Last week, Compton's own Buddy released an ASAP Ferg-assisted single, "Black." At the time, I enjoyed it for what it was—a dope song, but it was after a deeper listen to the hook that I caught something interesting. With Buddy chanting, "I'm so black on black on black on black on black/Black, black, black/Black on black," it got me thinking: was he low-key paying homage to one of the funniest hip-hop movies of all time, CB4? The timing made sense, considering that the 1993 film (which was written by and starred Chris Rock) was released 25 years ago today (March 12). And even if that is just a mere coincidence, it wouldn't be surprising if Buddy got inspiration for "Black" from the magnificent scene in CB4 that birthed the "I'm Black, Y'all" meme.
For those who are unaware, CB4 (which was Chris Rock's first starring role, and came out around the tail-end of his Saturday Night Live career), was a comedy about a trio of rap-loving guys who faked it until they made it. The movie, which Rock wrote alongside Nelson George and Robert LoCash, dives into the lives of a fictional rap group called CB4 in a hilarious "rapumentary" that parodies everyone from N.W.A., MC Hammer, and many other rap tropes.
For the squad (Chris Rock played Albert a.k.a. MC Gusto, Allen Payne played Euripides a.k.a. Dead Mike, and Deezer D played Otis a.k.a. Stab Master Arson), trying to get into the rap game was their thing. They tried a number of trash gimmicks before the biggest gangster in their city, Gusto (played by the late, great Charlie Murphy) is sent to Cell Block 4 after a sting operation. Gusto believes Albert had something to do with his arrest but it was just a case of him being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It wasout of this crazy predicament that Albert hatches a genius idea: he'd start calling himself Gusto, call his squad CB4 (Cell Block 4), and manufacture a gangsta lifestyle to hit the top of the charts.
The plan worked and CB4 blew the hell up, but as the old adage goes: mo' money, mo' problems. Although he goes along with the ruse, Euripides never wanted CB4 to be super exploitative. They mostly failed in that regard as the group got bigger and more outrageous. As the film progressed, Euripides (as Dead Mike) not only began reading more pro-Black literature, but also started speaking up about how he was going to be doing everything for his people. After Gusto (the real Gusto) forced Albert to disband CB4 , there's a bit where the squad members go solo, with Dead Mike getting super Afrocentric on his single, "I'm Black Y'all," which is black AF and the birth of a glorious meme.
True, it's hilarious, and is basically just Dead Mike rhyming about how black he is (sample lyrics: "Yo, I'm black and then black y'all and I'm blackity black and I'm black y'all and I'm black y'all and I'm black y'all"), but for many, it became the perfect meme to express how "black" someone is being in a number of instances, including celebrating Black History Month.
To how many of us walked in to see Black Panther.
To simple things, like how people wake up in the morning.
How I wake up in the morning. #blackyall #cb4 this was a cool ass movie
A post shared by Franck Juste (@franck_juste) on Jun 13, 2015 at 8:24pm PDT
Sadly, despite CB4 being an undeniable cult classic, more than a few folks probably had no clue that their favorite meme came from a 25-year-old flick about the phoniest rap group of all time. Shouts to Chris Rock for unknowingly blessing the world with this gem, which will no doubt be used to explain some of the battle scenes in Wakanda during Avengers: Infinity War.