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Villains Wiki
Villains Wiki
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Ah shit, here we go again...
~ CJ's most famous quote used in memes.
After five years on the East coast, it is time to go home...
~ CJ's first lines in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Carl Johnson, also better known as CJ, is the protagonist of the videogame Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. He is the first African-American protagonist in the Grand Theft Auto series.

He was voiced by the rapper Young Maylay, who sings the 1972 title song for the Grand Theft Auto game title and who is the cousin of Franklin's voice actor Shawn Fonteno.


Carl Johnson is a pragmatic and quite charismatic gang leader (though his charisma can be enhanced throughout the game). He can be extremely violent, ruthless and destructive when necessary. He manages his problems in a boss-like fashion, which often involves brutal shootings. That being said, most of his victims also tried to murder CJ as well. He has no problems hunting down or wiping out anyone that gets in his way - especially Ballas or cops, or committing petty crimes such as robbing houses and various places. The only characters he genuinely fears are those in a position of authority such as Frank Tenpenny, or utter psychopaths such as Catalina.

On the other hand, unlike his two predecessors (who were hardened criminals with no remorse), Carl Johnson displays much more decency and empathy. He is overprotective of his gang and his brother Sweet. He also displayed regrets immediately after defeating Big Smoke, despite the fact that Big Smoke coldly betrayed him and left him for dead somewhere in the countryside.

Some even question his intelligence, though Carl Johnson proved many times to be a skilled manager and strategist. Carl even uses manipulation and deception in order to gain what he wants, an example is when he successfully tricked Millie into giving him the access key necessary to organize the raid of the Caligula.

Unlike Ryder and Big Smoke, Carl Johnson is not interested in drugs and actually despises them. This is shown multiple times throughout the game, such as when he beat a crackhead attempting to give Sweet some PCP. Despite this, however, CJ seems to get along pretty well with the Truth, who is a drug-addict and dealer. He also holds a grudge against the C.R.A.S.H. - especially Tenpenny - and the cops in general, often nicknaming them "bribe-taking assholes" or "bitches".



Carl Johnson was born in the crime ridden Los Santos suburb of Ganton. He had three siblings, Sean "Sweet", Kendl and Brian. At some point, his father left the family. At some point Sweet, CJ and Brian befriended Lance 'Ryder' Wilson and Melvin 'Big Smoke' Harris and joined the gang known as the Grove Street Families. 2 decades later in the late 1980s, Brian was killed and Carl was blamed for his death. After that, he moved to Liberty City and did petty crimes and car thefts until 1992 when his mother Beverly accidentally got killed in a drive-by shooting.

Return to Los Santos

After arriving in Los Santos, Carl was kidnapped by members of the CRASH police force and was framed for the murder of a police officer. He returned to Grove Street and began to work for the Grove Street Families again. He also encountered a member of the Los Santos Aztecas named Cesar Vialpando, his sister Kendl's boyfriend. While on a mission to weaken the Ballas, Carl and Sweet discovered that Big Smoke and Ryder was working with Frank Tenpenny, the leader of CRASH as well as the Ballas.

Carl then helped Sweet fight of Ballas members but was arrested by Tenpenny for his villainous actions and was exiled to the vast countryside.

Betrayed by Big Smoke and Ryder and move to San Fierro

During his time in the wilderness, Smoke, Ryder and the Ballas unleashes a wave of drugs onto the city. He befriends an aging hippie with a marijuana farm named the Truth and works with him for a while.

He also forms a partnership with Cesar's deranged cousin, Catalina and robs "soft targets" with her until Carl wins a race against her new boyfriend, Claude. He wins a run-down San Fierro garage from Claude and begins fixing the business up.

He also begins working for a blind triad leader nicknamed 'Woozie', he also infiltrates the Loco Syndicate to gain the trust of Jizzy-B, only to eventually betray him and assassinate to later kill T-Bone and Ryder in cold blood, although he felt partial remorse for Ryder's death.

He and Cesar succeed in killing off Ryder when a corrupt government agent named Mike Toreno blackmails Carl into working with him, in return offering to release Sweet from prison.

