The Kool G Rap Album Analysis
Monday May 31st 2010,
Filed under: Features,G Rap Week,Not Your Average,Rap Veterans,The Unkut Opinion
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We’ve already put the Nas and Ghostface discography’s under the microscope, so it’s only right that the legendary Kool G Rap gets a turn, right?

Road To The Riches

This is basically the blueprint for every New York record with a street theme for the entire 90’s era. It had some filler, but the dope cuts were so incredible that they carried any dead weight here.

Classic Songs: 5 [‘Road To The Riches’, ‘It’s A Demo’, ‘Men At Work’, ‘Truly Yours’, ‘Poison’]

Wanted: Dead Or Alive

The ultimate G Rap experience – with Large Professor providing the beats, G shreds every track in sight with a combination of brag rap, crime stories, sex rhymes and social commentary.

Classic Songs: 7 [‘Streets Of New York’, ‘Money In The Bank’, ‘Bad To The Bone’, ‘Talk Like Sex’, ‘Kool Is Back’, ‘Death Wish’, ‘Jive Talk’]

Live & Let Die

Although this record was fucked-up and delayed by the ‘Cop Killa’ shit-storm, it still delivered some prime KGR material, despite the west coast feel to the music upsetting some fans.

Classic Songs: 7 [‘On The Run’, ‘Train Robbery’, ‘Number #1 With A Bullet’, ‘Go For Your Guns, ‘Operation C.B.’, ‘Edge Of Sanity’, ‘Ill Street Blues’]


This was a difficult album, seeing as though G was basically hiding out in a log cabin while this was being recorded. But thanks to some superb production and dope guest spots from Nas and MF Grimm, it proved that the Kool Genius could still perform under pressure.

Classic Songs: 6 ‘4,5,6’, ‘Take ‘Em to War’, ‘Executioner Style’, ‘For Da Brothaz’, ‘Fast Life’, ‘It’s a Shame’ [Da Butcher’s Mix]’

Roots Of Evil

This is where things started to go downhill. Having moved out to Arizona, G Rap worked with some local producers and basically stayed in Goodfellas mode for the whole record.

Classic Songs: 4 [‘One Dark Night’, ‘Foul Cats’, ‘Da Heat’, ‘Thug’s Love Story’]

The Giancana Story

Since the version that was officially released on KOCH isn’t the same as the one intended for Rawkus it might be unfair to rate this, but that being said…let’s just pretend this never existed, shall we?

Classic Songs: 0


Actually I didn’t like this one either….

Classic Songs: 1 [‘Risin’ Up’]

So it seems that much like his understudy Nas, Kool G Rap doesn’t really make flawless albums, and even though I only count 30 classic tracks from his seven official releases, the fact remains that G Rap’s great songs are better than most rapper’s entire lives. The real question is…. ‘Men At Work’ > ‘Rock The Bells’?

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57 Comments so far
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Great post Robbie, Live and Let Die is my fave album from Kool G Rap.

Comment by Jaz 05.31.10 @

Pretty much spot-on, although you forgot the pretty awful “Click of Respect.”

G Rap stans never want to admit but he went from being nearly the total mc (first three lps) to a question mark (4,5,6) to a self-parody who’s never recovered.

“The Goodfellas” and/or “Scarface” mafia rap is fucking horrible, and would be even if the production wasn’t ass, which it is.

Rhetorical Question: who sucked harder, G Rap without DJ Polo or Rakim without Eric B? I voted Rakim, because “4, 5, 6” does carry a little weight anyways.

Comment by Saratoga N. Blake 05.31.10 @

I think every song on Live and Let Die is a classic. Might be the most underrated album of all time!

Comment by hotbox 05.31.10 @

You hit the nail on the head !!!!

Even though I enjoyed a couple cuts on 4,5,6, I could tell he was on a downward spiral at that point…

Too much gun play- not enough battle raps, well rounded concepts, or social commentary (Like he used to do) after this album…

He still is my favorite M.C. to this day, and if he had better beats, he could still wreck shit in 2010…

Comment by shamz 05.31.10 @

G Rap is an old rap heavyweight that didn’t concede to his ring rust on a couple of outings. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a G Rap fan. Reality is that it’s hard to maintain a certain type of consistency when you are the actual “inventor” of any style. Cats always make improvements off of shit you did when in most cases, you were the first to flip something. It’s like expecting the cat who came up with the concept of the game basketball, Nesbitt. You think he imagined Jordan, Kobe, Lebron? Nicca prolly never had a real job. Imagine somebody like Big Daddy Kane going to apply for a job? At some point, you live off the catalogue.

