It seems as if there is no shortage of wannabe rappers these days. With sites like YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, and more, there are plenty of avenues for the aspiring rapper to upload and share his or her skills with the rest of the world. There is, however, a shortage of decent games for hip hop fans. A game where followers of the genre or those hoping to join it one day can test themselves. Def Jam Rapstar aims to fill this gap.
Def Jam Rapstar for the PS3 has finally hit the shelves. With all of the attention paid to the rock and pop genres, it's nice to finally see hip hop receive some dedicated love from the gaming world. Best of all, Def Jam Rapstar is not some half-hearted shout-out to the hip hop community; it's a game that actually delivers.
The premise behind Def Jam Rapstar is as simple as it gets. It's basically a game of karaoke with a hip hop twist. Each song is accompanied by its video on-screen. The words appear on the screen, and you have to sing along. To guide you, there's a small dot that bounces from word to word. Considering it is hip hop, the pace of the music is pretty fast, so you will have to spit out the lyrics quickly. This renders the on-screen bouncing dot a bit useless. You're better off trying to match the artist's rhythm as you rap along. As you move through each song, your timing and pitch is measured for accuracy. The game employs modern voice recognition technology, so it actually does measure your performance well.
There are over 45 hip hop tracks that come standard on the game. The tracks span various decades, and no coast or movement is ignored. East Coast, West Coast, Dirty South, Midwest, you name it, they are all represented. Of course, depending on which style you are a fan of, you may know some songs more than others, but at least there is equal representation present. There are some smooth joints, some radio hits, some rough cuts, and more. To give you an idea of the wide range of artists, you can hear tracks from the Beastie Boys, Wu Tang Clan, Young Jeezy, Notorious B.I.G., 2pac, Run D.M.C., Snoop Dogg, Public Enemy, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Biz Markie, and the list goes on. Besides the tracks that come with the game, there are also plenty of songs that can be downloaded as well.
While the track list is extensive, there is one major problem: the songs are edited. That's right hip hop fans, you get the clean versions. This was apparently done to avoid getting slapped with a Mature rating, and it's unfortunate. Curse words are a part of hip hop, and by bleeping them out, you lose a lot of authenticity. It also causes a problem while playing. If you look at the words on-screen, sometimes entire lines are blanked out. That makes it really difficult to rap along if you do not know the song, and it can really throw off your timing. If you do know the song, you can rap the curse words without being penalized. Still, they should have left them in and accepted the more adult rating, or at least released an uncensored version of the game.
In terms of difficulty, that depends on the player. This game is obviously intended for a niche market, and not like other sing along games that cater to a genre that reaches many more fans, such as pop. If you are not a hip hop fan or do not recognize the songs, things can get tough. This game is meant more for real fans of the genre, and it would be hard for a person who has never heard the songs to participate. Even if you do know the lyrics, the game can be difficult to play in its solo mode. Why? Not only are you required to rap the lyrics, but you also must sing the chorus. In some songs, this could cause you to run out of breath, thus affecting your accuracy.
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