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Big Smoke

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This article is about the character. For the mission in GTA San Andreas, see Big Smoke (mission)

"Respect has to be earned, Sweet, just like money."
―Big Smoke

Melvin "Big Smoke" Harris is a character in the Grand Theft Auto series who appears as a main character and the secondary antagonist of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Big Smoke was voiced by Clifton Powell, who has also appeared in Menace II Society and Friday.


Big Smoke appeared as a high ranking member of the Grove Street Families who later joined forces with the Ballas, Los Santos Vagos and Russian Mafia, becoming the biggest criminal in the underworld of Los Santos.

Big Smoke makes multiple references to his desire to be remembered following his death.

Big Smoke seemingly understands some Spanish, as in the mission Running Dog, one of the Vagos says "Chinga a tu madre, pendejo" which roughly translates into "Fuck your mother, dickhead". It is possible that Smoke understood this, and attacked the Vago. Big Smoke's favourite radio stations is Bounce FM.

Interestingly, Big Smoke's intials are "BS", an abbreviation of "bullshit", which could be a reference to his deception and betrayal of Grove Street Families.



Early Life

Big Smoke was born in Los Santos, likely in Ganton due to his close relationship with Sweet and Carl Johnson, and he later became a member of the Grove Street Families. He rose through the ranks of the gang until becoming the right hand man of Sweet, being helped by the departure of Carl in 1987 after his brother's death.

Big Smoke quotes the Bible on many occasions, hinting that he may be religious. But however, Carl claims he's "still talking shit."

Joining the Ballas

Smoke also, at one point, lived in Ganton, which may have been from birth, but moved to Idlewood some time prior to 1992, purchasing a house with his aunt's money from a will. The Grove Street Families, however, began to lose influence and status amongst the city gangs, noticing that the Ballas, who control Idlewood, are selling drugs to fuel their rising influence. He then tries to persuade Sweet to allow the Grove Street Families to sell drugs, although this fails.

At some point Big Smoke forms an alliance with the Ballas and begins to secretly work with them. Smoke later includes the Los Santos Vagos and the Russian Mafia, who were hoping to get a foothold in Los Santos, into his new alliance. They also form an alliance with the Loco Syndicate who began supplying them with various drugs from their base in San Fierro, although he doesn't realise that an undercover government agent is involved in the operation.

Events of GTA San Andreas

Carl's Return

"CJ? Ooohh my dog! Whassup? Hahaha! Hey baby, you okay, man?"
―Big Smoke

In 1992, after failing to convince Sweet, he goes to Ryder and convinces him to join forces with the Ballas, who later attempts to kill Sweet but fails, instead killing his mother. The death of Beverly Johnson leads to her son, Carl, returning from Liberty City, and Carl meets Smoke inside his old house. Smoke initially fails to recognise Carl but immediately accepts the return of an old friend, contrary to Sweet, who remains initially hostile. It is not until later in the game that this true intentions with the Ballas-C.R.A.S.H. unit are revealed, but several times before his revealed betrayal do many hints appear foreshadowing it.

Smoke appears alongside Carl, Sweet and Ryder in the first mission in the game, and also later appears at the funeral for several GSF members. However, during the mission, the attackers will only attack Carl and Sweet, hinting Smoke's future betrayal. He also appears playing basketball with Sweet in Tagging up Turf, and also briefly appears in Cleaning the Hood at Sweet's house. In the mission Drive-Thru, Sweet, CJ, Smoke and Ryder decide to visit Cluckin' Bell to eat; however, they are attacked by Ballas members whilst there. Smoke's refusal to open fire on the Ballas (claiming that he would only shoot when he was done eating) was another large hint to his betrayal. After appearing in the introductory scene of Nines and AKs, Smoke later helped the gang in the mission Drive-By. After this, Smoke beings giving his own missions to Carl; the first is to free an old friend (OG Loc) from prison. The next is to help Smoke eliminate a Vagos member. In the mission Wrong Side of the Tracks, before Smoke and CJ work to kill more Vagos, Frank Tenpenny and Eddie Pulaski are seen in Smoke's house; however, Smoke's comment that they are simply "nosey" hints that he is not-so-hostile towards them. CJ would then later assist Smoke in taking down Russian Mafia members in the mission Just Business, and Smoke would later assist CJ, Ryder and Sweet in the mission Reuniting the Families.


"Shit, Smoke...C.R.A.S.H. makin' you sell us out!"
―Carl Johnson

Big Smoke, Ryder, Frank Tenpenny and Eddie Pulaski with the green Sabre used to kill Beverly Johnson, as witnessed by Carl Johnson and Cesar Vialpando, during The Green Sabre.

The mission The Green Sabre is ultimately the turning point in both the game and in Big Smoke and Ryder's characters; in it, Sweet explains to CJ that they are going to go take down a large amount of Ballas and to meet at the Mulholland Intersection; as soon as CJ leaves, CJ's friend (and his sister's boyfriend) Cesar Vialpando tells him he must urgently meet him at an alleyway. At the ally, CJ is shocked to see Big Smoke and Ryder -- along with Frank Tenpenny and Eddie Pulaski and some Ballas members -- working together. Also, the green Sabre -- the same one that was used to murder CJ's mother -- was also found at the scene. Realizing that his brother was sent to an ambush, CJ is unable to confront the tri-alliance and is forced to go to the intersection to save his brother. Although Sweet survives, he ends up injured through gunfire and stuck in a prison hospital.

