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For the mission see Ryder (mission)

"I'm too intelligent for this shit, man. I am the real deal fool! Oh yeah, a genius!"

Lance "Ryder" Wilson was a character in the Grand Theft Auto series who appears as a main character and the tertiary antagonist after he betrays the Grove Street Families in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (set in 1992).

Ryder is voiced by MC Eiht, a rapper and vocalist from the rap group CMW, who has appeared in films such as Menace II Society, and can be heard in Radio Los Santos with the song Hood Took Me Under. His look is based off Eazy-E.


Ryder is a high ranking member of the Grove Street Families who later joined forces with the Ballas, Vagos and C.R.A.S.H.

Ryder is a drugs user, something known by both Sweet and Carl Johnson, and can usually be seen with or searching for his 'water', which is in fact PCP. During the mission Home Invasion he can seen frantically searching for it in his garden, having already dug numerous holes with a shovel.

Many of the game's people also criticize Ryder about his height, calling him a midget because of his short stature. This can be heard by the Well Stacked Pizza Co. worker as well as Kendl and Cesar.

Character history

Early life

Ryder: "Hey, CJ, tell me why I didn't finish high school."
CJ: "Because you been dealing drugs, man, since the age of ten! ( pauses, then laughs) Because you went and put hands on that teacher for wearing Ballas colors!"
―CJ recalling why Ryder was kicked out of school.

Ryder 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.

Ryder was once thrown out of school for beating up a teacher who was wearing Ballas colors, although Ryder claims this was because he was too intelligent for school. It is also revealed that Ryder has been selling drugs since the age of 10.

He rose up the ranks of the gang until becoming one of Sweet's closest allies, being helped by the departure of Carl Johnson in 1987 following his brothers death. The Grove Street Families, however, began to lose influence, power and money to their arch rivals, the Ballas, due to their stance against the sale of drugs, which was fueling the Ballas rise to prominence.

Big Smoke attempted to convince Sweet about the benefits of selling drugs but failed, later meeting Ryder in his house where he convinces him to join his newly formed alliance with the Ballas. The alliance is later expanded to include the Los Santos Vagos and Russian Mafia, while another was established with the Loco Syndicate, who began supplying the new alliance with drugs from their base in San Fierro, although they do not realise that an undercover government agent is involved in the operation.

Events of GTA San Andreas

Carl Johnson's Return

Ryder: "Hey, man, what you want?"
CJ: "Seeing my homie. What's up with you?"
Ryder: "Yeah, homie, yeah yeah. It's good to see you back."
—Ryder and Carl, during "Ryder".

The death of Beverly Johnson brings her son, Carl Johnson, back to Los Santos from Liberty City. Johnson meets Ryder again shortly after the funeral where they are attacked by a group of Ballas gangsters performing a drive-by shooting, destroying Smoke's vehicle. Carl, Sweet, Smoke and Ryder then use bicycles to flee the area. The four cycle to Mulholland Intersection where Sweet breaks away from the group, drawing the Ballas vehicle, allowing Carl, Smoke and Ryder to escape. The three are briefly followed again by a Ballas car, although the Ballas do not aim their guns at Smoke and Ryder due to their alliance, a fact missed by the Johnson brothers. Smoke also refuses to shoot at a Ballas car performing a drive-by shooting, claiming he did not wish to waste the food they had just ordered, although Ryder does start shooting the Ballas.

Ryder continues his life as normal with the Grove Street Families, often being seen with Sweet and Carl. He begins to hire Carl to do various tasks, the first being to drive to The Well Stacked Pizza Co. fast food restaurant in Idlewood, where Ryder attempted to rob the store but was thwarted by the manager, using a shotgun in self-defense. Ryder later assists Carl to kill a drug dealer and then a number of Ballas gangsters who were associated with the dealer in a home in Idlewood. Ryder also hires Carl to help him steal weapons from the home of Colonel Fuhrberger in East Beach, steal a weapons shipment from a train coming from Las Venturas and to steal weapons from the National Guard Depot in Ocean Docks.

Ryder later accompanies Carl, Sweet and Smoke to the Cluckin' Bell fast food restaurant in Willowfield, where they see a group Ballas attempt a drive-by shooting. The four survive and destroy the Ballas car. Ryder is again seen when the four discuss the gangs weapons and later performs a number of drive-by shootings with the three in East Los Santos and Jefferson. He also attended a party thrown by OG Loc in Grove Street.

Sweet later arranges a meeting at the Jefferson Motel between the various sub-sects of the Grove Street Families, in an attempt to bring the factions back together to fight the Ballas.