Comment by esteeminatti 05.31.10 @

Pardon self, Naismith. The credited inventor of the game of basketball.

Comment by esteeminatti 05.31.10 @

Bottom line out of all the veterans G Rap still can spit, I don’t feel G Rap has ever fell off. Ive worked with the man and he’s a beast in the studio and a perfectionist with the way he lays down his verses.
Aside from what i produced and the current tracks
he did with Rick Ross “Knife Fight” and White Sands” G Rap still spits fire.

First Nigga rmx off the Giancana story needs to get a nod as a banger

Comment by DJ MIKE NICE 05.31.10 @

I am a little dissapointed you left that “On The Rise Again” cut off of the half a klip review as it certainly was one of the better tracks on there as well.

Comment by Cole Cash 05.31.10 @

He had some dope shit on the XXX Rated compilation from 1996…I love “Fuck u Man”

Comment by MAAD 05.31.10 @

“Crime Pays” off Live and Let Die is a classic, not sure why you don’t consider it so. A funky beat and G. Rap drops serious knowledge. “because they came up with a law, to keep the rich motherfucking rich and the poor motherfucking poor”…he recognized the corruption at the upper class level back then when a lot of people just started putting the pieces together over the past couple of years.

Comment by crusher 05.31.10 @

Road to the riches is one of my favourite of all times classic 89!!

Men at work and cars…

Comment by Kevlar 05.31.10 @

co-sign crusher– I missed that before, “Crime Pays” might be my favorite off “Live And Let Die.”

What the fuck happened to G’s ability to spit TRUTH? Not third-hand second-rate crime movie bullshit?

Comment by Saratoga N. Blake 05.31.10 @

Wanted Dead or Alive FTW.

cosign First Nigga as a banger.

Comment by Crisis 05.31.10 @


Comment by TYBO2020 05.31.10 @

is…. ‘Men At Work’ > ‘Rock The Bells’?

lyrically, without question. the beats are dead even(imo).

Comment by finah111 05.31.10 @

“Rikers Island” !!! Classic joynt!!!

Comment by Marc Davis 05.31.10 @

What about “2 to the head” Robbie!!!!!!!! That song smashed on live and let die…CLASSIC!!!!!

Comment by Bigfoot.HG 06.01.10 @

I like Crime Pays and Two to the head off Live and let die, his best album. Jinx really came through on that one.

Comment by PAS 06.01.10 @

oh and in terms of classic G rap, the Guns Blazing joint of the first Unkle album is eternally dope.

Comment by PAS 06.01.10 @

cosing Hotbox… that whole Live & Let Die album was flawless. Song after song was a vividly painted scene, then when you think that an album can’t get any more amazing, you have Bushwick, Cube and Face on a track with G Rap… shit is the fuckin pinnacle of gangsta rap.

Comment by cenzi 06.01.10 @

rikers island > everything

Comment by swordfish 06.01.10 @

You slept hard on a couple more joints from the 2nd one Robbo.
Title track ring any bells?
Shits bananas.

Comment by D-BO 06.01.10 @

‘Rikers’ is the shit, but it wasn’t on an album. I like ‘Wanted…’ remix better so I didn’t include it. ‘Deathwish’ should be added though.

Comment by Robbie 06.01.10 @

No love for Mafioso and Mobstas off Roots Of Evil? I’ll take them over anything else on there aside from Thugs Love Story.

I really like Thugs Anthem too as far as weed carrier posse tracks go, actually. That ill Mexican guitar sample, the eerie vocal sample, and lines like “savage n*ggas turn ya cabbage into coleslaw” are a good recipe.

Comment by MF 06.01.10 @

LIVE AND LET DIE, the most underated album of all time not one weak track, its the ultimate bombsquad/meets pfunk record, its like heavy handed rapid fire earbashing! I got dat on OG vinyl!

Half a clip was dope too, I dont expect alot of purists to talk about it, its a good new sounding album, just not stand out enuff, still dope tho, ‘Turn it out’ and “wats more realer than that’ should be listen too again.

