- — San Andreas Official Website
The Grove Street Families (a.k.a "Families" or "GSF", "The Grove", or "Groves") is a gang featured in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It is the protagonistic group in the game, as the game's main protagonist (Carl Johnson) is among its leaders.
The Grove Street Families is an African-American street gang and one of the oldest street gangs in Los Santos, San Andreas. They are also the native gang of protagonist Carl Johnson. They are the sworn enemy of the Ballas, an intense and ongoing rivalry as part of the Ballas-Grove Street War. The Families also maintain rivalries with the two Mexican gangs in Los Santos - the Los Santos Vagos and the Varrios Los Aztecas. Their rivalry with the Varrios Los Aztecas is not nearly as intense as it is with the Ballas and Vagos. However, both gangs will still commonly fight. Kendl (sister of Grove Street Leader Sweet) ends up dating a high-ranking member of the Aztecas while CJ befriends him - much to the disapproval of Sweet.
Most of their territory can be found in the poorer/run-down neighborhoods in the far east of the city, though they also have small pockets of territory elsewhere - including the rich area of Temple and the popular tourist destination of Santa Maria Beach. They are easily identifiable by their green gang color.
As far as street gangs in GTA San Andreas go, the GSF are depicted as more honorable than their rival gangs. Coming from a background of older traditions, they are against hard drugs being sold on their turf as opposed to the Ballas and Vagos. They are very stubborn and Sweet refuses to adapt to changes in the Los Santos criminal underworld. They are well known, however, for committing numerous other crimes and violent acts including gun running/arms-trafficking, gang-banging, gang warfare, murder, robbery, burglary/theft, gang-related homicide, vandalism, and street violence.
- The first member is slightly overweight, wears a green bandana, green sweater, black jeans, and white sneakers.
- The second member has braided hair, wears a green button-up plaid/flannel checkered jacket, beige khaki pants, and black and white hi-top sneakers.
- The last member wears a backwards black baseball cap, a green #7 Los Santos Rimmers basketball jersey, a cross necklace, a bracelet, black jeans, and black and white sneakers.
Initially, in the beginning of the game, Grove Street members are mostly unarmed, with some carrying pistols or Tec-9s. If the player sprays over all tags in Los Santos, they will wield Desert Eagles, MP5s, and knives instead. They can occasionally be seen smoking marijuana and drinking malt liquor while talking and hanging around in groups. Green clothing is a dead give-away and members will often flash their gang handsigns. Upon spotting a Balla, Vago, or Azteca gang member, they will often engage in a violent confrontation (especially Ballas). Members of the families, like other pedestrians, will often comment on CJ's attire, physical looks, or his vehicle.
Their territory includes:
- Ganton (especially Grove Street - considered the heart and headquarters of GSF territory)
- Playa Del Seville (after making peace with the Seville Boulevard Families. At first, it's an enemy hood)
- Temple (after making peace with the Temple Drive Families. At first, it's an enemy hood)
- Vinewood Cemetery
- Santa Maria Beach
Carl can buy some GSF apparels in many clothing retailers.
- Green Cap (can be purchased in ProLaps)
- Face Black (can be purchased in Sub Urban)
- Green Jeans (can be purchased in Binco)
- Green Tagg T (can be purchased in Victim)
- Green Rag (can be purchased in Binco)
- Green Eris T-shirt (can be purchased in Binco)
- Windbreakers (can be purchased in Binco and Sub Urban)
- Green Low-Tops (can be purchased in Binco)
- Green Hoodie (can be purchased in Binco)
- Green Track-pants (can be purchased in Binco)
- Base-5 Hoodie (can be purchased in Sub Urban)
- Olive Pants (can be purchased in Binco)
- Woodland Camo (can be purchased in Binco)
- Urban Camo (can be purchased in Binco)
The Grove Street Families were formed in Ganton (initially in Grove Street) before spreading to the rest of Ganton and other neighborhoods. History before this time period (late 80s) is unknown, and much of what happened to the Families during the late 80s is also unknown. However, what is known is that the Families are one of the oldest gangs in Los Santos - this possibly means that they are older than the Ballas (who formed during the 1970s) - giving the possibility that the Families evolved from the 1960s, or possibly even earlier.
