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. 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 participants of 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, with only bassist/songwriter 'Hoxton' Tom McCourt being present in every line-up of the band. Other former members include Roi Pearce, who was also the frontman of The Last Resort, and Paul Swain, a guitarist who later joined the white power rock band Skrewdriver.
In 2007, the band reformed with two original members — lead singer Gary Hodges and bassist Steve 'H' Harmer — plus guitarist Mick Geggus and drummer Andy Russell of Cockney Rejects. The new line-up has been recording an album for the independent record label G&R London. Two of their songs, "Chaos 2007" and "Glory Days" are on the G&R London compilation album Kings of Streetpunk. In April 2008, Gary Hodges 4-Skins released two songs for free on their official web page. Both are covers of Slade songs, "Cum on Feel the Noize" and "Thanks for the Memories".
Despite having originally stated that they would not perform live, Gary Hodges' 4-Skins (which is Hodges fronting the band Indecent Exposure) 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.
The band are currently recording a new studio album, entitled The Return, for release on Randale Records.