone presence almost single-handedly put a renewed sense of urgency New York?s pen game, changed how emcees delivered their rhymes and essentially birthed heavyweights like Nas, Big Pun and AZ, amongst many others.
Kool G Rap and DJ Polo split up in 1993, but the Kool Genius was far from finished. After re-signing with Cold Chillin Records, he released his solo debut 4,5,6 in 1995. The album?s title is a play on cee-lo, a dice game where rolling a four, five and six equals an automatic victory.
On the whole, 4,5,6 is a bit less radio-friendly than some of his previous work with DJ Polo, but it touches on all parameters for underground heads and showcases Kool G Rap?s exclusive style with a much darker overcast of flavor. 4,5,6 might not have been his most successful record, but it subsequently may stand as his most underrated and under-appreciated album.
Walk with me, hip hop heads. Let?s take a look at what makes 4,5,6 bob so many skulls up and down.
All comments/feedback is very much appreciated!
What do you guys think of 4,5,6? What are some of your favorite tracks off of it?