- "Well, son ain't too diesel or nothing, he regular lookin' dude, nahmean? Now he don't flash his guap too much, but you can see it in his eye, that he a hustler."
- ―Playboy X
Hustlers is a common designation for a loose affiliation of African-American criminals, drug dealers and gang members found throughout Firefly Projects (Broker) and North Holland (Algonquin) in Liberty City and in the city of Acter, Alderney. They play a minor role in Grand Theft Auto IV and appear in GTA Chinatown Wars as drug dealers. Rather than being one organized gang, they appear to be a collection of loose criminal associations made up of several factions, including the North Holland Hustlers and the East Holland Drug Gang, though it appears there are many others as well.
1990's and Dwayne Forge's Empire
Black gangs were heavily involved in crack cocaine distribution during the period between 1988 and 1999, when druglord Dwayne Forge, using his skills of scaring people and with his connections, took over large patches of territories in East Holland, North Holland and Northwood. Being the biggest crack cocaine baron in the area, Dwayne Forge made $50,000 per week and bought himself the Triangle Club in Bohan as well as a couple of porno shops in Alderney. During the late 90's there were several high profile convictions including that of Dwayne Forge, which were made with the help of police informant Jayvon Simson.
2000's and Playboy X's Empire
Forge's young protegé, Playboy X, then assumed control over empire at the age of 16. He has been running business with the advice of Forge from prison, who haven't lost all his connections, until 2004, when he stopped visiting his former mentor. Under Playboy's leadership and rejecting Dwayne's old-fashioned views, the empire went from being exclusively about drugs to expanding into other realms of business, even legitimate, like real estate property. Still having the most success in drug sales, he became friends with Elizabeta Torres and monitored all drug deals in the city. His other connections included the Spanish Lords members, Trunchez Brothers, who took over Triangle Club with Playboy's permission.
On the other hand, Playboy's ambitions of becoming a legitimate businessman and his less intimidating appearance may have weakened his influence on the streets, which led to uprising of new drug dealing factions. He lost control over Northwood, which came into possession of the Dominican drug dealers. North Holland became the base of operations for new ambitious crack cocaine dealers, such as Marlon Bridges, the member of the North Holland Hustlers street gang. The control over East Holland was lost to Clarence Little, new ruthless crack cocaine and heroin distributor, who had his own drug gang in a project housing block.
Events of GTA IV
Broker and Dukes
In 2008, one of Firefly Projects gangs' members, Jermaine Andrews, took a ride from Niko Bellic to take some stolen merchandise from a vehicle. Because of LCPD's tight surveillance over him, they were ambushed by the police. Niko successfully escapes the ambush and drops Jermaine near the Pay'n'Spray on Gibson Street.
Later Niko is ordered by Vlad Glebov to steal the car from another possible member of the gangs, Jimmy, as a payment for debt the hustler took from Mikhail Faustin's loan shark. During this encounter Jimmy could be knocked out, killed or spared by Niko. His associate, anyway, would try to stop the car from being jacked by all means. Despite being encountered near East Island projects, the two are probably the members of Firefly Projects gangs, according to their affiliations and behaviour.
Random Character Brian Meech is a client of African-American drug dealers and buys his crack cocaine supplies from them. He called his dealers "scientists" for creating the biggest crack rock he ever seen, which he bought during his second random encounter. In his last encounter with Niko he appears to be free of his addiction and plans to meet with the dealers to tell them about it. They attack him however for "forgetting about pay the interest", only to be killed, beat up or scared by Niko.
During Exotic Exports for Brucie Kibbutz Niko can also encounters three Hustlers around a required vehicle in the Firefly Projects. They will attack him with the baseball bat and pistols after attempting to steal it.
Two Jamaican gangsters, Little Jacob and Real Badman, also have a conflict with Hustlers at some point. a New drug crew, which sells marijuana on the corner in Bohan, refuses to share the income with Badman, who claims the territory to belong to his posse. Niko eliminates the crew after tracking down the dealer to their base of operation in their old apartment.
Later in the storyline, after moving into Bohan, Niko starts working for Manny Escuela, the former member of Spanish Lords and present enemy of drug dealing. During their first meeting, Manny asks Niko to follow one of the Hustlers to their base of operation in the warehouse, when he leaves Niko to deal with them. Niko successfully wipes out the drug dealers.
