Def Jam Rapstar

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Def Jam Rapstar Game Poster Image
Rap music experience has iffy lyrics and videos.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Many of these rap videos that play in the background show women dancing very suggestively, many of rappers flaunt money or power and there are visual and lyrical references to taking drugs, drinking alcohol, and smoking cigars.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The game doesn't have a protagonist as it's a karaoke-like singing/rapping game, but to the extent that these rappers are role models, they exhibit or sing about behaviors that don't make them good role models including smoking, drinking, doing drugs, demeaning women and other races, and being violent.

Ease of Play

If you can read and rap, the game is easy to pick up. Similar to other karaoke games, you simply sing/rap along with familiar songs, with the video playing in the background, and are graded on your performance.



Some of the music videos playing in the background depict scenes of violence and some blood. For example, in T.I.'s (featuring Rihanna) "Live Your Life," you can see T.I. getting beat up with blood on his face. In Public Enemy's "Can't Truss It," there is a scene that implies rape as shirtless white men are dragging a black woman back into a home and later the baby is born white.


Many of these music videos show sexual scenes, including women dancing in bikinis, gyrating their hips or buttocks, and showing ample cleavage and thong-like bottoms that reveal most of their buttocks. In some instances the rappers are staring at their breasts and groping their bodies. In 2Pac's "I Get Around," the rapper is in bed with three women. Many of the lyrics also refer to sexual interaction and refer to women in ways that could be insulting, such as calling them "bitches" and "ho's" (e.g. Snoop Dogg: "I got bitches in the living room getting it on"). Another example: Big Pun's "Still Not A Player" ("Rubbin' your spot love got you screamin'").


Most of the swear words are bleeped out (a Konami rep confirmed radio edits of songs were used) but there are plenty of other potentially offensive words and phrases about violence, sex, drug or alcohol use, race, and police brutality. Some words can be heard, such as the "N" word, "d--k," "ass" and "smokin' weed." Profanity is also implied with the bleeped out word, such as Snoop Dogg's "Gin n' Juice" ("Aiy baby get some bubblegum in this motherf---").


Some of these videos show consumerism, such as images of popular clothing companies, jewelry brands, and familiar alcohol labels.


Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many of these music videos show images of smoking or drinking, or allude to it in the lyrics. Examples include Ja Rule's (featuring Ashanti) "Always on Time" ("Drugged up off that ecstasy") and Lil' Wayne's "Milli" ("Wit' coke in the derriere). In 2Pac's "I Get Around" you see the rapper smoking a cigar in a hot tub. In Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy," you hear him sing "Smokin' weed and bamboo, sippin' on private stock."


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.


User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written by$$*BLACKANDYELLOW*$$ March 8, 2013

Mostly okay for kids

This game really is not that bad. There is a few newer songs on the game that are not appropriate, all the swear words and drug refrences are edited. On the oth... Continue reading
Adult Written byTrippsta May 26, 2011

DONT WASTE YOUR MONEY unless you old as hell

I think this game is FUN (for the first 15 minutes of it) I mean come on! This is rap there for it should be 17+ but they have it all bleep out and all stupid l... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bytheheroman122 November 25, 2010

Teen DJ RapStar

It's Like a Music Video with Player Singing On it.
Teen, 17 years old Written byqwertyuiop01 November 14, 2010



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 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?

Game details

  • 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

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