Comment by goon killer 06.01.10 @

From Road To The Riches: “Butcher Shop” was bangin’ and ill lyrically. Actually, one of the illest G Rap joints I ever heard was never even released: “I Declare War”. You can find it on YouTube. Men @ Work vs. Rock The Bells? Don’t even count the original version, you have to put Men @ Work against RTB, pt. 2, which to this day is still LL’s illest joint and M@W will smash it.

Comment by oskamadison 06.01.10 @

When Live And Let Die came out, Sir Jinx talked about not being able to clear a bunch of samples.
Robbie, have you ever come across the original mixes?

Comment by Money Mike 06.01.10 @

The verse on “I Ain’t Trickin” is hard as nails but i think thats on rated XXX

Comment by RowanB 06.01.10 @

Letters and Fuck U Man aren’t listed are they? Maybe not classic in the Ill St Blues sense but two tracks that album would be incomplete without

Comment by Jeffluv 06.01.10 @

“…My brain is like factory constantly creating/ Materials stitch by stitch for decorating/Lyrics are the fabric/Beats are the lining/My passion for rhyming is fashion designing!

Now it gets ordered/Cause people want to sport it/ You bought it/If you didn’t it’s cause you couldn’t afforded it!

Poetry full of surprises/It’s like a game show/ and then my brain glows/Just like a rainbow…..”

Poison is one of my all time joints. Start to end lyrical masterpiece that still gets me amped.

Comment by BKThoroughbred 06.01.10 @

Wanted Dead Or Alive is my favorite Kool G. Rap album ever.

Comment by Jaycee 06.01.10 @

Ayo ‘Ill Street Blues’ is my shit! I always felt it was like ‘Children’s Story’ for all the crimeys… “Up Up Up and away cause I don’t play clown; Buck Buck Buck take that wit’chu on the way down!”

Comment by bboycult 06.01.10 @

men at work crushes rock the bells ! no comparison what so ever!! g rap way better than l.l.!!! rick rubin was dope but not on marleys level

Comment by aRKayeM 06.01.10 @

Wanted Dead or Alive is still my funk. “Money in the Bank”

In a weird sort of way, G-Rap has become like Pac in Reverse, At this stage of his career not making good albums, but Killing guest appearances (Saigon, RZA, RickRoss), were early in Pac’s career he couldn’t make a good album, but killed guess appearances (Soundtracks, Mc Breed, ect).

He’s still in my Top 3 of dudes you should never Diss.

Comment by Sublime 06.02.10 @

I think you’re being a bit unfair to The Giancanna Story. Of course it wasn’t the masterpiece it was designed to be, but still a lot of good cuts on there, especially the Mobb Deep affiliated stuff.

Comment by ?uestion Marc 06.02.10 @

At the end of Poison, Polo says “they gonna bite this just like they bit It’s A Demo . . . you know who we talking about you fat sap sucka” haha who is he talking about?

Comment by hotbox 06.02.10 @

should have added “Two To The Head”

Comment by bloodshed 06.02.10 @

Rappers still try to catch up to G Rap

Comment by e-unum 06.02.10 @

Hey Mister Mister, not an album track but classic nonetheless

Comment by boogs 06.03.10 @

I agree w/ this assessment here for the most part.

I swear 456 has taken on some kinda new life in some circles… I heard a nigga say it was the definitive G Rap album… although he also later admitted he hadn’t ever heard the previous three and was one of them mid-90s fetishists. I wasn’t mad at the album at all, but the hindsight worship some people have given it is puzzling.

I rock w/ Wanted Dead Or Alive the most as an album… even though ‘Road to the Riches’ and the ‘On The Run’ remix are probably my fav. G Rap songs.

And yeah, he got entirely caught up in the gangsta-movie shit. He went from being an MC who could cover lots of ground to just making the same records about the same shit 20 times over. To his credit, he was doing it before a lot of dudes were doin’ it (especially in New York), but that doesn’t mean he didn’t start wearing it thin in those later years.


Comment by DANJ! 06.03.10 @

Wanted: Dead or Alive changed my life. To me, it’s G Rap’s best album. Call me an old fuddy duddy. I dare you.

Comment by Big Al Mpls 06.03.10 @

Cosign DANJ!