The Families also have a history of a traditional, intense, and bloody rivalry with the Ballas. Specifically when the gang war started is unknown, but the rivalry between the two gangs was in full swing as early as 1987. The start and reason of their rivalry with the Los Santos Mexican gangs is unknown, though their rivalry with the Vagos has most likely developed due to their expansion and growth around their territory along with their heavy crack-cocaine influence. Despite being divided into different sets, the Families were much more united before the early 1990s.
While Sweet is adamantly anti-narcotic, Smoke believes that the GSF have fallen from power because of his refusal to sell drugs. Their unwillingness to enter the drug trade has dragged the Grove Street Families out of prominence in the years leading up to the game's storyline. The fact that Sweet insists the gang shouldn't deal in narcotics, the deaths of OGs such as Tony, Big Devil, and Little Devil, and the abandonment of OGs such as Big Bear and B Dup has largely weakened them from their previous dominant position in Los Santos. Likewise, the splitting of the Grove Families into different enemy sets - the Temple Drive Families and the Seville Boulevard Families has massively increased violence from within the families and further weakened them. The fact that the Ballas are extremely successful at spreading crack cocaine into their territory to weaken the Families (also in-part due to Big Smoke's involvement) has led to the sorry state of the GSF upon CJ's return from Liberty City in 1992.
Prior to 1992, the Families also controlled the southern portion of East Los Santos and Idlewood (although they lost Idlewood before 1987, as during the mission Cleaning the Hood, Carl seems to know it is Ballas turf). They likely also controlled Willowfield due to Emmet's presence there; specifically the Seville Boulevard Families.
Events of GTA San Andreas
During the beginning of the game, and upon Carl Johnson's return from Liberty City, the Grove Street Families are the smallest, least powerful, and least influential gang in Los Santos. A variety of problems has led to their demise - including the deaths of many high-ranking members/OGs (Little Devil, Big Devil, Tony) along with the death of Sweet's (leader of the Grove Street Families) family members (Brian Johnson and Beverly Johnson). On top of this, the Grove Street Families have split up into different warring sets (Temple Drive Families and the Seville Boulevard Families) - causing inter-hostilities.
Further, their refusal to enter the drugs trade (especially crack cocaine) has put them at a severe disadvantage to the other gangs (such as the Ballas), who are able to make much profit from this. The GSF also face the major problem of crack-cocaine spread throughout their territory (largely due to the Ballas and Big Smoke). Crack-cocaine turns members into weak and hopeless addicts and influences high-ranking members with the money that can be made from the drugs trade (as is the case with B-Dup); thus, drawing them away from gang-banging.
The Ballas attempt to finish off the remaining OGs in a drive-by shooting as they are leaving the funeral of Beverly Johnson. However, they are only successful at destroying Big Smoke's car. The remaining OGs escape to Grove Street on bicycle while avoiding the Ballas car.
The Grove Street Families then attempt to decrease the influence of crack-cocaine in their territory by killing some Ballas members at a crack house in Idlewood. Sweet orders CJ and Ryder for the mission, and they successfully kill the Ballas inside the house. This gradually decreases the influence of crack-cocaine in GSF territory, and drug dealers become less prevalent on the streets in Ganton.
In retaliation for the events of the previous mission, the Kilo Tray Ballas attempt a drive-by on Grove Street. Luckily, Sweet, CJ, Ryder, and Big Smoke are able to catch them on the way to Grove Street while pulling out of a Cluckin' Bell drive-thru in Willowfield. A car chase follows, and the OGs are able to destroy the car and kill the Ballas.
The Grove Street Families then gain a substantial victory of the Ballas when CJ, Ryder, Sweet, and Big Smoke went into the Ballas' territories and killed more than a dozen of the Rollin' Heights Ballas and the Kilo Tray Ballas in a drive-by shooting.
