The Gaming Guru review of Def Jam Rapstar


by TRACY-MARK GORGAS / Special contributor to

Posted on October 28, 2010 at 9:37 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 28 at 11:36 AM

Yeeeeeaaaaaahhhhhhh booooyyyy!  Today I’m reviewing Def Jam Rapstar.  Do I get down and get funky? Is it off the hook? Well let’s get on the mic.


There is no story in the game, but it does have a career mode.  Career mode is mostly just a way of unlocking songs and has no story.

Controls and Gameplay

Basically Def Jam Rapstar is a hip hop rap version of karaoke.  So the controller is only used to move around the menus.  While you can purchase it with a microphone, it will work with any game microphone out there (i.e. Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Lips, etc) which is very cool and handy if you already have a few.
The gameplay is rapping along with the song to score points.  After you go through a song it will sum up your skills in three categories, lyrics (how well you stuck to the lyrics), timing (how well you kept up with the flow of the song), and pitch (how on pitch you were).  You will score points and the game will rate you one to five microphones on your overall performance.
There are multiplayer modes also, duet and battle.  In duet you are working together for the best score, in battle you are competing against each other for better scores.

Not a great rapper?  Not a problem. They have a practice mode to let you work on getting better.

Graphics and Sound

Graphically the game is ok.  They use the music videos as the songs play, so the graphics are all the menus which look fine.

Sound is where any karaoke game really counts and Def Jam Rapstar sounds very good.  The songs used in the game are radio friendly versions, so parents concerned about naughty words can rest a little easier.


While I do have my favorite rap songs, I’m not what you would call an enthusiast.  So a lot of the songs in Def Jam Rapstar I am not familiar with at all.  So I brought in a friend of mine who is and asked her opinion.  She had two things to say about the game.  One, there is no Missy Elliot. How can you have a rap game and not have any Missy Elliot?”  she said.  She was very adamant about this. 

Second, because all the songs are the radio friendly versions, the lyrics they show on the screen threw her off.  This one I agree with her on. When you see one thing on the screen, but know the original as something else, it will make you stumble a bit.  Our solutions: Either try not to pay attention to the lyrics on screen and rap what you know or learn the new lyrics.

The game is a lot of fun and much like other music games really shines when you play it at parties and/orwith others.   One fun feature is the ability to make videos of yourself rapping over either the songs or freestyle your own raps over custom beats created by well known rap producers.  These videos can be edited in the game with graphics, stickers and effects, uploaded to the Def Jam Rapstar site and then shared with others over Facebook and Twitter.

Here’s an example video, wherein I show off my “mad skillz.”

The game comes with 44 songs on disc, a little light compared to other music games, but they do have DLC for more songs, so your library can grow.  The on disc songs will be listed at the end of the review.

The only problems I had with the game are mostly just my lack of familarity with songs and unpolished rap skills.  A little time and practice and I'm pretty sure I would have a pretty decent flow.  This it a really good first entry for a hip-hop only music game.  It's appeal might be limited, but that really shouldn't stop anyone from checking it out.

So while I did not know most of the songs I did have fun and so did my “Rap Expert.”  I give it 4 out of 5, she gives it a "solid 3 out of 5."

Def Jam Rapstar is rated T for Teen for Drug Reference, Mild Blood, Mild Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Lyrics, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco.  It is available now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii.

The songs on the disc are:

   1.  2pac - "I Get Around"
   2. 50 Cent - "I Get Money"
   3. A Tribe Called Quest - "Scenario"
   4. Beastie Boys - "Brass Monkey"
   5. Big Pun feat. Joe - "Still Not A Player"
   6. Biz Markie - "Just A Friend"
   7. Busta Rhymes - "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See"
   8. Diddy (featuring The Notorious B.I.G, Lil' Kim & The Lox) - "It's All About The Benjamins (Remix)"
   9. DJ Khaled (featuring Akon, T.I., Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Baby & Lil Wayne) - "We Takin' Over"
  10. DMX - "Ruff Ryder's Anthem"
  11. Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Doggy Dogg - "Nuthin' But A G Thang"
  12. Drake - "Best I Ever Had"
  13. Fat Joe featuring Terror Squad - "Lean Back"
  14. Ice Cube - "Today Was A Good Day"
  15. Ja Rule featuring Ashanti - "Always on Time"
  16. Jim Jones - "We Fly High"
  17. Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx - "Gold Digger"
  18. Kanye West - "Stronger"
  19. Lil Jon - "Get Low"
  20. Lil Wayne - "A Milli"
  21. LL Cool J - "Mama Said Knock You Out"
  22. Ludacris - "Stand Up"
  23. Method Man feat. Mary J. Blige - "You're All I Need/I'll Be There For You"
  24. Method Man & Redman - "Da Rockwilder"
  25. Nas feat. Diddy - "Hate Me Now"
  26. Nelly - "Hot In Herre"
  27. Notorious B.I.G. - Big Poppa
  28. Notorious B.I.G. - "Juicy"
  29. Onyx - "Slam"
  30. Outkast - "So Fresh & So Clean"
  31. Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth - "T.R.O.Y. (They Reminisce Over You)"
  32. Public Enemy - "Can't Truss It"
  33. Public Enemy - "Fight The Power"
  34. Rob Base - It Takes Two
  35. Run D.M.C. - "Run's House"
  36. Salt-N-Pepa - "Push It"
  37. Slick Rick - "Children's Story"
  38. Snoop Dogg - "Gin and Juice"
  39. Soulja Boy Tell’em - "Turn My Swag On"
  40. T.I. feat. Rihanna - "Live Your Life"
  41. Twista feat. Kanye West and Jamie Foxx - "Slow Jamz"
  42. Wu Tang Clan - "C.R.E.A.M."
  43. Young Jeezy featuring Kanye West - "Put On"
  44. Young Joc - "It's Going Down"


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