As gifted a lyricist as G Rap was/is, I feel sometimes he played it a little too safe with all that gangster shit, not that there’s anything wrong with it, as long as you have something new to say or a new angle of attacking that. To me, when I think of G Rap, the first joint that comes to mind is Men At Work. That first verse will body dudes’ entire careers. The first two albums were him at his best as an all around MC.

Comment by oskamadison 06.04.10 @

KOOL G RAP IS AN AMAZING FUCKING TALENT.I remember copping the single with It’s a demo and Rikers island on it.
My favorite G Rap lp will always been his debut lp and the 2nd lp but damn does he have a resume of music.
He might be the only mc who is truly a gangsta and a rap icon.
But I agree with everything that Danja said.
However,the new lp hes making right now with Domingo is gonna be that Old G Rap (i hope)and I got nothing but love for G RAP.
IS HE THE BEST MC EVER? I woudnt argue against that.I wish he hadnt of made a song with Rick Ross though,but G rap is the biggest beast on the planet!!!!!

Comment by DJ DAVITO 06.04.10 @

wanted dead or alive was his best work to me.that’s when you had a young large professor doing most of the tracks. well rounded. he cover every angle street topics, sex, battle, consious social and poltical freestyle, not like the albums after this live& let die, 456,and so on where he talked that crime gun shit the whole album.

Comment by derrick 06.04.10 @

Thug for Life and The Streets off Giancana are bangers, the rest is fairly throwaway but I defy anyone to listen to those two cuts and not nod along.

Comment by Glacial 06.07.10 @

live and let die was the shit. u was right about the controversy with warner brothers. but yep his first 4 are the ones i came up on. classical material.

Comment by dmfslimm 06.09.10 @

First of all, I can’t believe nobody mentioned G Rap’s verse on The Symphony. To this day I can’t decide if G Rap ripped it iller than Kane.

He dropped some heat in the mid/late 80s like It’s A Demo/ I’m Fly, Rikers Island/Rhyme Time and Poison.

Personally, I never really cared for his albums, dudes like LL Cool J or Q-Tip weren’t as good lyrically but they made better albums IMO.

Anyway, All things considered, I’d rate G Rap in the top 20 but his discography isn’t as good as certain MCs that can’t rap as good as him. I’d rather listen to Tupac but G Rap would have ripped him a new one.

Comment by 5 grand 06.10.10 @

Would be happy to sell you Click of Respect albums still in the shrink rap got some I can move

Comment by AG 06.11.10 @

by the way $5 each!

Comment by AG 06.11.10 @

Live and Let Die was one of the greatest albums of all time! A classic through and through.

The best song on 4.5.6. by far was “Ghetto Knows.”

The Giancana Story was not a great album but there were still some very strong cuts on there including “My Life”, “The Streets,” & “Black Widow”.

Half A Klip is a totally underrated album! Good from beginning to end. The only song I”m not really crazy about is the remake of “#1 with a bullet”. And that’s probably because I loved the original with BDK so much. Hypest cut on the album? Very hard to say, but I might have to go with “100 Rounds”.

Comment by sneak 06.30.10 @

@ hotbox: he’s dissing steady b.

Comment by 4:20 09.04.12 @

What’s the issue with the Roots of Evil album? G Rap bodied everything. Ahead of it’s time lyrically.

Comment by King Author 12.10.12 @

All of these comments dissing 4,5,6 and Roots of Evil are bullshit. So I guess no one here likes Raekwon or Biggie, either? Or Big L? Or Big Pun? Cause aside from some half assed production jobs, those albums are classic crime rap records. If he had tried to keep making the exact same kind of shit he invented in the 80’s, I really doubt he would have even been able to make music or stay relevant through the 90’s.

Comment by LardNar 03.30.13 @

g rap is my nigga i going to ride with the nigga guns out blazzzzzzzzzzz

Comment by jerry 03.31.13 @

Kool G Rap was ill on the “4, 5, 6” album. I’ll admit, some of the beats weren’t all that but it’s still a very solid album.

Comment by Big Bad 18th Street Gang, E'z up! 11.16.13 @

Only one album missing



Comment by Larry Legend 11.16.13 @

KGR was my favorite rapper since 88. I made these beats for him and I wonder if he heard them

Comment by Time Sander 11.17.13 @

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