Sweet then goes to his girlfriend's house in Playa del Seville, but unfortunately, he is caught by the Seville Boulevard Families (an enemy Grove set). CJ then killed every Seville Boulevard Families member who was attacking Sweet. Sweet states that there needs to be an end to "green-on-green" violence if the GSF are ever able to become strong again.
CJ and Ryder stole various weaponry and ammunition in Los Santos in the missions Home Invasion, Catalyst, and Robbing Uncle Sam. In doing so, the Grove Street Families become better equipped and start carrying Tec-9 submachine guns.
Sweet then gets word that a former member of the Grove Street Families (now a Balla) called Little Weasel has been selling drugs, and is now in-hiding with the Ballas at Glen Park. Sweet orders CJ to kill him. CJ then kills Little Weasel and many other Ballas at Glen Park during a gang war. Following the gang war, the Grove Street Families gain the territory of Glen Park from the Ballas. At this point, the GSF are now much stronger and are on a more equal footing with the Ballas.
The Ballas, in retaliation for the Glen Park gang war; attempt to start their own gang war right on Grove Street. Luckily, a member of the Families is able to catch the Ballas on the way and warn Sweet and the OGs, who are then able to prepare. They block off Grove Street and prepare themselves. CJ, Sweet, and other members of the GSF are then able to successfully defend their territory.
The Ballas then hold a funeral for Little Weasel (who CJ previously killed). Many Ballas OGs are attending the funeral (including Kane of the Front Yard Ballas). CJ, Sweet, and members of the GSF are able to crash the funeral and kill many high-ranking Ballas members (including Kane).
In an attempt to fully bring the Grove Street Families back to their full power, a meeting is organized between the three different Family sets (Ganton, Playa de Seville, and Temple) at the Jefferson Motel. Sweet, CJ, Big Smoke, and Ryder attend the meeting, and Sweet is voted the representative for the Grove Street Families. However, the LSPD and S.W.A.T. raids and breaks-up the meeting, and a battle ensues inside the motel between Families gang members and S.W.A.T. officers. Luckily, CJ managed to rescue Sweet, and they are able to escape with the help of Big Smoke and Ryder.
In an attempt to fully finish the Ballas, a large gang war is organized between the Ballas and the Families under the Mulholland Intersection. However, Sweet is shot and injured, and the police manage to break up the gang war. Sweet is then arrested and sent to a prison hospital upstate, while CJ is captured by C.R.A.S.H. and warned to stay away from Big Smoke. At this point, both Ryder and Big Smoke have completely defected from the Grove Street Families and into the crack-cocaine business, aligning themselves with C.R.A.S.H. and the Ballas, as well as handing over the green Sabre involved in the murder of Carl's mother to C.R.A.S.H. officers.
This leaves the GSF with no leaders or OGs. They soon fall from power again and become subservient to the Ballas and Vagos. Remaining GSF members are either dead, imprisoned, addicted to drugs, go into hiding, left the gang, defect to the Ballas, or become employed by Big Smoke and his drug organization (as seen in the drug courier missions). The Ballas resume spreading crack-cocaine through their territory again to control them. Soon enough, the Ballas manage to control the entirety of what had been GSF territory - including Ganton and Grove Street, Playa del Seville, Temple, the Vinewood Cemetery, and Santa Maria Beach. They also recapture back Glen Park. The Families and their allies, the Varrios Los Aztecas (who begin to suffer the same fate), essentially become nearly defunct and inactive and the Ballas and Vagos control the streets of Los Santos. Carl is forced to continue working for C.R.A.S.H. away from the city in exile.
The Grove Street Families then have no more significance throughout the rest of the middle-game, apart for some who work with Big Smoke and Ryder while CJ becomes enveloped in a new lifestyle away from gang-banging and "hood life" while Sweet is incarcerated.