During the party in the Elizabeta Torres house Niko meets Trey Stewart, alias Playboy X, the big time drug dealer from Algonquin. Elizabeta asks them to oversight the heroin deal between The Lost MC and Triads. The deal goes wrong as a buyer appears to be a undercover police agent. Niko helps Playboy X to escape the ambush and gives him a ride to his home in Algonquin. Impressed by Niko's skills Playboy X asks him to visit him sometime for work.
When Niko Bellic comes for the first time, he sees Playboy in the company of girls, having a little party in his luxury penthouse. The party, however, is broken by Dwayne Forge, former mentor of Trey and founder of his empire. Dwayne just has been released from prison, where Playboy stopped visiting him four years ago. Playboy X, being confused, quickly leaves his friend alone with girls, just to take Niko to his first job. He asks him to take out Messina's goons, who occupied the construction site in Castle Gardens, which belongs to big estate-developer Yusuf Amir. Playboy X, who has the ambitions of going legit, wants him to be his partner. Niko successfully kills all mobsters on site, which, however, doesn't lead to a partnership between Playboy X and Yusuf, since Yusuf has closed the site immediately after the accident in memory of the people who died there.
The second task from Playboy X shows his conflict with North Holland Hustlers and his damaged reputation on the streets. Young and ambitious member of the gang, Marlon Bridges, calls Playboy X a snitch and phoney, doubting his influence and respect between dealers. Niko is ordered to murder Marlon, who's hanging out with his associates from the gang on Rubin Swinger Basketball Courts on Exeter Ave. The task is successfully done by Niko.
Having the best intentions, Playboy X also tells Niko to help Dwayne Forge with his problems, since his former mentor seems to be depressed after releasing from prison. He finds Dwayne in a old dirty appartment, complaining about his ex-girlfriend Cherise, who left him to Jayvon Simson. Niko finds the couple near the Videogeddon arcade in Chinatown. He chases down and kills Jayvon, while Cherise can be killed or spared during the mission.
Dwayne Forge is also depressed about losing his influence and business after being arrested. His former club now belongs to Trunchez Brothers. Niko, feeling sorry for Dwayne, eliminates them and later receives the phone call from Playboy X who angrily says, that they were his associates and this conflict is bad for his business.
The conflict between Trey Stewart and Dwayne Forge grows and both ask Niko to save one of them by killing the other. Niko is left with choice of killing Dwayne for reward of $25,000, or killing Playboy, surrounded by his bodyguards, for no reward from Dwayne, who lives in the poverty. If the second option is chosen, however, Dwayne finds his old papers for Playboy X's Penthouse and gives them to Niko, who now able to use it as a safehouse. Dwayne can also become a friend of Niko and if their friendship percentage is high enough, provide Niko with backup of two African-American gangsters.
Niko also has a large role in the elimination of the East Holland Drug Gang on orders of Francis McReary. the Deputy police commissioner is a client of Clarence Little and blackmailed by him. He orders Niko to go into the Project Housing block controlled by the gang he leads and kill him. After seeing his whole gang killed, Clarence surrenders to Niko and begs him for mercy, promising he will never hear of him again. Niko can spare him, just to encounter him later on the streets of Algonquin.
During the encounter, however, Clarence acts hostile towards Niko and threatens him with a Pistol. Niko, asking him not to be a "dick", takes cover and after a small shootout finishes what has been started in East Holland.
One of the remaining members of the East Holland Drug Gang an unnamed lieutenant, contacts McReary to tell him, that he will tell the police about his sins. McReary orders Niko to kill him, but the lieutenant is very careful after the latest events and never leaves his apartment. Niko takes the position in the roof across the road and lures the target to the window only to shoot him with a sniper rifle.
Player can encounter Hustlers in Alderney only during a random meet with Ivan Bytchkov, if he was spared in Ivan The Not So Terrible, and Most Wanted missions, exluding their presence in Acter as pedestrians. Ivan Bytchkov, who became a money lender, has clients among Hustlers. He has a meeting with them in the alley next to The Lost Clubhouse. Niko escorts him and later kills the hustlers for attacking Ivan and refusing to pay their debts.
Hustlers can be identified by their flashy, hip-hop inspired attire, such as baggy clothing, brightly coloured tracksuits and jackets, puffer jackets with furry hoods as well as sneakers, Hinterland boots and jewelry. They can be found hanging around and talking in groups or walking around in their territory as well as driving around in customized black Patriots and Landstalkers or any other un-modified car. Their favorite radio stations are The Beat 102.7, The Classics 104.1 and The Vibe 98.8. In GTA Chinatown Wars, they drive around in white & blue Voodoos and listen to Ticklah & DJ Khalil.
