Interview: Jayy Starr and GRP on Creating the Sound for ‘Street Fighter 6’

Julia
19 Min Read
Capcom

Last year, Capcom released the newest installment in their long-running Street Fighter franchise, Street Fighter 6, which is officially the seventh game in the series. The fighting game allows players to choose from three different modes to battle other fighters, unlock special abilities, play locally or online with other gamers, and more.

While players can enjoy the general gameplay mechanics, Street Fighter 6 can’t be a Street Fighter game without a soundtrack to go with it. The latest iteration includes tracks from various Capcom composers and other artists, including Jayy Starr and GRP. Additionally, Street Fighter 6 is getting the vinyl treatment with a soon-to-be-released vinyl collector’s edition, currently in pre-order.

With the Street Fighter 6 vinyl set on the way, we had the opportunity to talk with Starr and GRP about working the game’s soundtrack and their connections to the Street Fighter franchise.

Note: This interview was edited for clarity.

Nerds & Beyond: Street Fighter is obviously something that has cemented itself in the gaming world and even beyond as this iconic franchise. Generally speaking, what about the franchise, or even Street Fighter 6 specifically, that resonates with you?

Jayy Starr: For me, Street Fighter was a huge part of my childhood, and one thing I feel that Capcom has always done very well with the Street Fighter franchise is stay authentic, for one, and bring together different characters, different cultures, and different sounds. One thing I learned by being a part of the music for Street Fighter 6 is pretty much how important the soundtrack is to the fans of the franchise, because ultimately, the soundtrack to the game is the soundtrack to their gameplay. So, it’s more than just like menu music. It’s a statement that’s being made. Street Fighter has always been a part of my life for sure. Like it’s one of the first games that I ever played and kind of started me just being kind of addicted to gaming and video games.

GRP: For me, when I was a kid, my dad gave me the Street Fighter, too. I played every day, and those memories are still clear in my mind. Even as I grow up, you and all the characters were still fighting through the many versions of the game. They never give up, and it’s not only about fighting. For example, Guile has a wife and daughter. Ken has a son and wife. There are a lot of stories, but they keep fighting. It feels similar to my journey. I wanted to become a famous music producer when I was a teenager, so I started making music. I went to the live shows and the clubs to show my song to my audience and the people, but they weren’t interested in me then. So, Street Fighter is like the backdrop of my music career experience. I was fighting then and I’m still fighting now, so I got a lot of inspiration from Street Fighter 6 and old versions when I started to make the theme song and other soundtracks. It empowered me.

Nerds & Beyond: What drew you to Street Fighter 6? How did you become involved with the soundtrack?

GRP: So, about the team song, “Not on the Sidelines,” [Yoshiya] Terayama-San, he is a composer at Capcom, so he sent us the first version of this song which was really great, and we worked with some incredible artists — Randy Marx and Rocco808. Randy’s idea and vibe were very helpful in the sound I choose for the production. He has a strong voice, but he is a super kind person, but he looks really scary. [Laughs] But he’s not. He’s a really kind person, and his input helped me imagine the sound for the song. Rocco808 is also a wonderful person and I love his potential. He writes so fast, his melodies are awesome, and his ideas are crazy. I felt this was different from regular — my songwriting session. They are struggling in life, have dreams, and never give up. I believe that through this experience, we were able to create a unique sound for this song and the soundtracks. Working on Street Fighter 6 really helped me grow my skills.

Nerds & Beyond: Building on that, something like Street Fighter 6, something that’s in a long-running franchise, it’s important to keep a sound familiar to its predecessors while ensuring that you are creating something new and unique to this game. So, I was wondering if you could expand a little bit more on how you delved into approaching the soundtrack and how you toed the line between something familiar and fresh?

GRP: Jayy and Rocco and Randy, they are great artists. They are so fast at writing, and the idea is crazy. I couldn’t make this production myself, so they gave me the great ideas, and then I came up which sounds [and how] to make the production for the soundtrack, and all the songs on this vinyl.