However, Sweet's release from prison, courtesy of Mike Toreno, and CJ's second return to Los Santos with Sweet allows the gang to rise and reform again (now co-headed by Carl and Sweet Johnson) and regain most of their lost turf from the Ballas while destroying the crack-cocaine influence again during the missions Home Coming, Beat Down on B-Dup, and Grove 4 Life. That same year, Big Smoke's Crack Palace is destroyed by Frank Tenpenny by shooting a generator during the final mission - greatly diminishing the crack-cocaine trade in Los Santos and further strengthening the position of the Families.
Depending on the player's actions, it is possible to take some or all of the Ballas' and Vagos' turf for the GSF as part of the gang-war mini-game, causing the GSF to potentially become the largest and most powerful gang in Los Santos with no major threats anymore. If the player successfully takes over the entire turf in Los Santos, then their turfs will no longer come under attack.
There are three distinct sets of the Families:
- Grove Street Families (GSF): Ganton, Glen Park, Idlewood (Carl Johnson - the protagonist's set)
- Temple Drive Families (TDF): Temple, Santa Maria Beach
- Seville Boulevard Families (SBF): Playa del Seville (The Seville and Grove were in a bad relationship, and after the mission "Sweet's Girl", where the Seville Boulevard starts an official war with the GSF, Playa del Seville becomes an enemy territory. However, after the mission "Reuniting The Families", the SBF and GSF make peace)
The sets get their name from their territory. For example, the Grove Street Families get their name from their formation in Grove Street, Ganton. The Seville Boulevard Families get their name from their territory - Playa del Seville, and the Temple Drive Families get their name from their main turf - Temple. All sets are part of the "Family" banner, and all wear green. The differences are based on different territories/neighborhoods, and possibly a different approach to the drugs trade. It is known the Grove Street Families are heavily against drug trafficking, but it is possible that the Seville Boulevard and Temple Drive Families are involved with narcotics due to them splitting from the Grove Street Families, though this is never mentioned in the game. Either way, they eventually reunite as allied sets with the Grove Street Families resuming the position of the most dominant, active, and powerful set, meaning that any narcotics business the other family sets were involved with would have ended.
Historically, all sets were originally one with the Grove Street Families, but split up from the GSF during the five years of Carl's absence. Earlier in the game, they are not on good terms with each other, primarily because of Grove Street's opposition to drug trafficking, which is one reason for why the gang has weakened, but as stated, they are later allied and reunited again.
Interestingly, the Family-on-Family violence is only referenced in the games storyline. If the player actually walks into Playa del Seville or Temple, the families there will react exactly the same as they would in Ganton and Grove Street. CJ can even recruit members in these areas. The only actual hostilties between family sets occurs during the mission Sweet's Girl, in which the Seville Boulevard Families react with hostility to CJ. It is unknown why the different family sets do not react with hostility outside of this mission or within the game's lore.
Terms and Slang
- OG/Original Gangster: High-ranking, influential, and well-respected member. One that has put in a lot of work
- Hood: Neighborhood
- Homie/Home boy/Home girl: Contemporary street slang - a friend
- Busta/Buster: A fake, fraud, and cowardly poser
Members and Associates
- Sweet - Leader/OG
- Carl Johnson - Second-in-Command/OG
- Big Smoke - Lieutenant/OG (former/deceased)
- Ryder - Lieutenant/OG (former/deceased)
- Brian Johnson - Hang-around/new member before his death (deceased)
- Big Bear - OG
- B Dup - OG (formerly; became a drug dealer and associated with the Ballas)
- Big Devil - OG (deceased)
- Little Devil - OG (deceased)
- Tony - OG (deceased)
- Little Weasel - Former member. Was secretly selling drugs to the Families. Later joined the Kilo Tray Ballas in Glen Park (former/deceased)
- Madd Dogg - Associate, rapper, and personal friend of Carl and Sweet, CJ being his manager (after the mission Madd Dogg)
- Denise Robinson - Associate, fanatic, and girlfriend of Carl Johnson
- Emmet - Former weapon supplier (associate of the Seville Boulevard Families)
- OG Loc - Associate and friend of many OGs, including leader Sweet. Jeffrey grew up on Grove Street, but lacked the physical capability or mentality to join the Families
- LB - Supplier/associate/possible member and friend of Ryder (although not physically seen, he was mentioned multiple times by Ryder) – likely associated with the Seville Boulevard Families due to owning a garage on their turf
- Fam1 - generic member
- Fam2 - generic member
- Fam3 - generic member
- Cherise (possibly) - An unseen mentioned character, Fam1 can sometimes be heard saying "Anyone seen Cherise?"
