Personnel: Kool G. Rap, Nas, B1, Grimm (rap vocals); Sean Brown (vocals).
Producers: Dr. Butcher, Naughty Shorts, T-Ray, Buckwild.
Engineer: Steve Ett.
Contrary to popular belief, mastery of the art of gangsta rap is not a trait inherent solely to West Coast artists. Long before Snoop was drinking gin and juice and MC Eiht was coming strapped, Kool G. Rap was holding down the fort in the rugged streets of Queens, New York. After almost three years in hiding, the Kool Genius of Rap reclaims his throne (this time without the help of DJ Polo) on 4, 5, 6, summing up his lifestyle with vicious truths, New York-based producers, and a metaphorical rhyming style that puts all other MCs to sleep.
The album's title track exercises G. Rap's street-inspired lyrics, and its boom-bap beat represents a more old-school sound. "It's A Shame" is a slowed down sequel to Kool G. Rap's 1993 underground smash "Ill Street Blues," mixing soulful vocals with the rapper's hardcore feel in an approximation of a West Coast-sounding background. With the help of producer Buck-Wild, Kool G. Rap makes an East Coast anthem out of "Fast Life," joining forces with Nas to make "a team out of Queens with the American dream...plotting up a scheme to get the 7-digit C.R.E.A.M."
As a member of the infamous Juice Crew, Kool G. Rap upholds the group's reputation of supplying hip-hop with the finest lyricists. Despite a healthy lisp, he manages to flip each graphic rhyme too quickly to catch the first time around, making himself and 4, 5, 6 influential to a number of artists.
Vibe (9/95, p.197) - "...Over the course of 10 tales of lives on the line, street loyalty, desperate criminal ambition, unsentimental remorse, and vicious capitalist ethics, 4,5,6 approaches thug life the right way: as if it had never been written about before....determinedly New York old-school, with few concessions to contemporary fashion..."
The Source (10/95, p.97) - 4 Mics - Slammin' - "...he doesn't just rap, he paints pictures...leaving you feeling like you had just watched a four minute movie....Kool G. Rap has done it again..."