Jayy Starr: I’d say for GRP, working with him — this song, the song that we did, was the first time that I was in the studio with all of the guys, and that was my first time meeting everybody after they had decided that I would join the Street Fighter family. One thing that’s really dope is that GRP really builds around the artist, which is super dope. It’s kind of like when you have a Pokémon and you put the energy card down. GRP is like that trainer card or that energy card. He really adds that flair to your vocals, then from there he adds his spice to it, and then that just motivates you as an artist to add your spice to it. So, kind of just building off of each other and then before you know it, we have like a killer freaking track.

GRP: Thank you so much.

Nerds & Beyond: How did Street Fighter 6 positively challenge you as creatives? Were there any particular aspects you didn’t expect to encounter in the process? Is there anything that working on the soundtrack taught you that you think you’ll be able to apply in your careers moving forward?

Jayy Starr: I’d say yeah, for sure. My background is primarily in making hip-hop music as an artist myself, like my own projects. I also create music for television shows and movies and stuff. So, being a part of a song specifically for Street Fighter 6 was one of those full circle moments where I knew I really had to get in my bag and really deliver, because the fans of Street Fighter know Street Fighter like the back of their hands. So, if I came inauthentic or tried to change things too much, it just wouldn’t resonate as well. And I knew that for the song in particular that I was a part of, the goal was to create a song that motivated the players of the game — during the Pro Tour at that, where there’s like, what, $1 or $2 million dollars on the line and motivate them to kind of get in there, kick some butt, and win that money that’s gonna change their life and their families’ lives.

Nerds & Beyond: Earlier this month, the vinyl set for the soundtrack went into pre-order. And it is a very comprehensive vinyl, it comes with so many cool things. So, what does it mean for you to be able to have worked on something that is getting such a comprehensive vinyl set, especially for something like a video game?

GRP: I’m really honored to be part of this. I heard this is the first time they are going to release a vinyl edition, right? And then they showed me the vinyl, the first package. When I saw my credit and the credit, I was like, “Oh, my gosh.” I think that’s a big history of my life because Street Fighter is so huge. They had a history, so I can only imagine my name, and my name is in the credit, and the vinyl. The first released edition. So, I still can’t believe that. But, yeah, I love the designs. It’s super nice. And do you know when we play it on the record player, the animation moves. It’s amazing and beautiful.

Jayy Starr: Yeah, it’s super sick.

GRP: Yeah, super sick.

Nerds & Beyond: What are you most proud of with the soundtrack and what you’ve contributed to it?

Jayy Starr: I’ll say it’s definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity that I still kind of pinch myself about. Again, this is something that I grew up on where, as kids, we were fighting over the controller. If you lost you, gotta pass that controller, no argument. Just pass the rock. [Laughs] But, yeah, it’s definitely one of those things that you just never really see happening. It’s something that when it does happen, you’re like, “Dang. This is really dope. I can’t believe this is happening.” But it’s like, you really can’t predict it. I’m still on a cloud about it.

We went to Comic-Con, and we were able to reveal the vinyl set there, at Comic-Con, and premiere the Pro Tour theme, which is the song that I was a part of. It’s just unreal to me, like just sharing it with friends and family that grew up on the game as well. And even meeting new people, like fans that play the game actively, and they’re starting to follow me on Twitter and follow me on Instagram and just connect, and it’s so dope. It’s a dope community to now be a part of too, like it’s one big old family of just fighters. [Laughs]

GRP: For me, I moved to LA from Japan in 2016 and I had never learned English then. But I started having sessions with American artists, and now I usually start [by] inviting artists to my studio, and we exchange melodies and ideas. Back then, it was difficult to communicate due to my language barrier, but they kept coming to my studio, and together, we released many great songs.

