A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Def Jam Rapstar is a music-based game, which sounds innocent enough, but be forewarded the videos that play in the background, and the lyrics heard, can be offensive as it has references to violence, sex, drug use and in some cases, sensititve topics such as police brutality and slavery. The life of a rapster portrayed in this game shows a glamorized lifestyle which includes lots of women moving their body sexually, and drug references.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
DEF JAM RAPSTAR is the first game that delivers a comprehensive rap experience for fans of the genre. The core gameplay lets you test your skills by rapping into a microphone to more than 45 of today's (and yesterday's) hip-hop hits; your rhythm, pitch and timing is measured against the real track and at the end of the song you're given a score based on your performance. The real music video plays in the background as you follow along with the lyrics. Gamers can also \"freestyle\" by making up their own rhymes -- to ten exclusive beats provided by Def Jam record producers -- and if desired, use your console's camera (sold seperately) to upload the video to defjamrapstar.com for others to see. More songs can be downloaded over time, similar to other music games.
Is it any good?
Def Jam Rapstar is a good music game IF you are a fan of this kind of music. Songs range from classics like Beastie Boy's "Brass Monkey" and Run D.M.C.'s "Run's House" to 2Pac's "I Get Around" and Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" to today's hits, such as Drake's "Best I Ever Had" and T.I. (featuring Rihanna)'s "Live Your Life." Some major artists are missing, of course, such as Eminem and Jay Z. The core game is fun, with or without a friend, but the addition of an upload option, custom rap, and battle mode (compete for highest score) adds more bang for the buck. If parents are OK with the potentially offensive lyrics and imagery in the music videos, they will likely find this game an entertaining diversion for the teens in the home.
Online interaction: There is no online multiplayer mode but X360 and PS3 players can upload their own video creation using the console's cameras. This video creation option isn't available on the Wii version.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of this game. Should there be a rap and hip-hop equivalent if there's Guitar Hero and Rock Band for rock music, Sing It! for pop hits, and DJ Hero for techno and house tunes?
What about the controversial imagery and lyrics in many (but not all) of these songs? Accept it as part of rap culture and take heed to the "Teen" rating or should Konami pick less graphic examples of rap and hip-hop hits so it has a more univeral appeal?
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
- Price: $59.99 ($69.99 with microphone)
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Konami
- Release date: October 5, 2010
- Genre: Music & Dance
- ESRB rating: T for Drug Reference, Mild Blood, Mild Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Lyrics, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.