With Letter To My Son, Oakland producer Cole James Cash displayed an impressive quality for crafting concept projects. His first official album, Street Champion, was culled from a considerable well of life experience. When he tells me via e-mail that, “the theme of the album might be about street fighter, but survival in the street and fighting for whats yours is untimely what the album is about,” he’s not delivering cliche platitudes.
While crafting the 21-track album, Cash used a stabbing, a rehab stint, and residence in three halfway houses as stimulus. He hasn’t even been able to enjoy the success of the project, as he was recently shot and robbed in his native Oakland. The conditions of Street Champion’s creation are why Cash proclaims that the album was literally made from “blood, sweat and tears.”
Street Champion is meant to be an exhibition of Cash’s multi-faceted production ability. He corralled fiery verses from the likes of Skyzoo, Sadat X, Chris Rivers, and Eff Yoo into a varied, cohesive work inspired by different facets of the Street Fighter video game series. These are no “show-up-to-say-I-showed-up” posse cuts. Each artist is trying to out duel the next over Cash’s thumping drums and creative sample flips.
“NYC Subway Fights” is a no-nonsense burner inspired by the game’s subway level. Sadat X delivers a pointed on the sonically brooding “Yoga Flame.”
You can stream the entirety Street Champion below.