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Directed byTamra Davis
Produced byNelson George
Written byChris Rock
Nelson George
Robert LoCash
Music byJohn Barnes
CinematographyKarl Walter Lindenlaub
Edited byEarl Watson
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • March 12, 1993 (1993-03-12)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$6 million
Box office$17,959,778

CB4 is a 1993 American comedy film directed by Tamra Davis and starring Chris Rock. The film follows a fictional rap group named "CB4", named after the prison block in which the group was allegedly formed (Cell Block 4). The movie primarily parodies the rap group N.W.A among other gangsta rap aspects, as well as taking inspiration from This is Spinal Tap. It contains short segments featuring celebrities and musicians such as Halle Berry, Eazy-E, Butthole Surfers, Ice-T, Ice Cube, Flavor Flav, and Shaquille O'Neal.[1]


Three young friends and aspiring rappers, Albert, Euripides, and Otis want to make their big break. The trio have talent, but no marketable image. In order to get their name heard, they appeal to local crime kingpin and nightclub owner Gusto along with his sidekick and henchman 40 Dog to ask for a spot on the bill at his club, but during a failed meeting the police rush in and throw Gusto in jail.

Gusto believes that the trio set him up, swearing revenge when he is released from prison. While Gusto is locked up, Albert steals his criminal background and identity to become "MC Gusto", renaming Euripides and Otis as "Dead Mike" and "Stab Master Arson" respectively. Together they form the hardcore gangsta rap group CB4 (Cell Block 4) and successfully sign with Trustus Jones, a local music mogul. CB4 becomes the hottest band on the charts with controversial hits like "Sweat of My Balls" and "Straight Outta LoCash", and their rise to fame is documented by an aspiring director and his cameraman. However, an ambitious politician seeks to shut them down for obscenity charges, and tensions between the group arise over one member's gold-digging groupie girlfriend Sissy and the strain of the charade takes its toll on Albert's family life and relationship with his wholesome girlfriend Daliha. To compound this, the real Gusto escapes from prison and sets out to get revenge by making Albert take part in a record store robbery, exposing his face to the CCTV cameras and then taking the tape as a tool for blackmail. The group breaks up and reunites after Trustus Jones's death at the hands of Gusto. Eventually, the group set up their own sting operation with Sissy to capture Gusto and he is sent to prison for life. Albert gives up the pretense of being a gangsta, emceeing under his real name, and the group embarks on a reunion tour.




A soundtrack containing hip hop music was released on March 2, 1993, by MCA Records. It peaked at #41 on the Billboard 200 and #13 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.

In popular culture[edit]

The quote from the movie "Boy, I'm three generations deep in gangsterdom. Three generations." was used in the Chris Rock tracks "Champagne" and "I Loved the Show" from his 1997 album Roll with the New.


The movie had a mixed reception from critics. Los Angeles Times wrote that despite CB4 having been "one of the more adventurous of the recent African-American comedies, it still gets bogged down in those movie-movie formulas, those phony recipes for success."[2] The New York Times' Janet Maslin wrote that the film "promises sharper satire than it actually delivers. Pandering a shade too avidly to the real rap audience, the film sometimes tries to use the same sexist, mean-spirited ethos it makes fun of."

The movie currently holds a rating of 55% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 22 reviews.[3]

Box office[edit]

The film ranked No. 1 at the box office in its opening weekend, with sales totaling $6,116,000 across 1,205 theaters.[4] At the end of its domestic run it had grossed a total of $17,953,778.[5] Chris Rock stated that the film's budget was $6 million.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Willman, Chris (1993-03-14). "MOVIES : Rap Attack, Take Two : Nearly a decade after a spate of breakdancing duds, the big screen's gettin' busy--with 3 films in the genre coming out". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
  2. ^ Wilmington, Michael (1993-03-12). "MOVIE REVIEW : 'CB4' Hips, Hops and Just Bounces Too Much". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
  3. ^ Maslin, Janet (1993-03-12). "Review/Film; 3 Rappers Seeking Stardom". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
  4. ^ "Rap-comedy 'CB4' tops weekend box office". UPI. 1993-03-15. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  5. ^ "CB4 (1993)". Box Office Mojo. 1993-04-13. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  6. ^ Williams, Ernestine (1993-06-11). "Chris Rock rolls into West Palm". The Palm Beach Post. West Palm Beach, FL. p. 93. Retrieved 2016-09-22.

External links[edit]