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Gang Bangers
"I keep ya weak! Comin' from the streets of the ghetto,
At the end of the week, I get to keep your
dinero!
You're fast asleep when I sneak in your
casa.
Now you're bankrupt, your life sucks and I'm laughin'.
You can't trust me,
ese, because I'm Latin!
I don't care if you don't like me, everybody wanna fight me."
Opening of Can You Feel the Heat?, known to WWE fans as Eddie Guerrero's theme music

Members of a youth street-gang whose behavior usually involves various criminal activities, including drug dealing, killing members of other groups, and vandalizing buildings by painting graffiti tags. May or may not commit rapes note  as usually members of youth gangs have little trouble getting girlfriends who like the excitement and danger, some of whom are in girl gangs and killing their competitors too.

Gangbangers often fill the same role as The Mafia, but fit into a different archetype. Gangbangers are usually poor criminals, disorganized mobs who patrol ghettos, selling crack and getting into fights with rival gangs just for the hell of it, whereas Mafias are intelligent, very wealthy, diplomatic, often have connections to "legitimate" authorities, and more likely to plan assassinations and ambushes than just go around getting into fights. The two can overlap, but the distinctive dress will usually make the difference clear; Mafias wear suits, ties, sunglasses and (if period-appropriate) fedoras, while Gangbangers wear head bandanas, wifebeaters and torn jeans.

The Irish Mob can be either depicted as period-appropriate Gangbangers or as a kind of Mafia (though don't ever call them that), depending on time period, location, and the creator's opinions. For instance, the Irish gangs (and all the other gangs, for that matter) in Gangs of New York were the 19th-century equivalent of today's Bloods and Crips. The Irish Mob in The Departed, however, was much more Mafia-like.

Mafias will typically be composed of Italians, Russians (or some other post-soviet Ethnic nationality), or occasionally Chinese or Japanese, whereas as the Street Gang is made up of Blacks and Hispanics, with Unfortunate Implications all around (although American producers can be forgiven, as this is often Truth in Television for the most infamous gangs, especially since an all white gang fitting this description would almost certainly be labeled as Skinheads or something similar instead). May occasionally overlap with Biker gangs, though they usually fall into their own category.

As a nod to the lack of precision or training, they will typically use their weapons Gangsta Style. White Gangbangers is what happens when the Unfortunate Implications are avoided intentionally, though often unrealistically (unless it's a white country with white gangbangers, like Russia—the Russian ones are called gopniki, singular gopnik, by the way).

Gangs separate themselves from each other with identifiers such as different coloured clothes and gang tattoos, which in extreme cases may make them a Gang of Hats. Often come from the Wrong Side of the Tracks. This is the alternative for most students in Save Our Students plots.

See The Yardies for the British equivalent and Japanese Delinquents for the Japanese version.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Various gangs in Banana Fish, some more ethnically diverse than others. In particular, protagonist Ash runs a gang that includes white, black, and Asian members, which is noted as being unusual.

Comic Book

Fan Works
  • In Origin Story, Marvin, Louise Fulford's one-time pimp, is a member of the LA Crips. When Alex Harris beats the man down for trying to hurt Louise, Aaron Sanchez expresses worry that when Marvin's gang comes seeking vengeance, Alex might not always be around.

Live Action Tv
  • Hill Street Blues was one of the first shows to include them as a recurring plot element, as well as one of the more rounded portrayals.
  • Lincoln Heights has a black gang and a Latino gang. There was even one episode that had a white supremacist street gang based on the Aryan Brotherhood. Most likely an honest mistake, since the Aryans are a prison gang, not a street gang, and the fact that no white surpremacist gang would EVER set up operations in a black and Latino neighborhood.
  • Half the cast of The Wire.
    • Subverted in that the gangs on The Wire are highly organized (even the lower-level guys are shown to be at least competent, if not intelligent), moderately disciplined, innovative, and tend to be run either by Machiavellian businessmen taking college courses in macroeconomics (Stringer Bell) or ruthless, power-hungry sociopaths (Marlo Stanfield). Oh, and they have white gangbangers shown in Season 2, much to the disgust of the Polish community and Nick Sobotka in particular.
  • Similarly for The Shield.
  • The History Channel has a semi-documentary series called Gangland devoted to Gangbangers.
  • Seriously common in Southland.
  • In the The Walking Dead episode "Vatos", at first the trope seems to be being played straight, but it turns out that they're really just acting that way to protect an old folks home whose residents were abandoned by the staff when the zombie apocalypse hit.
  • The One-Niners in Sons of Anarchy, a series centering around a California based Outlaw Motorcycle Club.
  • In Season 11 of Degrassi Drew kills one who was attempting to rape Bianca, leading to the gang pursuing him.
  • CSI NY had the Tanglewood Boys on two occasions. They're the sons of mafia members and still rather connected to it, but tend more toward typical gangbanger tendancies themselves. Based on a real group, though they're now pretty much defunct.

