- "Internal disputes? Spheres of influence diminishing. Thought to have no serious involvement in drugs trade, which has led to their decline. Some OG's heavily involved in PCP business."
- ― 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 and playable character (Carl Johnson) is amongst 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 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 dismayal of Sweet.
Most of their territory can be found in the poorer/run-down neighborhoods of South Central Los Santos 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 has dreadlocks, wears a green button-up plaid/flannel checkered jacket, beige khaki pants and black and white hi-top sneakers.
- The second member is slightly overweight, wears a green bandana, green sweater, black jeans and white sneakers.
- The last member wears a backwards black baseball cap, a green #7 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 either unarmed or carry pistols. However, upon completing Ryder's final mission - Robbing Uncle Sam, they also begin carrying TEC 9 sub-machine guns. If the player sprays over all tags in Los Santos, they will wield Desert Eagle, MP5, and knifes instead of pistol and TEC 9. 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 of GSF territory)
- Playa Del Seville (after making peace with the Seville Boulevard Family, 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
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 80's) is unknown, and much of what happened to the families during the late 80's 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 even possibly 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 one big gang prior to 1992.
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 OG's 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.
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 the game. A variety of problems has led to their demise - including the deaths of many high-ranking members/OG's (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 OG's 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 OG's must safetly travel back 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 destroying a nearby Ballas crack house in Idlewood. Sweet orders CJ and Ryder for the mission and they successfully destroy the crack 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 destruction of the crack house in Idlewood, the Kilo Tray Ballas attempt a drive-by in 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 OG's 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 are able to kill many members of the Rollin' Heights Ballas and the Kilo Tray Ballas in a drive-by shooting.
Sweet's life is in danger when he is caught by the Seville Boulevard Families (an enemy Grove set) at his girlfriends house in Playa Del Seville. CJ is able to save Sweet and kill the attacking Seville Boulevard Family members. 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 then work to steal various weaponry and ammunition in Los Santos during 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 is able to kill 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 OG's, 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 high-ranking Ballas OG's 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. Sweet, CJ, Big Smoke and Ryder attend the meeting and Sweet is voted the representative for the Grove Street Families. However, a SWAT team raids and breaks-up the meeting. Luckily, CJ is able 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 the prison hospital while CJ is abandoned from Los Santos by CRASH and warned to stay away from Grove Street. At this point, both Ryder and Big Smoke have completely defected from the Grove Street Families and into the crack-cocaine business.
This leaves the GSF with no leaders or OG's. They soon fall from power again and become subservient to the Ballas and Vagos. Remaining Grove St. Family members are either dead, in-hiding, or become Ballas. 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 essentially become defunct and inactive and the Ballas and Vagos control the streets of South Central Los Santos. Carl is forced to continue working for C.R.A.S.H. away from Los Santos.
The Grove Street Families then have no more significance throughout the rest of the middle-game and 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 CJ 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 (Carl Johnson - the protagonist's set)
- Temple Drive Families (TDF): Temple
- Seville Boulevard Families (SBF): Playa Del Seville (The Seville and Grove were in a bad relationships, 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 makes 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 grove-on-grove 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 games lore.
Terms and Slang
- Grave/Graves/Grave Street: Disrespectful
- Gay/Gays/Gay Street: Disrespectful
- G-Street: Secondary name of gang
- Blood: Greeting/Respectful
- Family: Greeting/Respectful
- OG/Original Gangster: High-ranking, influential and well-respected member. One that has put in a lot of work
- BK/Balla Killer/Balla Killa: Disrespectful term used by Grove Families for Ballas
- Ball-Sacks/Ball-pushers/Ball-less: Disrespectful term used by the Grove Families for the Ballas
- VK/Vago Killer/Vago Killa
- Va-Hoes: Disrespectful term used by Grove Families for Vagos
- AK/Azteca Killer/Azteca Killa: Disrespectful term used by Grove Families for Aztecas
- Varrio Goats/Ass-takers/Burrito boys: Disrespectful term used by Grove Families for Aztecas
- 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)
- 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)
- 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 OG's 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)
- Three Deep - Possible member (Although not physically seen, he was mentioned once by Big Smoke)
- GTA San Andreas
- The Introduction
- Big Smoke (mission)
- 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
- Home Coming
- Beat Down On B Dup
- Grove 4 Life
- Los Desperados
- End of The Line
Grand Theft Auto V
- 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.
- 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 CJ recruits unarmed GSF members, they will always automatically receive a pistol.
- 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.
- The Grove St. gang member with the dreads is based on Larenz Tate's character O-Dog from "Menace II Society", while the gang member with the green sweater is most likely based on Ice Cube's character Doughboy from "Boyz N The Hood".
- 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 and wears a green long-sleeve chore jacket and dark blue jeans. 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'.
- In the beta version of the game, the Grove skins looked different.
- The first member wore a white tank top, dark green khaki shorts with white knee-high socks and sandals, and a short 'military cut' hairstyle.
- The 2nd member looked similar to the first member except he also had a green bandana tied around his face and lighter green khaki shorts.
- The 3rd member was slightly overweight, wore black jeans, white sneakers, and wore a green hoody with the hood up and a forward green baseball cap underneth.
- 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.
- The green color for the Grove Street Families was influenced by the Hibernian Football Club in Edinburgh, Scotland (headquarters of Rockstar North). Hibernian Football Club has maintained a famous rivalry with the Heart of Midlothian Football Club (also located in Edinburgh) - whose color is, interestingly enough, purple and burgundy.
- Two of the Grove Street gang member character models have known names Tony (The member who has dread locks and wears a checkered shirt) and Tarnell (The member with a green bandana and green sweater) both of these are multiplayer characters.
- There is a beta screenshot of a GSF member that wears a green hoodie with the hood up, a green hat under that, and was overweight, but not to the extent of the obese GSF character model.
- 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 will cause CJ to tell the recruits 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-by's with the MP5's, 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" (shortly "OGF"). The gang street's title based on Grape Street, LA, and "Orange Grove" was very similar to real title, but was renamed anyway both with the gang. Beta graffiti and dialogue still remains in the game. For example, if you travel around South Central Los Santos - you can see "OGF" graffiti. CJ will shout out dialogue relating to the "OGF" and "Orange Grove Families" when confronting enemy gang members, and CJ can also get a tattoo in Los Santos on his upper back that relates to the "Orange Grove Families".
- In Cesar Vialpando's side missions, the members of the Grove Street Families drive the target vehicles. This possibly means Big Smoke hired them to work for him and the Loco Syndicate.
- The model of one of the unused GSF Members (the one with the hoody up) is glitched, making him appear like he would only have a hand.
- Sometimes, if you hop on a Wayfarer with the Rimmers GSF member recruited, his jaw will vanish until you get off.
- ↑ 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. The gang color is purple, just like Ballas' one.