Let me start off by saying that we're focusing on predominantly African American gangs.
Black gang rp is usually bombarded by stereotypes due to how much of an influence it has on pop culture, similar to mob RP, roleplaying a gang member is appealing and people tend to want to just roleplay the lit aspects of it. Movies like The Wire, Boyz n The Hood, and Menace 2 Society are fun to watch but we have to remember that most of these shows were made in the nineties or early 2000s, and they were also exaggerated to appeal to the audience.
Most people genuinely put in the work but fall short at times, what this would serve as is a pool of research to better our approach when roleplaying in a gang.
How to approach a gang/reasons for joining
Approaching most gang may seem intimidating, but there are a few things to take in and consider that will make it a whole lot easier and feel less forced. Take into consideration the following:
The residence of your character
When attempting to join a gang, it wouldn’t be the best idea to try to start up as a hardened criminal or being well off, gang members are usually young, broke, and susceptible, you are either looking for gratification(to feel wanted by a group of people) or looking to come up and make money, most people who aspire to join gangs come from a dysfunctional household, with no real form of guidance. Take into consideration what might lead your characters down that path, what situation lead them down that road, and how your choices may affect where you the outcome of your character.
Character development is pivotal as it differentiates authentic roleplay from just being a stereotype if you decide to start up as an already established gangster with a full-blown criminal mindset, you would most likely be ignored by the people who put the time in to develop their character or in most cases you would get checked, robbed and humiliated. Trying to become a full-blown gangster should never be your end goal either, just popping out on a random street and evolving into a gang member after a couple of hours of roleplay is highly unrealistic, taking slow steps towards becoming initiated would be the superior option.
In relation to approaching gangs, roleplaying coming from another state or city is highly unrealistic, why would somebody take a road trip or buy a plane ticket to end up in a poor and disenfranchised environment? The best option would be to roleplay being from the area, roleplaying being from another part of Los Santos could work if your character had to migrate with a relative as moving from location to location is common.
The best way to approach a gang is through social interaction or being used for profit, through drugs or any other illicit item, buying narcotics from a gang member would be one of the easiest ways to constantly interact with them, sharing drugs is also an easy way to build up relationships with the people around you. Parties are usually thrown in the community and most people are allowed to attend, you may meet people there who are willing to interact and from that, you could build a relationship.
I would also like to encourage linking up with people who are already in the faction and roleplaying relatives, as this is highly common in gangs.
One thing that I want to point out is being creative, you have to adapt to the environment you’re in, there are many ways to interact with somebody, you don’t need a group to develop your own character and provide avenues to roleplay for the faction.
For example; You could shoplift, get a couple of backwoods, and re-sell them in the hood for a cheaper price.
Try not to limit yourself to thinking that the only way to join a gang is to sell drugs or kill somebody, gang members have been initiated through relationships, family members, music, the list goes on, it’s 2021, you can’t expect everybody to be a full-blown drug dealer or a contract killer, some people are just cool to be around, some people fight very well and so on.
Females - It's 2021, females don't have to basically get gang banged to get in gangs, there are multiple ways to interact with a gang as a female, in fact more female roleplayers are encouraged when it comes to gangs, it just being a sausage-fest is weird. Females are usually better drug dealers then men, as they can market properly, women also tend to have bigger roles than male gang members if they're linked up to the right people, it may be a brother or just her boyfriend, you're not fucking with her because of that and she could tell you to do shit just off her partner's reputation.
Growing up in a poor neighborhood and most of the time, in a poor family, many girls will look for nothing more than a provider – that being someone with money. Vying for the attention of the richest hustler can be a fierce game that could end in some ugly catfights that end up on snapchat or the gram. You could roleplay being the mother of someone's child, a stud, a prostitute or just being a normal teen who goes to school with gang affiliated friends, as I said before; do not limit your roleplay.
More information on the accurate portrayal of a female character in a gang environment (credits @TyJ)
Many female roleplayers forget that they’re roleplaying females and they tend to actually roleplay very manly/emotionless. Not all females gang bang, it’s normal for a female to be a normal hang around/local and simply have a boyfriend that’s part of the gang that she sticks around with. Gang banging is mostly for the brave and confident, and not all females are like that.
Social media is also a very popular thing within the female gang bangers, often flashing money, drugs, guns, and throwing up gang signs on video. Females care more about their appearance than men and you could show that off with very simple roleplay done like checking your make-up.
Think about stuff like how much effort does your character put into her appearance each day? Does she wear make-up? Does she have clear skin? Does she wear her hair natural or in a weave? How often does she get her nails or hair done? Does she wear designer or knock-off brands? Are her shoes new or dirty? Did she grow up spoiled, or with nothing?
Think about your character's wants and desires. Does she think she's getting fat? Does she need money to pay for her gas? Does she help her family with rent/bills? Does she go to school? Does she want kids someday? If so, what is your character going to do to reach these goals?