Fan Works
  • In '"Origin Story'', Marvin, Louise's one-time pimp, is a member of the Crips. Alex is really not impressed or afraid of that at all.

Film
  • This is the point in films like Menace II Society and Boyz n the Hood.
  • The Warriors, of course.
  • Colors, as well.
  • Subverted by American Gangster. Frank Lucas' gang is well-organized, reasonably disciplined, innovative, and entirely made up of African-Americans.
    • It's actually a minor plot point that a law enforcement agent giving Richie a hard time didn't buy his story because he refused to believe that a black organization could outperform the Italian mafia. He then called Richie a kike.
  • Mr.Nice Guy, starring Jackie Chan, had a posse of gang bangers called the 'Demons' that run afoul of Jackie and the Mafia, getting their asses kicked by the first, and then ground up by the latter over a dispute of some stolen merchandise.
  • Subverted with CMB from New Jack City as well.
  • Sin City: Even has a gang of hookers.
  • The War: The're too young to be a true gang but the kids are on the threshold where they will become gangs if something doesn't change.

Professional Wrestling
  • The spicy latino? It is seemingly becoming a forgotten trope in the continental United States. The Masked Luchador, those have been on the decline since the largest company in the country set out to unmask them all. This is/was the most common gimmick of 2000-2010+, going through at least one angle with heavy overtones of gangsterism seems to be a right of passage among Latin Americans who work in USA. As the page quote shows, not even Latino Heat was immune.
    • Not Rey Mysterio Jr. either, as he was part of the No Limit Soldiers
    • Konnan, easily the most gangster member of The Three Live Krew and later of the Latin American Exchange.
    • The entire Mexican American Stable (Super Mex Shawn Hernandez, Sarita, Rosita, Anarquia) had this vibe but had Nazi esque ambitions.
    • Former Mistico/Sin Cara Negro Hunico and Kamacho. They even briefly brought in Primo and Epico.
    • Carlito Colón, for a brief period where he stole John Cena's chain and hired street thug Jesus Anguilera to stab him in a bar fight.
    • The Puerto Rican princess Amber Rodriguez became the "The Boricua Princess", a box cutter concealing pickpocket in the NWA.
    • Grizzled Youth went from a cool guy with an afro to a Puerto Rican gangster...which was still a step up from being a jobber surfer dude
    • Homicide of FIP, Ring of Honor and Rottweiler fame
  • Lynx and El Niche, Los Fugitivos de la Calle, were examples of this long before they came to Future Of Wrestling in the continental US though.
  • Likewise "El Illegal" Chicano had been at it long before he showed up in the 50 states at Ring of Honor.
  • The Gangstas New Jack and Mustafa. D'Lo Brown came later. Their gimmick being gang bangers who took to professional wrestling after they ran out of opponents to beat on the street, namely someone told them to go try and beat up The Rock N Roll Express.
  • The WWE version of the FBI Full Blooded Italians, Chuck Palumbo in particular.
  • The nWo, while not always described in such terms, always carried themselves in this manner. The group consisted of a leader (Hollywood Hogan) who leads through use of charisma, promise of rewards and fear instilled by way of a few fanatically loyal enforcers. (The Outsiders, Hall and Nash) Its members wore colors and uniforms that held significance and were always identified with them. (Black and white) Its members were beaten if they failed (Buff Bagwell) or sometimes just as a hypothetical example. (Brutus Beefcake) In general, they celebrated a criminal lifestyle; to wit theft, vandalism, general destruction of property and assault, and would generally be seen as a corrupting influence on the industry as a whole.
  • There were also many derivative and imitations of the nWo, the latino World order being one of the earliest.
  • The Premier Athlete Brand of Evolve and Dragon Gate USA accused AR Fox of being an example of this trope and were greatly dismayed that he was teaming with their desired prospect, Uhaa Nation.
  • The first thing we see of Los Rabiosos in the World Wrestling League? Their masked faces on a wanted poster. Granted, it was from seven years ago and they were much more politically minded than most examples. Mr. Big and Noel Rodríguez seemed to have had mostly moved past it too.