A few years later Capcom, through Koyo [Sonae] — and he’s a very good friend. Koyo usually worked with Capcom a lot, so he brought this project to me. Then they felt I was a part of Street Fighter. A man in his mid-30s, [who] came to LA chasing his dream, struggling with language, and just trying to survive. I believe they saw a real-life Street Fighter in me. Street Fighter means a lot to me. I presented my song to them, and they loved it. They loved my songs, and that’s how this big project started. So, still I can remember the, “Hey, G. Are you interested in this project?” “Okay. What project?” “Oh, Street Fighter 6.” “Street Fighter 6?!” [Laughs] Then they also they needed hip-hop vibes, and usually I make the hip-hop songs with artists. So, Koyo already knew what kind of song I made. So, still I can remember, but I’m really thankful to everyone.

Jayy Starr: Yeah, shouts out to Koyo, because Koyo reached out to me as well, and that’s how I became a part of Street Fighter. I didn’t know what the heck was going on because I didn’t know it was for Street Fighter for so long. It was just some top secret music project that they wanted me to be part of. Then they were like, “Well now that the NDA’s signed, it’s Street Fighter,” and I’m like, “What?” [Laughs]

GRP: So, Koyo, he’d say, “Hey, G. It’s so hard to find a female rapper.” So he’s trying to find a great female rapper, but a few weeks later or a few months later, he said, “Hey, G. I finally found a great rapper.” “Really?” And Jayy came into my studio then.

Jayy Starr: [Laughs]

Nerds & Beyond: Beyond Street Fighter 6, is there anything that you’re working on currently or anything you hope to do that you haven’t done yet in your careers?

GRP: For now, I’m not sure. [Laughs] Maybe they will release an update, maybe, [for] the game. Yeah, hopefully, they want to work with us. Maybe they’ll reach out to us. I believe that, but I’m not sure yet. But, yeah, we want to do that.

Jayy Starr: Absolutely. It’d be dope to do more theme songs, more character songs. And GRP and I are actually working on an EP.

GRP: Yeah, EP, yes.

Nerds & Beyond: Oh, okay. Very cool!

Jayy Starr: It’s my very first project as an artist in quite some time. It’s been almost a decade since I’ve released my own music. So, yeah, it’s gonna be dope.

GRP: I really love Jayy’s voice and Jayy’s rapping, and [her] ideas are so good. I think she’s a genius.

Jayy Starr: I- really? A genius? Can I get that in writing?

GRP: You’re a genius!

Jayy Starr: Can I get that in writing? [Laughs]

GRP: Because when we started making the track first, when we have a session, she already — she has the idea, she has everything. Chorus, pre-chorus, hook, everything. So, once [I’m] done [with] my production, she’s done also: “Okay, let’s record.” “Oh, wow. Did you write already?!” And she said yeah.

Jayy Starr: Yeah, I don’t need any time to finish at all, but his beats are just so dope, as he’s building it in front of me, I’m just so inspired that I’m like, “Alright. I got the melody down. I’m about to write the full song right now, and you’re gonna record as soon as he’s done.” He tells me he’s done, I’m on the mic. [Laughs]

GRP: I can make a dope track because of you. Your vibe, your ideas. All the time I come up with ideas from you, so, I couldn’t make it myself. We’re a good team.

Jayy Starr: We’re a great team. It’s definitely enjoyable to work with GRP, genuinely, and to go to the casino after, so. [Laughs]

Nerds & Beyond: That sounds like a good time. It’s a good way to treat yourself afterwards. [Laughs]

GRP: Yeah. Yeah, she’s great. And then, another Street Fighter. Yes, start it. [Laughs]

Thank you so much to Jayy Starr and GRP for taking time to talk with us! Street Fighter 6 is available now on Steam, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S. Pre-order the vinyl collector’s edition here, and listen to the soundtrack now on Spotify and Apple Music.

Nerds and Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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By Julia
Julia is a writer/editor/content assistant for Nerds who joined the team in 2019.
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