Hip-Hop Hadouken: a Q&A with the organizer of 'Street Fighter: The RVA Warrior'

Album cover for 'Street Fighter: the RVA Warrior'. Album cover for 'Street Fighter: the RVA Warrior'. SCARLET MOON PRODUCTIONS

Last week saw the release of a new hip-hop album inspired by Street Fighter II, entitled Street Fighter: the RVA Warrior. The album is a collaborative effort between twenty artists from the Richmond, Virginia area, working together to create twelve tracks based on the major songs and character themes from the game.

The proceeds from the album will be donated to Building a Better RPS, a Richmond-based charity that aims to improve the Richmond public school system. On Thursday, June 22, a release show and fundraising event was streamed live on Twitch, taking place at the Garden Grove Brewery.

We were able to ask some question of Alan Brymer, the organizer who helped pull the album together. Our questions and his responses are below.

GEEKNIFTY: How did this project come to be?

ALAN: I have been remixing video game soundtracks for years, and considered making an instrumental album on my own, but thought it would sound better with vocals, so the project sat on my back burner for a while until last summer. Since moving to Richmond three years ago, I've made some friends in the hip-hop community and was pleased to find out through hanging out that they also loved the game and wanted to collaborate with me. A local radio host named Black Liquid introduced me to about fifteen other people and created a group chat on Facebook, where we chose who would work with which fighter's theme and I coordinated the production and promotion from there.

GEEKNIFTY: What made you decide to go with Street Fighter II, as well as hip-hop? What drew you to this game in particular?

ALAN: Street Fighter is bad ass. Always was, always will be. It's my favorite fighting game. The game mechanics have always been great, and I love how different and memorable each fighter is. Also, my first love in music is hip-hop, which belongs on the "street" more than any genre. Plus, the music from the game is so memorable, I just had to combine and reimagine the two.

GEEKNIFTY: What was your favorite part of the process? What was the most difficult?

ALAN: My favorite part was seeing all the participants' interest and commitment to making tracks, and then following through with producing them. I was a little bit concerned that there would be a lot of initial excitement than would fizzle out later on and not enough people would take action and make the album happen. We originally intended for there to be around seventeen tracks, and a wise friend who has also organized compilation albums told me to expect about half the people who said they'd make a track to go through with it. We ended up with twelve, which made me very happy seeing my dream become realized in a concrete way. And of course, listening to each track as they were finished was always an enjoyable experience. I'm VERY happy with how well they turned out. The most difficult part was several months of the waiting game... a few of the tracks took a long time to get finished, and also I spent time reaching out to different venues about the release show as I wanted it to be in the ideal place, which Garden Grove Breweing Company turned out to be. Once they agreed to host the show, a date was set for the release and then it was on.

GEEKNIFTY: Are there any plans for how the money will be spent? Are they for improving a certain part of the Richmond school system?

ALAN: We're just going to donate the funds to them as they see fit and let them do what they do best. They have a variety of projects that benefit Richmond City schools, but we didn't discuss any particulars with regards to how to use the donations.

GEEKNIFTY: Do you think there could be more collaborative projects like this in the future? Are there any plans?

ALAN: There is talk of doing it again with Mortal Kombat! I've also realized how much I enjoy meeting up with local artists in person, and have recognized some areas for improving my own production skills, so I may release an album myself where every track is a collaboration between a local producer, MC, and myself...remixing movie themes like Robocop and Predator. Now that the album is out, this is new question to answer and dream to realize. Stay tuned to see what comes next!

The album can be purchased now on Bandcamp by following this link. The album is also available for purchase on iTunes and other digital vendors.

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