Even a professional gamer is no match for Kamasi Washington in the arcade classic Street Fighter II Turbo.
In his music video for "Street Fighter Mas," a swirling Morricone-meets-funk lean of a song from the just-released Heaven and Earth, Washington battles and champions professional gamer ComboFiend, real name Peter Rosas. And a formidable competitor he is: Rosas once worked for the game's developer, Capcom.
Washington calls on another professional gaming giant, Gootecks, born Ryan Gutierrez, to be his guide to conquering the master. And if anyone is the right person to call to coach Street Fighter players, well: Gootecks has written several books about the game, and is the co-founder of Cross Counter TV, a media platform for fighting game fans.
"Many fail when they challenge ComboFiend," an ominous title card reads.
But not Washington.
As a kid, Washington tells NPR he truly believed he was the greatest Street Fighter player in the world. The video games and cartoons of his childhood make up a big part of his imagination today, he says. The Heaven side of his new album Heaven and Earth, which includes "Street Fighter Mas," is a dive into that imagination.
"That dreamy freedom that we have in our mind is something that's important because the world can lock you in so much sometimes," he recently told NPR's David Greene. Washington says he struggled to make his last album, because he felt confined by the definition of what an album should be. "I have to always check back in with my imagination just to remember that I have this infinite potential, and I can do anything and anything is possible."