- GMW – Members of the rap group GMW (Ganton's Most Wanted) are members of the Grove Street Families, as evidenced by the cover art for their album It's a GMW Thang!.
- GTA San Andreas
- The Introduction
- Big Smoke
- Sweet & Kendl
- Tagging Up Turf
- Cleaning the Hood
- Nines And AKs
- Sweet's Girl
- Robbing Uncle Sam
- House Party
- Los Sepulcros
- Reuniting the Families
- The Green Sabre
- Big Smoke's Cash
- Home Coming
- Beat Down On B Dup
- Grove 4 Life
- Los Desperados
- End of The Line
- If CJ recruits GSF members, they will shoot at the other gangs on first sight. Also, while in a car, if CJ crashes it or runs over pedestrians, they will shout at him. For example, a GSF member can be heard saying "Open your eyes, CJ".
- CJ has the ability to respond positively or negatively to GSF members if they speak to him. However, unlike pedestrians, they will not attack him if he answers negatively.
- If a gang territory is under attack, and you lose it, it will become inhabited by both GSF and the rival gang that attacked it.
- There are also two other Grove Street gang members that are seen in the mission cutscenes 'House Party', 'Los Sepulcros', and 'The Green Sabre'. One member has a bald head and wears a dark green jacket, dark green khakis, and a lighter green t-shirt underneath. The other member has a taper fade haircut, wears a green long-sleeve chore jacket and dark blue jeans, and bears a resemblance to the late WWE professional wrestler Eddie Guerrero. He is also seen DJ'ing at OG Loc's house party. They are only seen in the said mission cutscenes (the latter member only being seen in House Party), and it's unknown why they're not seen in the streets outside of the cutscenes or in the missions (pictures of them are in the Gallery).
- Even though the Families had split into three factions, CJ is able to recruit members from the Seville Boulevard and Temple Drive Families before completing 'Reuniting the Families'.
- The Grove Street Families consider the Ballas to be their sworn enemies, and the two were often at war for territory before the GSF's loss of prominence in the city, and again after they begin their revival. This rivalry is often thought to be inspired by Los Angeles' Bloods and Crips gangs. Violence in Los Angeles hit a peak during the early-nineties crack epidemic, a situation mirrored in 1992's Los Santos.
- If you recruit GSF gang members and other GSF gang members attack you, your recruited members will fire at the attacking gang members, but will miss every shot. This was probably as a way to avoid friendly fire when gang members move into the crossfire at a shootout.
- If you recruit a GSF member while equipped with a camera, CJ will have the option to ask them to take a picture of the player.
- If you recruit GSF members and take a photo, they will stand still, look at the camera, and flash gang handsigns.
- Holding down the command buttons allows CJ to disband the recruits and tell them that they may go.
- If the player has successfully sprayed all 100 Gang Tags, the GSF members will receive knives, MP5 Submachine Guns, and Desert Eagles. They will only be able to do drive-bys with the MP5s and Desert Eagles.
- However, recruiting an unarmed member will automatically equip him with a 9mm Pistol.
- The Grove Street Families were originally going to be called the "Orange Grove Families" (shortened to "OGF"). The gang's street title based on Grape Street, LA, and "Orange Grove" was very similar to real title, but was renamed anyway both with the gang. Original graffiti and dialogue still remains in the game. For example, the player can see "OGF" graffiti around Los Santos. CJ will shout out dialogue relating to the "OGF" and "Orange Grove Families" when confronting enemy gang members. Also, there is a well-known NPC that wears a "Orange 12" Jumper, who will sometimes say when CJ car jacks or threatens him, "I thought we were the same set!. CJ can also get a tattoo on his upper back that relates to the "Orange Grove Families".
