Def Jam Rapstar drops the lyrical bouncing ball in this karaoke first. Finally, all those who have been missing Ice Cube and Lil`Kim in other music games can jam out with Def Jam`s Rapstar.
DefJam Rapstar is a straight-up Karaoke experience set to the back beat of hip-hop and rap music. Rapstar doesn`t go all pop on you either, this compilation of tracks is strictly thuggin' from gangsta raps to down and dirty party songs. The roster of artists should make this clear, featuring such names as Notorious B.I.G, Snoop Dogg, Soulja Boy, Lil' Wayne, and Ice Cube... and that's just the first five. DefJam's strong dedication to its craft makes Rapstar an attractive package, and this is the only spot where you can get it.
A Playa' Gotz Ta Have Options
Getting into the game the golden yellow menu will point out your options. Starting at the top we have the main vice to Rapstar, the 'Play' mode, which is your basic "select a track and get at it" throwdown. In this mode you can also create your own playlists or slap it in party mode. You also 'Practice' songs, which lets you dissect the song part-by-part or try the entire piece. Enhancing the experience more is leaderboard support and some cool details on each song, which should be a mandatory feature on all music games. The details rundown everything from the album art to how many words per minute the artists are spraying. Who knew? 2 Pac's “I get Around” hits 437 words a minute compared to someone like Young Jeezy in “Put On” who only hits 254 words per minute. Thuggin' under the influence... I guess so Jeezy, you said it.
The 'Career' mode is next, the spot where you will become a full out Rapstar. Here you will earn new songs as you progress track-by-track. The career mode is fairly short with the major incentive unlocking achievements and new songs. There are a few switch ups with different winning conditions, but the main objective is to keep those lyrics flowing. Multiplayer is also supported via co-op (if you have an extra mic) and is a popular method of playing the game judging from the online videos.
Share Your Skills
The 'community' aspect of Rapstar is basically an alternative version of Singstar's online service. Essentially a YouTube like service where you can post and rate videos. Supported with both console camera's you can rock out on the mic for the whole world to see. Just like YouTube video watching can be addictive and lots of fun as you see people from strange, to the serious, to the skilled. Although this feature works good, videos are limited to 30 seconds, which is a little too short. If we see a 'DefJam Rapstar 2' it would be great to be able record the entire track and try and expand on the community features even more.
Do You Have the Skillz?
For those who haven’t dabbled in rapping, Rapstar will be a lot harder then you think. Def Jam Rapstar is challenging and each artists has their own swagger that is hard to match. Just when you got Ice Cube`s smooth attack polished someone will come and switch it up. Much like singers, rappers have their own distinct twist on how they rap a song. You can't get a way with mumbling or spitting out a bunch of gibberish either because Rapstar knows all thanks to its heavy use of timing and pitch. Not only does this make you perfect the craft, it makes Rapstar tougher then similar “singing” games like Singstar or Lips.
Drop the "T"
For the most part we don't have too many complaints about Rapstar. However, there is one issue that really does some damage and its the “Teen” rating labelled on the box. The Teen raing sensors the language in the the songs, and if you know these tracks, that is a lot of censoring. Having blank lines to “not sing” is absurd. If you're going to pick songs with “explicit language” have the appropriate rating.
If you want to bust out the rhymes of your favorite rap artists, DefJam Rapstar is your only option. By default this makes it the best game of its kind, but that doesn't mean its undeserved. While the package might not be a slick as other music games, the goods comes in the form of its precise rapping. We did find fault with its “T” rating, which censors the music, but there is potential here. Throw your hands in the air, DefJam Rapstar is a true playa.
Similar Games: Singstar (8.6) | DJ Hero (8.6) | DJ Hero 2 (8.8)