Ryder, upon arriving with Sweet, Carl and Smoke, criticizes the non-Grove Street gangsters, which Carl and Sweet do not realize is an attack on the gang rather than the sub-sects. Sweet enters the motel on his own and, when the Los Santos Police Department ambush the meeting, Ryder and Smoke flee the scene in Sweet's Greenwood. The two, however, later re-appear at the side of the motel and drive away from the pursuing police, driving the car through a Sprunk billboard. The car explodes upon landing on the road below while the four, who had bailed out of the car, decide to go back home on their own.


"And there's that snake, Ryder. Look at that fool, hangin' out with the Ballas like they was life long pals."
Carl Johnson overseeing Ryder's deal with the Loco Syndicate.

Ryder and Big Smoke with Frank Tenpenny and Eddie Pulaski, driving the green Sabre.

The mission The Green Sabre is the turning point in the game, as well as in Big Smoke and Ryder's characters. After Sweet explains to CJ that he is going to go to the Mulholland Intersection to smoke out many Ballas members, Cesar Vialpando, the boyfriend of Sweet and Carl's sister Kendl and also a friend of Carl's, later phones Johnson to tell him that he must urgently come to an alleyway in Verdant Bluffs. While there the two witness Smoke and Ryder, along with C.R.A.S.H. officers Frank Tenpenny and Eddie Pulaski, and also some more Ballas members with the green Sabre used in the killing of Carl's mother. Carl finally realises the true allegiances of Smoke and Ryder and how they are complicit in his mother's death, but he is unable to confront the alliance between the game's three antagonistic groups (C.R.A.S.H., Ballas, Big Smoke/Ryder) and is forced to go to Mulholland Intersection to save his brother from a Ballas ambush during a shoot-out. Sweet is shot and later arrested, being taken to a prison hospital 'upstate' (as revealed by Mike Toreno) while Carl is taken to Angel Pine in Whetstone by Tenpenny, Pulaski and Jimmy Hernandez.

In the absence of both Sweet and Carl, Smoke and Ryder take control of the Grove Street Families and add them to their alliance. Also, holding Sweet's safety against Carl, Tenpenny coerces Carl to stay out of Los Santos -- this makes no storyline missions in Los Santos take place, but yet no apparent effects take place upon Carl entering it. The Ballas take control of Ganton and other Grove Street Families turf in Los Santos. The Grove Street Families gangsters also begin to work for Smoke and Ryder by taking drug shipments from the Loco Syndicate drug manufacturing plant in Doherty, San Fierro back to Los Santos. Cesar Vialpando, however, later discovers this and informs Carl, who stops a number of the shipments from reaching Los Santos. Carl later moves to San Fierro, but with Cesar's help, later photographs Ryder and the other Loco Syndicate members doing business in the mission Photo Opportunity. Carl insults Ryder as he takes photos of him.



Ryder with T-Bone Mendez on Pier 69, shortly before their deaths.

CJ: "You betrayed us, Ryder! You fucked with us all!"
Ryder: "I'm a motherfucking genius!"
―Carl and Ryder, before the latter's death.

After obtaining the photographs Carl returns to San Fierro and has them developed. He meets with Wu Zi Mu, a leading member of the Triads in San Fierro and his assistant Guppy, who identifies the three leaders as Jizzy B., a nightclub owner, T-Bone Mendez, the leader of the San Fierro Rifa, and the gangs leader, although they are unaware that he is an undercover government agent.

In the mission Pier 69, Ryder and Mendez are in a deal -- after using Wu Zi Mu's Triad army to help subdue the gangs, Cesar and Carl kill Mendez. Ryder will then attempt to flee in a boat back to Los Santos; Carl can either snipe him whilst he swims to it or he can chase him down and shoot him in another boat. Ryder ends up dead for his betrayal (and involvment in a rival gang) either way.




Ryder owns a brown Picador with a license plate which reads SHERM, referring to his addiction to sherm, a cigarette with marijuana mixed into the tobacco that has been immersed in PCP. In many pre-release screenshots Ryder was shown to own a brown Sadler.


  • Ryder bears a striking resemblance to the late rapper Eazy-E, wearing a black baseball cap and sporting a Jheri Curls hair style, while constantly seen with a pair of blacked out sunglasses worn on occasions by Eazy-E.
  • Ryder, Miguel and Rocco are the only antagonists who did not directly attempt to kill the player.
  • Ryder likes to make fun of CJ's driving (even if his driving skill is at maximum). In Drive-By, he claims CJ drives around too much (a reference to GTA games that make the protagonist drive to every destination, except on rare occassions). He claims "all it is is 'CJ drive here, CJ drive there.' Bullshit!" But then takes it back when Sweet suggests Ryder drives.
  • Ryder has 3 in-game models in gta3.img, two being his original model used in-game, while the last one is used in some cutscenes.


Mission appearances

GTA San Andreas

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