Video Games
  • CJ and his crew, as well as most of the early antagonists in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Grove Street Families is loosely based on Lime Street Pirus (a bloods offshoot that wore green), Ballaz is based on Grape Street Watts Crips (a off shoot of the crips that wore purple), Vagos on 18th Street Gang.
    • Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto IV is occupied by a few street gangs along with larger, better-organized groups.
    • The Red Jacks and Purple Nines in Grand Theft Auto III. Who, though being stand-ins for the Bloods and Crips, happily walked around side by side and attacked the player if he attacked one of the other gang.
    • Franklin from Grand Theft Auto V grew up in this type of enviroment and as such is trying to not only escape from this type of lifestyle but also convince some of his gangbanger buddies to do the same with little to no luck...
  • The gangs of lower Taris in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
    • One was more focused on honor and gang loyalty than usual for the trope, the other was mostly a bunch of berserkers with little other ambition. Older members of the second gang will tell the player they used to be more like the first until a recent leadership change.
  • Summon your own! Masterminds in City of Villains can choose to major in Thugs, which gives the Player Character the ability to command multiethnic Gangbangers in combat.
  • The Outer Estrana gangs in The Way.
  • The whole web game Urban Rivals is about gang wars, but the Bangers clan fits most of the Gangbangers tropes.
  • Saints Row is a game where you actually become a Gang Banger.
    • The first game features a four way gang war between the protagonist Third Street Saints, the car enthusiast Westside Rollerz, the Columbian backed Los Carnales and the Vice Kings, who run the gambling, prostitution and pornography rings.
    • Saints Row 2 has the Third Street Saints trying to reclaim the city from three new gangs. The Brotherhood loves tattoos and monster trucks, the Sons of Samedi are run by a Haitian voodoo priest who deals in Loa Dust and the Ronin are a Yakuza inspired gang that ride motorcycles and wield katanas.
    • In Saints Row: The Third the Third Street Saints move to a new city run by a group called The Syndicate, which itself is composed of three groups that act like street gangs. Morning Star acts like The Mafia, the Deckers are hackers who dress like they're from TRON and the Luchadores are, well, you can probably guess.
  • The Manhattan subways of Deus Ex are ruled by a gang called the Rooks.
    • Human Revolution shows two rival Detroit gangs, the Motor City Bangers and the Derelect Row Ballers; as well as the Hengsha based Harvesters.
  • The Water Street Boys gang and the Jade Gang in Sleeping Dogs are two such rival gangs within the Sun On Yee, although the Water Street Boys are more "purely" so.
  • The plot of Max Payne 3 is kicked off by favela thugs trying to kidnap Max's principal. They come back for seconds and Max keeps clashing with them, though they eventually get superseded by better-equipped foes.
  • The Kings in Fallout: New Vegas could count as one of these, as well as any of the raider groups.
  • In Mass Effect, a Commander Shepard with the Earthborn background managed to get out of this life. His/her gang was apparently called the Tenth Street Reds, and at one point in the first game his/her old gang leader Finch will try to blackmail Shepard into using his/her Spectre status to get another member, charged with hate crimes, out of a turian jail.
  • The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series has bandits whose modus operandi has them act typically this way, though there are no instances and/or implications of raping in the games. Since the games take place in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, these bandits are gopniki and have loose ties with The Mafiya. They do have charismatic leaders who act like stereotypical avtoritets, making them a rather moderately organized quasi-Mafiya outfit.

Western Animation

Web Original
  • In The Gamers Alliance, the Nightstalkers are a gang of young thugs with big plans for rising up in the Maar Sulais criminal hierarchy.
  • ASH: there are lots and lots of these, some with themes like "all-cyborg" or "voodoo-esque powers". Pretty much all of them have exclusively paranormal membership. Hard to compete with people who can shoot lightning and throw cars when you can't.


Food PornIt's Not Porn, It's an IndexGorn
Omnicidal ManiacThis Index Means TroubleSerial Killer
Faking and EnteringVandalism TropesGeneric Graffiti
Fell Off the Back of a TruckOrganized Crime TropesGang Initiation Fight
Football HooligansCriminalsGayngster

alternative title(s): Gang Banger
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