Later Carl ventures to the desert town of Las Venturas where he becomes Woozie's partner at his casino called the Four Dragons Casino. He also helps Woozie to get rid of the various mafia gangs that is causing him problems and infiltrates Salvatore Leone's gang.

After some odd-jobs and a brief trip back to Liberty City Carl performs a daring heist on a casino Leone owns. He also becomes the manager of the disgraced rapper Madd Dogg after thwarting a suicide attempt.

Final showdown

After Carl returned to Los Santos, he first went to the prison to pick up his brother Sweet. After Tenpenny was announced innocent, riots began all over San Andreas. Carl then takes control over most of the streets of Los Santos. Sweet then finds out where Big Smoke is hiding, then both he and Carl go pay him a visit.

After Carl killed Smoke, Tenpenny then appeared and tells Carl his plan to escape with the money. Carl and Sweet then chase down Tenpenny in a high-speed chase, which leads to the death of the corrupted officer. After everything is over, Carl and his friends get their first Golden Record.


After the final mission, Kendl tells Carl where he's going, Carl responds with saying Just going to hang out in the streets. He then gets a call from Catalina while having sex with Claude, witch leads to Carl calling her sick. Carl can then go roam the streets like all other GTA protagonists.

Villainous Acts/Crimes

Although CJ is one of the less ruthless protagonists (of course, when compared with Claude or Tommy Vercetti), you can still classify as a villain by the fact that he has direct connections with mafias and criminal gangs.

And, obviously like any protagonist in the Grand Theft Auto franchise, the player has the choice and ability to kill thousands and hundreds of innocent people, making Carl a brutal killer.

During free roam

All of these crimes are non-canonic and only up to the player choice:

  • Punching and abusing people.
  • Gunning down people.
  • Car-jacking people, stealing parked cars and cars in luxury galleries.
  • Driving recklessly, crushing people.
  • Vandalize cars or buildings.
  • Robbing shops.

During the side missions

  • Killing the criminals and destroying the vehicles without a permission, acting vigilantic.
  • Taking the prostitutes with the pimp cars.
  • Robbing homes.

During the Story-line


  • Freddy (OG Loc)
  • Alan Crawford (Management Issues)
  • Andre (Gray Imports)
  • Little Weasel (Doberman)
  • Kane (Los Sepulcros)
  • Derek (Tanker Commander)
  • The Snakehead
  • Jizzy B. (Ice Cold Killa)
  • T-Bone Mendez (Pier 69)
  • Ryder (Pier 69)
  • Marco Forelli (Saint Mark's Bistro)
  • Benny (Key to Her Heart)
  • Millie Perkins (out-misison)
  • Eddie Pulaski (High Noon)
  • Big Poppa (A Home in the Hills)
  • Big Smoke (End of the Line)
  • A cashier of Pizza Stack (Ryder)
  • Alan Crawford's girlfriend (Management Issues)
  • An informant
  • A foreman
  • A pimp
  • A couple of punters
  • A prostitute
  • A preacher
  • Preacher's protection
  • A reporter
  • A journalist
  • A dossier carrier
  • Numerous Ballas members
  • Numerous Vagos members
  • Numerous crack dealers
  • Numerous Russian mafia members
  • Numerous soldiers
  • Numerous police officers
  • Numerous SWAT members
  • Numerous FBI agents
  • Numerous warehouse workers
  • Numerous crack factory workers
  • Numerous Da Nang Boys members
  • Numerous San Fierro Rifa members
  • Numerous survivalists
  • Numerous snake farmers
  • Numerous Forelli family members
  • Numerous Sindacco family members
  • Numerous engineers
  • Numerous delivery employees of Berkley's
  • Numerous workers
  • Numerous security guards
  • Numerous bodyguards of Jizzy B.
  • Numerous bodyguards of Madd Dogg
  • Numerous guards of Caligula's Casino