Develop traits. Does your character always chew gum? Does she wear her hair a certain way? Does she pronounce a certain word wrong?
Roleplay your movements. Flick your hair, tie it up when you see a rival coming, put your hand on your waist, fold your arms when you're mad, slap instead of punch, smack your lips, clap your hands when you're angry, re-adjust and smack your weave.
YOU DONT NEED TO CATCH A BODY TO BE A GANG BANGER
Some ideas for your character development. Gang banging contains way more activities than just violence and selling drugs. Focus on being good at one thing, not everything. RPing your characters strengths and flaws makes roleplay more immersive anyway.
Trapstar/Ghetto Star - This character focuses on the sale of illegal narcotics. This character probably knows someone who they can get drugs from wholesale, and either distributes to smaller dealers or deals on the streets themselves. They probably join the gang for protection of their operation or get their drugs through current gang members, which leads to them joining.
Scammer - This character uses online scams in order to make their money. You may have seen those "turn $40 into $400" posts on social media. That's this type of character, trying to catch those vulnerable enough to fall for their scams. They're interested in getting credit card information and buying what they need with the stolen credit cards.
Barber - This character cuts hair/does hair to make a living. This character can work in a shop, work out of their home, or go to their client's homes to get their job done. This sort of RP requires some basic knowledge of hair styling in order to be executed properly.
Tagger - You're a banger that likes to tag up walls with spray paint, it's your thing. You take pride in embarrassing rival neighborhoods on the wall and marking your grounds with your gang-related hit-ups. It's important to you for outsiders to know where they are and that rival gangs are not welcome.
Athlete - This is a character that plays sports. These sports can be an escape from the gang life, something that a character does on the side, or something that a character fully strives for. RP'ing an athlete can be enjoyable because of the different paths you can take with it; maybe you suck at your sport, maybe you're a star player. Get creative when roleplaying an athlete and it can lead to a lot of RP.
Musician - This character is an aspiring musician. Maybe they make beats and sell them online, maybe they rap and are trying to get their name out there. Roleplaying a musician can be very unique and is something that is common amongst gang members in real life. Setting up shows, recording in the studio, passing out your mixtape, etc. are all possible roleplay events that can come with being a musician.
Stoner - This character smokes all day, every day. They're very nonchalant about a lot of things probably, and just want to know where the weed is at. Because of them being around weed a lot, they may sell a few bags here and there just so they can re-up and smoke some more weed.
Junkie - This character is addicted to hard drugs. They may be a functioning drug addict, still capable of getting their business handled and making money. They can also be a straight-up addict that is only looking for their next fix, and any money they come across is going to more drugs.
Booster - Similar to property theft, this character specializes in stealing clothes. They walk into various stores and steal shirts, jeans, socks, belts, shoes, etc. Maybe they work at a clothing store and steal whatever they can when the boss isn't looking. These characters sell their merchandise online and to others around the neighborhood.
Crash Dummy - A send-off kid, usually reckless and wild. This is a person that you could send off to do anything and everything that you wanted, no matter how dangerous it can turn. It's evident that this person is fueled by adrenaline, and they like it so they do whatever they can to keep themselves riled up. Crash dummies are more than likely going to end up dead or prison at a young age and are one of those types of people you wouldn't wanna always hang with because of the danger level.
Parent - This character has a child they care for. With this, they may be more conscious of their situation, maybe avoiding more dangerous situations due to the fact that they have a child. They may look to the gang for help raising the child or join the gang for monetary gain.
Relationship - This character is in a relationship. Maybe a character is introduced to the gang because they're in a relationship with someone currently in the gang. They may have to resort to crime in order to help pay the bills with their significant other. Or both characters may be involved in criminal schemes together as a couple.
9 to 5 - This character has a legal job that makes their money. They probably work at one of the convenience stores in the hood and come kick it with the homies after work. If it's a store some gang members frequently visit, they can hook the gang members up and give them discounts.
False Claimer - The person that wants to be from the gang so bad that he/she is willing to falsely claim a position within it. This person wants to join in on the gang because the lifestyle's appealing to them, although, there's a good chance that they wouldn't lift a finger when it comes to the gang's rivals. They're often seen excessively wearing gang colors and heard using gang terms to try and fit in.
Tattoo Artist - This character knows how to do tattoos. This character could work in a shop, or work out of their home. They schedule appointments, find clients, etc. This could lead to you eventually running your own tattoo business in the future.
Robber - This character steals things. He's breaking into homes or robbing others at gunpoint. You can recruit others to help you with your schemes, or do these missions solo. The items are probably sold online, or to others in the neighborhood.
OG - This character is usually an older character and is a long-time member of the gang. They'd have plenty of stories to tell about their experiences. They're probably living a more reserved lifestyle after a life of gang-banging and crime.
Bikelife - This character loves driving preferably dirt bikes, but also BMX bikes and such. They are speed addicts and often get into danger by wheeling or pulling other stunts with their bikes.
