Young Maylay from GTA San Andreas: The actor behind CJ and his dispute with Rockstar Games

(Image via r/gtaonliine, somagnews)
(Image via r/gtaonliine, somagnews)

When fans look back on the history of the GTA games, Carl "CJ" Johnson from San Andreas will stand out at the most iconic character of the franchise. Voiced by American rapper and actor Young Maylay, CJ is one of the well-known characters from the series and a definite fan favorite.

Young Maylay is a popular rapper and actor from Los Angeles, California. He has produced several records. Maylay went on to establish a record label in Los Angeles called Malaynium Muziq.

His iconic portrayal of CJ is what shot him to instant fame and generated a huge buzz in the gaming industry and among fans of the GTA franchise.

Over the years, GTA fans have been vocal in their demand for a comeback from CJ. But they demand that no one other person than Maylay could do justice to the role. However, events that unfolded early in 2020 suggested that Maylay is no longer interested in returning to the franchise. Specifically, Maylay is not interested in working with Rockstar Games again.

Young Maylay from GTA San Andreas: The actor behind CJ and his dispute with Rockstar Games


Maylay's axe to grind with Rockstar Games became public information through an Instagram post published in January 2020. In response to fans repeatedly asking Maylay about his plans to return to the franchise in GTA 6, the actor and rapper said:

"F**** @Rockstargames period.. CJ will have to be voiced by another MF but not me IDGAF what yall heard."

Fans were shocked by Maylay's response because the dispute between the two parties was not a public matter. In the months that followed, more information would become known to fans and they got a better idea about the issue.

The problem seems to have stemmed from Maylay's discontent about the compensation received for his work in GTA San Andreas and for the franchise as a whole.

This is a sentiment that actor Michael Hollick - voiced Niko Bellic from GTA IV - also publicly shared. Hollick told the New York Times:

"Obviously I’m incredibly thankful to Rockstar for the opportunity to be in this game when I was just a nobody, an unknown quantity," he continued "But it’s tough, when you see Grand Theft Auto IV out there as the biggest thing going right now, when they’re making hundreds of millions of dollars, and we don’t see any of it."

Hollick also went on to explain that he does not blame Rockstar Games. Rather, he blames the unions that, in his opinion, did not protect the creatives involved with the project by ensuring fair compensation.

Young Maylay's accusations at Rockstar Games being "culture vultures"


Maylay confessed that he was initially furious at Hollick and even wanted to "knock him out." However, Maylay explained that understood what Hollick meant by his statement. Maylay feels that Hollick's statement resonates with his situation as well. Maylay said:

"I was going to beat the s*** out of that dude that played Niko Bellic for talking down on @rockstargames but for what? He exposed the truth... I'll NEVER work with @rockstargames again unless I get a few million to the pocket."

Maylay's argument is that Rockstar Games is a 'culture vultures.' He is implying that the company are profitting from exploiting the imagery of a culture where they don't belong. GTA San Andreas, and in fact, most GTA games got their authenticity due to the inclusion of actors like Young Maylay and later, his cousin, Shawn Fonteno who voiced Franklin in GTA 5.

An Instagram live session featuring Fonteno and Maylay shed more light on how the latter feels about GTA San Andreas and his relationship with Rockstar Games. It is probably safe to assume that all bridges are burned between Maylay and Rockstar Games pending any future settlement between the two.

Edited by Srijan Sen
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