Def Jam Rapstar Updated Impressions

Young Jeezy we ain't, but that didn't stop us from spitting lyrics in the latest music game from Konami.

In its own special way, Def Jam Rapstar can go from making you feel like the king of the world at one moment to a straight-up sucker the next. Sure, that roller coaster of emotion is nothing new for music games--people have been hitching their self-esteem to the highs and lows of their numeric scores for years now. But there's something very special about utterly failing a song when you're trying your best to do a spot-on impersonation of Raekwon from the Wu-Tang Clan that just doesn't happen when you're clicking away on a plastic guitar or singing along to the Beatles.

Shaun McInnis will not be faded.

But that's what's great about Def Jam Rapstar: The mechanics of video game karaoke may be the same, but the experience feels like something altogether different. Here's how our latest taste went: Last week, 4mm Games dropped by a Konami press event in San Francisco to give the press a chance to rap along to a handful of songs from Rapstar. (For the full details of the Konami partnership, including newly announced songs, click here. For previous hands-on coverage, click here.) After expressing my confidence to the CEO of Def Jam that I could easily become a professional rapper if I put my mind to it, I decided to back up that claim by playing a few songs.

The first song I played was "Gold Digger" by Kanye West. Rather than rapping in Duet mode like the previous players had done, I was feeling confident enough to challenge a peer of mine to a full-on battle. The difference between those two modes is that Duet has players alternating lines and sharing a common score, whereas Battle makes you both rap the whole song side by side with competing tallies. Much more competitive that way. Much more on the line. Fortunately, my confidence paid off. My flow was hot and my rhymes were fresh. I rode that confidence to a victory and felt pretty good about the next song up: Wu-Tang's "C.R.E.A.M."

I know Wu-Tang. I used to listen to them all the time. But the difference I soon found out is that I've listened to "Gold Digger" a lot more over the past few years than I have "C.R.E.A.M."--a song that came out 16 years ago. So while I went into the song feeling like I knew it all the way through--even trash-talking my competitor--it turns out I only remembered the chorus. The verses were like a minefield of awkward stumbling and off timing. It was ugly. It was embarrassing. But, it was also a lot of fun.

That what I really enjoyed about Def Jam Rapstar. I made an idiot of myself on the second go-around, but I had a good time doing it. The style of the game and the selection of songs make it very easy to put on a cocky persona and go out there like you're the hottest rapper around. That's not the sort of experience you can get with other rhythm games out there. So, here's hoping that the rest of the game--Career mode, community aspects, and the like--carry that same swagger.

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20 comments
Arther-la-Blunt
Arther-la-Blunt

can't wait to get rapstar prove that my rhymes are faster when I win, gonna get a fast car race like im in a NASCAR hehe

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

I hope the songs aren't the edited versions.

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

rap is lame ,, i cant stand it, the only rap songs i liked were therugrats one and johncenas ,other then that meh throw it in the back burner for now

firstclassgamer
firstclassgamer

if yall f***tards think rap is causing a lot of trouble what do u think rock music is doing. rock and rap basically talks about the same thing girls drugs and money just one is sang in a different way jus like pop and rnb the only one that is different is christian music...."hell" even country music talks about the same thing so yall jack@$$ get a life and listren to more music than jus the music yall prefer in other words broadn ur horizon and live a little

BVCO
BVCO

dear god, im looking forward to the time when Konami stops releasing music games, and finally let the other companies get it RIGHT for once.

WandringWarrior
WandringWarrior

I loved the first 2 games on my PS2, then we got a beutiful looking game on my Xbox 360 but the gameplay was awful & no replayability at all. I just hope this is going back to its roots of what made the first 2 games great. If it aint broke, dont fix it...(maybe just a little)

Masta_Rix
Masta_Rix

This game might be fun I guess, when drunk at parties i'll pull it out.

Noformation
Noformation

@Zacmaccraken what do you mean real job? These guys make 6 figures a year and more, while you're probably making 6$ an hour at burger king.

wiiplay1
wiiplay1

I might get it, depending on what it offers. @Zacmaccraken If we told every artist to get a real job just like you did, there wouldn't be any music. Whether you like it or not, rap is another form of music. You may not like it, but that doesn't mean it isn't music.

calm_syrface
calm_syrface

Whatever @zacmaccraken a video game is a video game I like rap music although it isn't always positive it is a art form. Rock music even pop music today is not PG anymore so you can thank Hip Hop for Kid Rock! lol

matastig
matastig

@M3ran big boss after the events of

Urban_Flow
Urban_Flow

Pretty sure I will pick it up =)

kayvanmsh
kayvanmsh

they better put some old rap like nwa 2pac dr dre icecube. and please dont censor the songs. stick a m rating to it instead. rap lyrics are already explict. u cant censor the meaning

Schwarte
Schwarte

Rap music causes trolling on gaming sites! (see below for proof) Apart from that I've waited since SingStar first came out for someone to bring that formula over to HipHop. Will buy.

M3ran
M3ran

guys i have a question.you know the picture on top of the page that has said gamespot at konami,the guy on the left is snake or big boss and also who is the character on the left i remember there was such a character on sega saturn. who is the blue one on the left any one? please consider puttin @before myname in your comment so that i get it.thnx

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

Rap music isn't the cause of so many aggressive, gesturing, bling wearing tossers in the UK's most deprived areas...... who am I trying to kid?!

Zacmaccraken
Zacmaccraken

Rap music should forever vanish from the face of the earth. Then the so called "Rappers" get a real job and stop being one bad influence for all the people that tries to emulate them and their behaviours. Bring a meaning to the word MUSIC again......

soulless4now
soulless4now

This game sounds fun. I'll definitely start tracking it now.