4, 5, 6

I mentioned this album in my AZ post and it deserves more attention.

Kool G Rap is one of my favorite rappers and not just his ’80s ‘golden period’ shit either. I’ll even go to bat for the vocoder-laced “My Life” that popped up around G Rap’s Rawkus almost-revival, one that ended with G Rap in the Koch graveyard. 4, 5, 6 though features the rapper at his hardest, chest-popping mid-90s production and then 808s on the 80s reminiscence “Fast Life,” non-stop internal rhymes from an experienced veteren, symbolic collaboration with torchbearer Nas. You’ve got Grimm pre-shooting on “Take Em To War” and the title track’s claustrophobic “NY State of Mind” bite, soulful 80s horn bounce of “For da Brothaz,” Buckwild’s melancholic mid-90s production, “So catch a flashback of a G Rap track attack like a head crack get smacked through ya cap with lead black…”

The whole album reeks of smog, liquor breath, tobacco and weed smoke exhaled below blood-shot eyeballs half-covered by heavy lids, sounds like the solid thud of unlaced tims on dirty sidewalks, rattling chain-link fences and clanging fire escapes, the sudden wooden smack of a chain-locked door and the clicking of cocked handguns, distant shots buried behind the scarred paint-flecked doors of inner-city hallways and echoing in the haunted public housing stairwells, images of gray skylines smokily blended into the foggy atmosphere, ruthless daily suffocation, NYC-crime noir, moody suppressed evocativeness. The dissonant production, snare rolls that echo with dusty intensity, G Rap’s elder rough-edged flow riddled with conviction, impenetrable attitude, spitting packed stanzas of internal rhymes and hearkening back to crack-dominated 80s when he was one of the best rappers in New York. When his career was cornered, trapped in a younger kids game, he really came with rhymes of ruthless desperation, one of the most underrated New York rap releases of the mid-90s.

Kool G Rap – Ghetto Knows (Buy this shit here.)

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