Hustler lifestyle appears to have originated amongst youths in the city, as Dwayne Forge became druglord when he was 18, then when Dwayne went to prison, Playboy X took over his business aged only sixteen (based on ages from the LCPD database). Clarence Little, the leader of East Holland Drug Gang, also is only 23. Random hustlers on the street can be heard saying about going back to school.
Like almost every gang in Grand Theft Auto IV, if the player walks or runs into a member, hits a member with a car, starts a fight, aims a weapon at them or shoots a weapon in their territory they will often react with hostility.
Pay 'n' Spray on Gibson Street in Hove Beach belongs to one of the gangs and Triangle Club was a former property of Dwayne Forge before he went to prison. Hustlers primarily make money through marijuana, crack, cocaine and heroin distribution, as well as vehicle theft and selling stolen car parts, but, as their name suggests, involved in all types of criminal activity. They also have influence in South Bohan as they operate out of an apartment, warehouse and a garage for their drug-trafficking operations, and one of the Hustlers, Maxwell Caughlin, can be found there during Most Wanted missions. However, outside of missions, members cannot be seen in South Bohan.
Members and associates
- Jermaine Andrews - Linked to Firefly Projects gangs.
- Jimmy - Possibly a member of Firefly Projects gangs (Determinant)
- Dwayne Forge - The main druglord in North Algonquin during 90-s (Determinant)
- Playboy X - Head of cocaine distribution in North Holland (Determinant)
- Marlon Bridges - High-ranking member of North Holland Hustlers (Deceased)
- Jayvon Simson - Member of North Holland Hustlers and police informant (Deceased)
- Clarence Little - Leader of East Holland Drug Gang (Deceased)
- Tyler Pickrel - Most wanted criminal in Meadows Park, Broker, convicted for human trafficking
- Maxwell Caughlin - Most wanted criminal in South Bohan, convicted for gang related violence
- Danny Hatmaker - Most wanted criminal in Normandy, Alderney, convicted for arms dealing
- Joe Corrola - Supplier of heroin for dealers in North Holland.
- Elizabeta Torres - Associate of Playboy X.
- Trunchez Brothers - Business associates of Playboy X (Deceased)
- Francis McReary - Client of Clarence Little (Determinant)
- Cherise Glover - Known associate of North Holland drug dealers (Determinant)
- Niko Bellic - Hired gun.
- Roman Bellic - Friend of Jermaine (Determinant)
- Brian Meech - Client.
- Ivan Bytchkov - Creditor (Determinant)
Prominent Appearances in Missions
- GTA IV
- Easy Fare
- Clean Getaway
- Escuela of the Streets
- Blow Your Cover
- Deconstruction for Beginners
- Photo Shoot
- Ruff Rider
- Undress to Kill
- The Holland Play
- Holland Nights
- Most Wanted
- The Lost and Damned
- Around the Firefly Projects a wall can be found with graffiti reading M.O.B. Gang members can also be heard saying: "M.O.B. can be Money Over Bitches or Bullshit". There is also a real life gang in New York City called Money Over Bitches. All those facts had lead to a popular speculation, that the actual name of the gang is M.O.B., which is unconfirmed.
- They do not appear in any missions in GTA Chinatown Wars, but they still operate and sell drugs in-game.
- Despite operating numerous fronts in South Bohan for their drug-trafficking operations, members cannot be found on the streets outside of missions.
- In GTA IV, they are named in the files as "African-Americans".
- The hustlers seen in Shadow can be seen walking around districts with African-American presence, as normal pedestrians. Interesting to note is, that the two guys waiting in the house, will never fight you when you punch them on the street. The drug dealer with the red-striped shirt, however, will fight you, and rarely pull out a pistol.
- One of the most frequent topic in gangsters' discussion through the streets is career in hip-hop business. They often mention their friends with their home-made studio as well as their own rhymes.
- Despite being just a loose collection of small gangs, random gangsters on the street often can be heard talking big, as well as about themselves being organized, unlike small-time hustlers, which is the reason for other gangs to be afraid of them. Sometime they also mention some Nigerian gangsters, who try to do business with them.
- The gangs don't appear as possible targets and enemies through Gang Wars and Drug Wars. It is probably because none of them operate on a scale large enough for them to be noticed by The Lost or Armando and Henrique.
- In GTA CW, their favorite radio stations are Ticklah and DJ Khalil.