- Whenever there is a cutscene with a Grove Gang Member (excluding CJ), it always has this Theme Song playing
- Fam1, an unnamed Grove Street Families member, is voiced by Shawn Fonteno, who also provides the voice and motion capture of protagonist Franklin Clinton in Grand Theft Auto V, and is also the cousin of Young Maylay, the voice actor of CJ.
- The Ballas and Grove Street Families are based on Heart of Midlothian F.C. (who are purple) and Hibernian F.C. (who are green) respectively. Midlothian and Hibernian are both soccer teams based in Edinburgh, Scotland who have a great rivalry, one which usually includes violence. Edinburgh is also the location of Rockstar North, which is why they chose these two teams.
- The 2 unused GSF members are internally named "fam4" and "fam5", suggesting that the gang had (at least) 2 additional members. However, they go unused and only appear in cutscenes.
- Grove Street's territory is also called a secure area. When the player gets a wanted level and the police or other members of law enforcement are trying to arrest or kill the player, the gang will attack the officers.
- Also, on Vigilante missions, when the criminal attacks pedestrians and the player is in the Grove Street territory, the gang members will shoot the criminal.
- The main cast of Grove Street members could be based up on the Compton rap group N.W.A. CJ being Dr. Dre, Ryder being Eazy-E, Sweet being Ice Cube, and Big Smoke being N.W.A.'s former bodyguard, Suge Knight.
- The cars driven by Grove Street members (Greenwood, Savanna, and Voodoo) are found in higher concentrations in different districts. Greenwoods are generally found more in southeast Los Santos (Ganton and Idlewood especially), while Voodoos are found in Glen Park, Jefferson, and East Los Santos. Savannas are preferred by members of the Temple Drive and Seville Boulevard sets, and are found on their turf.
- In the beta version, recruited gang members would follow CJ into interiors, as shown in the gallery above.
- Sometimes when a Police Helicopter flies over the player whilst driving with recruited members, one or more (depending on the amount recruited) might bail out of the car and run away; causing the helicopter to follow them.
- GSF members have a tendency to mistake ordinary cars for being gang driven. For example, they would shoot and chase any Tahoma or Majestic if it wanders into their territory, even if it is not being driven by the Ballas. When CJ is driving a Broadway, GSF members might say "Aztecas fool". They might also shoot at any Hermes, even if it is not being driven by the Vagos or Aztecas. These situations are fairly rare however.
- During the Los Santos Riots, Grove Street members might attack CJ unprovoked.
- Even after spraying all the tags, GSF members will still spawn with Pistols when they are either involved in a car chase against the police, or when CJ recruits an unarmed GSF member.
- Sweet Johnson: "All they do is sell yay and ruin the place. No crack ever made a gang tight". (from the Cleaning the Hood mission)
- Sweet Johnson (talking to Big Smoke about the possibility of selling drugs): "Nah. We just standing by our principles, homie". (From the Introduction DVD)
- Big Smoke (talking to Sweet Johnson about the possibility of selling drugs): "But our principles are making us ****es, man. Every day, Ballas getting stronger, and you and I get weaker. You and I get poorer, man". (From the San Andreas Introduction DVD)
- Mike Toreno: Hey, I got a little surprise for you here. You ready for this? Huh? (phone rings) Answer it". Carl Johnson: "Hello?" Sweet Johnson: "Carl, it's me Sweet". Carl Johnson: "Aw, Sweet!" Sweet Johnson: "I don't know what happened, they just released me. No idea what's going on, but I'm in the square outside the precinct in Commerce. Carl Johnson: "Alright you hold tight, I'll be right there (puts phone down). So what was that little job you was talking about, Toreno?" Mike Toreno: "I just want you to pick up your brother. Get out of here". (From the Home Coming mission)
- Big Smoke: "Emmet's Seville Boulevard Families, we ain't too close these days, but nonetheless, I'll take you to see him". (From the Nines and AK's mission)
- Also there is real gang based there called Grape Street Crips. Their gang color is purple (grape).