Street Fighter 6

The Street Fighter 6 select theme is a worthy contender to Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike’s

Throughout Street Fighter’s illustrious history, the classic fighter has given the world some amazing jams, but nothing is more memorable than the first piece of music you’ll there when you jump into any of the games; The select music. There have been some amazing collections that serve to get the player ready for the main course, but nothing has gotten me ready to punch someone in the face more than the Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike select theme has. However, with the Street Fighter 6 character select theme making the rounds, I may have found another contender for the crown. Yep, it’s time to talk about some Street Fighter music.

When we first got a taste of Street Fighter III, I’m going to be perfectly honest here; the character select theme was not my favorite. It sounded generic, and it had no soul to it. Sure, at that point in time, game music was still in its evolution stage, and people would select their characters and move on. The character select theme in Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact was a bit better, but it was still a theme that repeated until you selected your character. Despite that, it only served as a basic theme, nothing too fancy. Then it all changed.

In Capcom’s attempt to draw more people to Street Fighter III, the developer/publisher made the decision to start over. Where Street Fighter III: New Generation was supposed to be the “out with the old” game, a reboot, but it failed to appeal to fighting game fans. Then Capcom pumped out Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact, and it did better than its first attempt and brought back characters that didn’t make the first cut, but it still wasn’t there. Then Capcom when to the gym and returned with Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike; the rest is history.

With it, we saw the return of more fan favorites, better-defined mechanics, and a brand-new soundtrack that was a mixture of jazz, hip-hop, and techno. It was the first of its kind, and for a while, people were scratching their heads due to the massive change. A fighting game from Japan that introduced these music types deeply rooted in the Americas, yet the soundtrack was so damned impressive that eventually, everyone fell in love with it. While the game had an impressive collection of bangers and easily has the best music in any Street Fighter game, there’s one that stands out above the rest. One that has been remixed and arranged and can be found everywhere on YouTube… no not Dudley’s theme, but that’s a close 5th for me. I’m referring to the Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike character select theme, Let’s Get It On, by INFINITE. If you ask me about any SF6 track, this one will be the first to come to mind.

I’m likely older than most of the people who read our content, and I can recall the days when I would make treks to the only place that had several Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike machines, and which were always crowded (R.I.P. Funscape). I can still recall people using tape recorders to capture the character select theme, and yes, it was a moment. It made me proud, as I ran a video gaming music website around the same time, so to see this happening with my own eyes was something to behold. Capcom hit paydirt with about everything that was Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, especially the character theme. Whoever at Capcom selected the Canadian Rapper INFINITE to do this theme song (and the Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike attract them) props out to you.

Decades later, we’re finally getting another game with a character select theme that takes it back to hip-hop and rap. Just like Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, it features another rap song, and if you pay attention to the words, it’s as if the game is talking to you. I know some aren’t fans of it, but I realize how much of an impact hip-hop has on the fighting game genre, and seeing it front and center in another Capcom fighting game has me smiling. As for with theme I like better, I still have to give the win to the Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike select theme. It still goes in hard, decades later, and reminds me of that grizzled warrior who’s ready for the next fight and has the charm of its time period. Street Fighter 6’s is more about demanding respect and taking your shot as a newcomer. Still, it feels like it’s missing something; what that is, I don’t know. I’ll see how the SF6 select theme fares once I end up playing more of Street Fighter 6.

To be fair, it’s not just Capcom either, as various other fighting games (and non-fighting games) have embraced the hip-hop and rap culture throughout the years. I mean, there’s a reason that Capcom recently had Lil Wayne host the Street Fighter 6 showcase back in April 2023. Having the Japanese developer return to what helped make Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike popular tells me that the company realized it needed to go back. While the verdict is still out on the newer tracks for Street Fighter 6 (except for Ken’s, that shit is fire), the character theme has me hooked. I’m not ashamed to say that I have added the theme song to my collection of tunes when I’m driving or working.

Street Fighter 6 releases on June 2, 2023, for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC (Steam). Do you have a favorite Street Fighter theme or song? Let us know which one it is in the comments.