  • A vehicle in Liberty City
  • Burglary of Colonel Fuhrberger's home for guns
  • A van and its stereo
  • Madd Dogg's rhyme book
  • Robberies of a liquor store, a bank, a betting shop, and a gas station in the countryside
  • A tanker and a gas tank trailer
  • A vehicle from a woman
  • Two cars from Otto's Car Showroom
  • A vehicle from the docks in Easter Basin
  • A vehicle from a woman
  • A military jetpack
  • An item named Green Goo
  • Sticks of dynamite
  • City Planning Building plans
  • Four police bikes
  • A sky crane helicopter and a security van
  • A plane named Shamal
  • Robbery of Caligula's Casino
  • A military jet
  • A SWAT tank


  • A house in East Los Santos
  • A police officer, along with the pilot
  • Multiple delivery vans of Berkley's
  • A construction site firm
  • A helicopter of Mike Toreno's
  • A crack factory
  • Multiple agent helicopters
  • A cargo plane
  • A plastics factory
  • Multiple military jets and spy ships
  • Numerous vehicles


  • Madd Dogg's mansion
  • Da Nang Boys freighter
  • Area 69
  • A quarry
  • A military compound
  • Sherman Dam


  • The vandalism, by tagging over the gang tags.
  • Illegal racing competitions across Los Santos and countryside
  • The kidnapping of Alan Crawford and his girlfriend
  • The framing of District Attorney in San Fierro
  • Ramming of a couple ambulances
  • Chases against Eddie Pulaski, OG Loc, Big Poppa and the bikers
  • Assists San Fierro Rifa to deliver drugs

In Memes

Just like Big Smoke, Carl has also appeared in the Internet-online memes. Carl's quote and scene from the beginning of the game, have been over-used as memes. The meme started to spread as a wildfire since 2019, when the famous YouTuber by the name FlyingKitty, released his parody-video about the quote, which gained three million views, making the meme blow up much more.



  • Carl is by far one of the most successful protagonists in the Grand Theft Auto series. He successfully managed to destroy the Ballas and to seize Los Santos, to kill Tenpenny and his corrupt fellows, to eliminate Big Smoke and Ryder for their betrayals, to rob the Caligula, to become wealthy and to gain ultimate power for himself. Thus, he murdered nearly anyone who were in his way, with only Catalina, Mike Toreno and a few other minor villains getting away from him.
    • Carl is also one of the most polyvalent protagonists. He possesses a large number of abilities which make him one of the most competent and strongest of the protagonists in the Grand Theft Auto series
    • In addition, the player can upgrade his abilities by training.
  • Carl is the first African-American protagonist of the Grand Theft Auto series, with Victor Vance and Franklin Clinton being the second and third ones.
  • Carl was the first Grand Theft Auto protagonist to not actually kill the antagonist of his game (although Tenpenny did die, it was due to injuries sustained in a traffic accident, which Carl was only indirectly responsible for at best).
  • Carl is the first protagonist of the series who says the word "f***".



Grand Theft Auto
The Police

Grand Theft Auto 2
Claude Speed | Billy Bob Bean | Johnny Zoo

Grand Theft Auto III
Claude | Catalina | Salvatore Leone | Miguel | Donald Love | Asuka Kasen | King Courtney | Toni Cipriani | Phil Cassidy | Curly Bob

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Tommy Vercetti | Sonny Forelli | Lance Vance | Ricardo Diaz | Phil Cassidy | Auntie Poulet | Gonzalez | Leo Teal | The Psycho | Donald Love | Victor Vance | Mr. Black

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Carl Johnson | Sweet Johnson | Cesar Vialpando | Frank Tenpenny | Big Smoke | Ryder | Eddie Pulaski | Jizzy B. | T-Bone Mendez | Catalina | OG Loc | Johnny Sindacco | Salvatore Leone | B Dup | Claude | Snakehead | Tommy Vercetti

Grand Theft Auto Advance
Mike | Vinnie | Colombian Cartel Lieutenant | King Courtney | Asuka Kasen