Gamer - This character enjoys playing video games and spends the majority of his free time in front of his console.
All Talk - This character has a very loud mouth. This character is talking the talk, and may or may not be able to walk the walk. This character probably utilizes social media to the fullest, going on Instagram Live, posting pictures on Facebrowser, etc. They want to be seen and wanna talk their shit to any and everybody.
Religious - This character is very religious and believes in god. His actions will more often than not be very hypocritical.
Focusing on your character, good roleplay will lead to you being recognized and would help with your overall progression, do not try to join a gang with the mindset of just being a gang banger, you have a family, you have friends, you have needs, hobbies, emotions, and goals, trying to sideline this to just be in a couple of shootouts would not benefit the faction you roleplay with at all.
Everybody loves to be a street general. It’s not an interesting gang experience if literally everybody totes around a Glock and kills people with no remorse. If your character for whatever reason decides to go out and kill someone, at least roleplay the fear, stress, sickness and urgency of the situation. Roleplay the paranoia. If your character is about to get in a fight, roleplay the adrenaline, roleplay the excitement, anger, fear, jitters and uneasiness. Not everybody is a hardened criminal right off the bat, especially roleplaying a younger character.
You have to also remember that most hardened gang members are intimidating, taking a loss is not the end of your character, expect to be made fun of, get robbed, scammed, or embarrassed, they’re gang bangers not school club members, learn to take a loss and use that as an opportunity to develop your character.
“Teenagers are naturally moody thanks to the hormones pumping through their growing bodies. Mix in constant violence and (most of the time) a poor home life and you have a really angry, volatile human being. Put five or six of these dudes together and they cause trouble and fights. Of course a gang of six angry cocaine dealers is going to tell you to fuck off or take off your shoes, why be surprised when it happens? This shouldn’t be an excuse for hyper-violence, but many adolescent gang members will try to start fights just because they can, more will start fights and jump people to prove themselves to older, more respected companions.” - Kevin
Cliques are also encouraged, don’t try to roll with people you don’t know, if you see a group of OTGs cliqued up having a conversation and you don’t have anything of value to say it would be best to not just walk up to them and try to start up a conversation, in most cases, especially if you’re just starting to get your name out you would get clowned and asked to leave. Stick to the people you know, eventually, those people could introduce you to other people.
Gangs are usually filled with tight cliques and family members, honoring fallen gang members is a popular trend and should be an integral part of your roleplay, even if it’s purely fictional it is encouraged to use those scenarios in most of your conversations, gang members tend to put things on their dead homies as it would be seen as nothing to play with, although it is usually over-exaggerated at times, to most members, their dead homies mean a lot to them. Funerals are usually packed.
Gang culture is often showcased through, hats, shirts, gang signs and so on but I want to point this out; color banging is NOT a thing in 2021, yes people still rep their set through colors but it's not done as much as it was done in the 90s, crips wear red all the time, it just depends on the environment.
Another misconception is that gangs are cool with all the sets that fall under the same umbrella, that's cap. All gangs claiming Blood are not suppose to be cool, street politics play a huge part in beef regardless of what set you claim, in fact there are instances where crips are cool with hoovers but beef with other crips, we have to understand that every set has their own history and a lot of beef started before one area claimed crip, blood or hoover. There are no Hoover sets that roll around only throwing up H, each set has their own gang sign, culture and tradition.
Lastly, DO DRUGS. Drugs should be encouraged, you can't expect to live that kind of lifestyle in a fucked up environment and not use something to cope, most gang members are heavily addicted to hard drugs, stop creating rules where people can't use drugs IC, stop discouraging drug use.
With gangs, everything comes down to influence, your age doesn’t dictate how much power you hold, most OGs are respected though. Gang members usually end up in these scenarios;
Running operations within the gang
I usually encourage older characters. Most older ACTIVATED gang members are usually involved in cliques that supply gang members due to their pre-established connections, you have to understand that they’ve been around for a hot minute, most have been imprisoned which is another pool of connections.
Most older members tend to stay out of trouble, they’d be mentors. Why put yourself in danger when you can put someone else in the line of fire? Granted, there may be older members who chose to remain a soldier and collect on gang bounties, but that is an uncommon phenomenon that I’m not even completely sure still happens in modern-day LA. Older members are seldom working on drug spots unless they're checking up on it.
That being said, you could just be a normal ass OG, who's been in the life and is now a mentor with a lot of game, these characters are encouraged for community development, the story telling aspect of being an OG is a lane in itself.
I'll add more stuff in the future, as the title says credits to @Craazy and Kev (shukran), also I got the inspiration from guides from other servers, so shoutout to the people who put the effort and research in.
I'm not a gang member irl, I don't bang so if there's anything I missed, PM me or comment here.
I will also be working on a Black OCG guide which will deal with record labels and religious cliques/ cliques in general.
Make a black character today.
Make a black faction today.