Rise to power

―Smoke, before the final showdown
In the absence of both Sweet and Carl, Smoke and Ryder disband the Grove Street Families, leaving Ganton and all other Grove Street turf in the hands of the Ballas.  A few Grove Street Families gangsters, meanwhile, begin working as drugs smugglers, taking them from the Loco Syndicate factory in Doherty, San Fierro back to Los Santos. Cesar Vialpando, however, discovers this and alerts Carl Johnson, who stops a number of the supplies from reaching Los Santos. Carl and Cesar later photograph Ryder with three men, later identified as Jizzy B., T-Bone Mendez and Mike Toreno. Carl, upon returning to his garage in San Fierro has Wu Zi Mu and his Triad allies discover more about the trio.

Carl then begins to work for Jizzy B., attempting to gather more information on the operation, and later gains his trust. Carl, however, later kills Jizzy, San Fierro Rifa leader T-Bone Mendez and undercover agent Mike Toreno (or so he thought) as well as Ryder, before destroying their drug manufacturing factory, stopping the supply back to Los Santos. Smoke, however, is undetered and instead starts his manufacturing plant in East Los Santos. He also begins working as the manager of OG Loc, a rapper and childhood friend of both Smoke and Carl, who helped him by sabotaging the career of Madd Dogg. He also attempts to show himself as a philanthropist when telling West Coast Talk Radio (which can be heard on the radio anytime after the mission Pier 69) that he is using his money to try and stop the sale of drugs in Los Santos, despite being the drug baron of the city.

Big Smoke, like Ryder, continues to wear green clothing after his betrayal of the Grove Street Families becomes common knowledge. This is because Big Smoke and Ryder only have one coded outfit.

Fallen and Death

"I had no choice, I had to do it. I just see the opportunity. When I'm gone, everyone's gonna remember my name...BIG SMOKE!"
―Big Smoke's dying words

In the meantime Carl is re-united with Toreno, who used a decoy on his scheduled departing flight, and begins working for him attacking those harming American interests. As a reward, Toreno gets Sweet parolled from prison and the two return home, taking Ganton back for the Grove Street Families, who once ally themselves with the formerly absent leaders. By this time, however, Smoke had become a recluse and extremely paranoid, hiding away in his drug manufacturing plant. Sweet and Carl continue their attack on the Ballas, re-taking both Glen Park (in Beat Down on B Dup) and Idlewood (in Grove 4 Life).


Carl Johnson confronting Big Smoke in his drug manufacturing factory, shortly before a shoot-out and Smoke's death, during End of the Line.

The Johnson brothers then decide to take down Big Smoke and his operation, using a SWAT Tank to break into his drug manufacturing plant. Carl then proceeds to shoot his way past the many Ballas, Los Santos Vagos and Russian Mafia gangsters in the factory until reaching the top floor, where he finds Big Smoke. The two become involved in a gun fight, which is won by Carl, who manages to talk to Smoke about his betrayal before his death. Smoke, showing remorse for his actions, tells Carl that he got caught up in the money and power he was able to obtain. He reminds Carl that when he is dead people will remember his name before dying from the gunshot wounds inflicted by Carl. Carl shows remorse for Smoke but is interupted by Tenpenny, who he later chases before he drives a fire truck off a bridge into Grove Street and dies.

Big Smoke is shown to have two large bullet holes in his armour following the shoot-out during End of the Line, regardless of how he is killed. It is even possible to kill him in a single punch if the "Super Punch" cheat is turned on, and the bullet holes will still show up on his armour.

Big Smoke shares similarities with Dimitri Rascalov, the main antagonist of Grand Theft Auto IV; they both started out as friends/mission-givers to the main protagonist, then later they revealed their true loyalty to another antagonist, they then disappeared for the rest of the game not appearing until its ending. Considering this, it is somewhat possible that part of Rascalov's character was inspired by Big Smoke. Also, despite the fact that they did not appear at all physically between their betrayal mission and their death mission, they still played a large role in the game's storyline throughout it. Also, since Billy Grey of TLAD also disappeared (arrested) between his betrayal and death, this trait is shared with him.



Big Smoke's licence plate A2TMFK.

  • Big Smoke drives a blue Glendale, with a white roof, which has the licence plate A2TMFK. Opinions on the meaning of this are varied: Some believe it to be an acronym for 'a two-timing motherfucker', in reference to his betraying the Grove Street Families, some believe it to be an acronym for 'a two-ton motherfucker', in reference to his weight, and some believe it to be a reference to the Cypress Hill song 'A to the motherfucking K', which was released in 1993 (a year after GTA San Andreas).

Big Smoke also had a black Perennial, which was blown up by the Ballas in the mission Sweet & Kendl.


The beta version of Big Smoke is shown wearing a white Los Santos Saints jersey and black trousers, with Smoke having a bald head, which can be seen on the statute of Smoke in the drug manufacturing factory in East Los Santos. Or on the back of the PS2 case (Top, Middle) and also Sweet, and possibly Brian.

Mission appearances

GTA San Andreas


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