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After five years on the East coast, it is time to go home...
~ CJ's first words in GTA: SA Intro cutscene

Carl Johnson (born 1968), commonly referred to as CJ, is the main protagonist and the playable character of the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

He was the first African-American protagonist in the Grand Theft Auto series and was voiced by rapper Young Maylay who sings the 1972 title song for the GTA game title.


Carl Johnson was born in the crime ridden Los Santos suburb of Ganton. He had three siblings, '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. 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.

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 and was exiled to the vast countryside. 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 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 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

  • Commit crimes (during free roam).
  • Murder citizens (during free roam).
  • Carjacking cars (during free roam).
  • Doing Bulgary side missions and steal things from people's house (during free roam)
  • Blow up vehicles (during free roam)
  • in the mission Home Invasion, he robbed a house and stole crates that belonged to a military veteran.
  • in the mission Robbing Uncle Sam, he raids national guard base along with Ryder
  • in the mission Madd Dogg's Rhymes, he steals Madd Dogg's rhyme book
  • in the mission Managment Issues, he kidnaps and killed Alan Crawford
  • in the mission Gray imports, he killed Andre
  • in the mission Badlands, he killed the witness
  • in the mission Small Town Bank, he and Catalina were robbing a bank.
  • in the mission Snail Trail, he assassintes the reporter and the jounarlist under Tenpenny's orders
  • in the mission Ice Cold Killa, he killed Jizzy
  • in the mission Black Project, he breaks to a restricted military base and steals a black project from the military.
  • in the mission Fender Ketchups, he scares Johnny Sindacco by driving him around with his car
  • in the mission Architectural Espionage, he steals blueprints for Caligua's casino
  • in the mission Vertical Bird, he breaks to military ship, kills a few soliders and steal a Hydra, and then shoots rockets at other Hydras who try to kill him for stealing one of Hydras.


  • Carl is the first African-American protagonist of the Grand Theft Auto series, with Vic and Franklin being the second and third ones.
  • Carl was voiced by Young Malay, who is the cousin of Franklin's voice actor, Shawn Fonteno.
           Grand Theft Auto Villains

2D Universe
Grand Theft Auto 2
Claude Speed
3D Universe
Grand Theft Auto III
Catalina | Claude | Curly Bob | Donald Love | King Courtney | Miguel | Salvatore Leone
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Auntie Poulet | Lance Vance | Ricardo Diaz | Sonny Forelli | The Psycho | Tommy Vercetti
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Big Smoke | Carl Johnson | Eddie Pulaski | Frank Tenpenny | Ryder | The Snakehead | OG Loc
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
Massimo Torini | Ned Burner | Paulie Sindacco | Toni Cipriani | Vincenzo Cilli
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
Bryan Forbes | Diego & Armando Mendez | Domestobot | Marty Jay Williams | Sergeant Jerry Martinez | Victor Vance
HD Universe
Grand Theft Auto IV
Niko Bellic | Dimitri Rascalov | Jimmy Pegorino | Darko Brevic | Dardan Petrela | Billy Grey | Packie McReary | Mikhail Faustin | Johnny Klebitz | Luis Fernando Lopez | Ray Boccino | Brian Jeremy | Ray Bulgarin | Rocco Pelosi | Vince Pelosi | Timur | Vic Manzano | Francis McReary | Ed McCornish | Eddie Low | Playboy X
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Huang Lee | Zhou Ming | Chan Jaoming | Wu Lee
Grand Theft Auto V
Franklin Clinton | Michael De Santa | Trevor Philips | Lamar Davis | Lester Crest | Devin Weston | Steve Haines | Wei Cheng | Stretch | Molly Schultz | Elwood O'Neil | Jimmy De Santa | Martin Madrazo | Paige Harris | Simeon Yetarian | Brad Snider | D | Don Percival | Ortega | Peter Dreyfuss | Andreas Sanchez
Grand Theft Auto Online
GTA Online Protagonists | Avon Hertz | Cliffford
Groups and Organizations
Police | Los Santos Police Department | Ballas | Faustin-Rascalov Family | Merryweather Security | Federal Investigation Bureau | Los Santos Triads | Trevor Philips Enterprises | Angels of Death Motorcycle Club | Zaibatsu Corporation | Vice Squad | International Affairs Agency | Zombotech Corporation | Leone Family | C.R.A.S.H. | O'Neil Brothers | The Professionals | Kkangpae | Sicilian Mafia | Street Sharks | Cholos | Russian Mafia (GTA) | Altruist Cult