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
Toni Cipriani | Massimo Torini | Paulie Sindacco | Vincenzo Cilli | Salvatore Leone | Leon McAffrey | Donald Love | JD O'Toole | Ned Burner | Phil Cassidy | Kazuki Kasen

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
Victor Vance | Jerry Martinez | Diego & Armando Mendez | Marty Jay Williams | Lance Vance | Ricardo Diaz | Phil Cassidy | Bryan Forbes | Trailer Park Mafia

Grand Theft Auto IV
Niko Bellic | Dimitri Rascalov | Jimmy Pegorino | Darko Brevic | Vlad Glebov | Ray Bulgarin | Mikhail Faustin | Ray Boccino | Packie McReary | Derrick McReary | Francis McReary | Gerald McReary | Playboy X | Dwayne Forge | Johnny Klebitz | Luis Lopez | Roman's Kidnapper | Clarence Little | Dardan Petrela | Jim Fitzgerald | Teddy Benavidez | Eddie Low | The Fixer | Jon Gravelli | Wedding Assassin | Trunchez Brothers | Pegorino Family | Jeff Harlingford | Isaac Roth | United Liberty Paper Contact | Aiden O'Malley

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned
Johnny Klebitz | Billy Grey | Ray Boccino | Brian Jeremy | Jim Fitzgerald | Terry Thorpe | Clay Simons | Niko Bellic | Luis Lopez | Dimitri Rascalov | Roman's Kidnapper | Ray's Goon | Lester Arnold

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony
Luis Lopez | Ray Bulgarin | Rocco Pelosi | Timur | Vince Pelosi | Yusuf Amir | Niko Bellic | Johnny Klebitz | Vic Manzano | Marki Ashvilli | Billy Grey | Dimitri Rascalov

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Huang Lee | Wu Lee | Zhou Ming | Chan Jaoming | Rudy D'Avanzo | Mini Gun Wonsu Assassin | Lester Arnold

Grand Theft Auto V
Michael De Santa | Trevor Philips | Franklin Clinton | Devin Weston | Steve Haines | Wei Cheng | Stretch | Molly Schultz | Don Percival | Lester Crest | Lamar Davis | Dave Norton | Brad Snider | Martin Madrazo | Jimmy De Santa | Simeon Yetarian | Andreas Sanchez | Cris Formage | Rocco Pelosi | Peter Dreyfuss | Clay Simons | Terry Thorpe | D | Patrick McReary | Johnny Klebitz | Paige Harris | Elwood O'Neil | Ortega | Enzo Bonelli | Billy Grey | United Liberty Paper Contact

Grand Theft Auto Online
Main Game
GTA Online Protagonists | Lester Crest | Trevor Philips | Cris Formage
The Doomsday Heist
Avon Hertz | Cliffford | United Liberty Paper Contact
The Diamond Casino & Resort
Thornton Duggan | Avery Duggan
The Diamond Casino Heist
Thornton Duggan
Los Santos Summer Special
The Boss
The Cayo Perico Heist
Juan Strickler

Gangs and Cartels
Angels of Death Motorcycle Club | Ballas | Cholos | Colombian Cartel | Da Nang Boys | Diaz's Gang | Grove Street Families | Los Santos Vagos | The Lost MC | Madrazo Cartel | Marabunta Grande | O'Neil Brothers | San Fierro Rifa | Seville Boulevard Families | Southside Hoods | Street Sharks | Varrios Los Aztecas | Trailer Park Mafia | Trevor Philips Enterprises
Armenian Mob | Bulgarin Family | Duggan Crime Family | Faustin-Rascalov Family | Forelli Family | Trunchez Brothers | Kkangpae | Leone Family | Russian Mafia | Sicilian Mafia
Liberty City Triads | Los Santos Triads
The Law
Police | C.R.A.S.H. | Los Santos Police Department | Federal Investigation Bureau | International Affairs Agency
Altruist Cult | Epsilon Program
Cliffford Mercenaries | Crack Dealers | Liquor Store Bandits | Loco Syndicate | Merryweather Security | SRS | Survivalists | The Professionals | Zaibatsu Corporation | Zombotech Corporation