Prior to the release of the band's debut single, "One Law For Them", The 4-Skins contributed songs to the first three Oi! compilation albums, alongside bands such as Cockney Rejects, Cock Sparrer, The Business and Angelic Upstarts. Other well-known songs include: "Sorry", "Evil", "Chaos", "Plastic Gangsters" and "A.C.A.B." (All Coppers Are Bastards). Many of their songs dealt with violent topics, but the band has claimed they were discussing the realities of inner city life, not promoting violence. Other 4-Skins song topics include police harassment, political corruption, war and unemployment.
Most of the original four band members were or had been skinheads, thus the double meaning of the band's name. However, Steve Pear had a rockabilly style, and Hoxton Tom McCourt — who was a suedehead — was one of the leading faces in the mod revival. Initially the band members had known each other from football, or from following bands such as Sham 69 and Menace.
The 4-Skins went through many personnel changes during their five-year existence, only bassist/songwriter 'Hoxton' Tom McCourt being present in every line-up of the band. Notable former members include frontman of The Last Resort, Roi Pearce, and guitarist Paul Swain, who later joined white power band Skrewdriver.
In 2007, the band reformed with two of the original members - lead singer Gary Hodges and bassist Steve 'H' Harmer, plus the Cockney Rejects' Mick Geggus and Andy Russell on guitar and drums respectively. The new line-up has been recording an album for the independent record label G&R London. This new line-up appeared on the G&R London compilation album Kings of Streetpunk, with the songs "Chaos 2007" and "Glory Days". In April, 2008 Gary Hodges 4-Skins' released two songs for free on their official web page. Both are covers of Slade songs, namely "Cum on Feel the Noize" and "Thanks for the Memories".
Despite having originally stated that they would not perform live, Gary Hodges, fronting the band Indecent Exposure as Gary Hodges' 4-Skins, has played three shows, one in Berlin at the Punk and Disorderly festival, in Allentown, PA at the East Coast Oi Fest and also appearing as the headlining act on the final day of the Blackpool Rebellion punk festival in August 2008.
What If Punk Never Happened by The King Blues, from their 2008 album Save The World, Get The Girl, includes the lyric "If only the 4 Skins had told us ACAB".