Kamasi Washington Channels His Inner Gamer On “Street Fighter Mas” Song

Kamasi Washington Channels His Inner Gamer On “Street Fighter Mas” Song

Kamasi Washington, Pharoah Sanders + Sun Ra Arkestra Form A Jazz Singularity In NYC

Photo Credit: Ginny Suss for Okayplayer

Kamasi Washington takes us back to his days as a video gamer with “Street Fighter Mas,” a new track inspired by the saxophonist’s childhood romps at the arcade.

Much like most of us from a certain generation, we didn’t just stay in the house and played Nintendo or Sega all day. We would hit the streets with our friends with a pocket full of quarters and go to the local arcade to play our favorite video games, see if we can make the new top score, or just impress friends with our skills. Saxophonist and West Coast Get Down co-founder Kamasi Washington is no stranger to that era, and he taps into those childhood experiences on the new song, “Street Fighter Mas,” which was inspired by his love of gaming and the arcade.

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The song, which you can hear for yourself below, will appear on the Heaven portion of his upcoming album, Heaven and Earth.

A funky number, “Street Fighter Mas” is akin to an entrance song for a professional fighter or “superhero music” for a ‘70s blaxploitation action movie score. Its bass vamp and nimble pulsation from the drums make this one feel right at home to those who are familiar with tracks similar to “Street Fighter Mas”. Add in Kamasi’s horn section and the melody builds upon itself until you are completely energized and ready to take on all comers.

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“When I was younger … we used to go to this place called Rexall to play Street Fighter,” Washington said in a detailed statement. “At Rexall, there would be different people from different hoods there playing the game. It was the one place that was like an equalizer. It was just about how good you were at Street Fighter … for the most part. In other places, you were afraid of these dudes; there, you would just play the game and it was what it was, you know? I was really good at Street Fighter, so where the song really came from was me jokingly saying I was going to have my own theme song … like a boxer.”

“Street Fighter Mas” certainly captures that energy and gives the feeling of walking up to the squared circle to showcase all your skills.

Listen to “Street Fighter Mas” below, Heaven and Earth will be available everywhere on June 22, and Washington will tour throughout the summer and fall in support of the record.

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