Celebrity Rap Superstar

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Celebrity Rap Superstar TV Poster Image
Stars bring the noise in MTV reality competition.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series features music and lyrics that represent a specific culture -- that of rap/hip-hop -- that has its own defined norms and values. Many songs treat women in a sexist manner. Contestants are both male and female, and are a diverse bunch (Caucasian, African-American, Latino). Most of the featured rappers are African-American.

Violence
Sex

Many of the featured songs' lyrics include references to sex and sexual activity. Background dancers (and some contestants) dance suggestively.

Language

Words like "damn" and "ass" are audible in songs and in some on-stage banter. Stronger words are fully bleeped out.

Consumerism

The competition features celebrities from sports, television, film, and music; most are delighted to be able to promote themselves. Famous rappers are featured, as are some of their songs, including "Right Thurr" and "Tambourine."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some songs contain references (albeit subtle) to drugs and alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is yet another reality show in which celebrities compete in an area outside their current expertise -- in this case, rapping. Some of the featured songs include strong language (most of which is bleeped out) and sexual references, and treat women in a sexist manner. Some of the dancing is also suggestive. On the plus side, the veteran rap and hip-hop artists who serve as the contestants' mentors demonstrate the skill and artistry that are part of this genre of music.

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What's the story?

Touted by MTV as the rap battle of the century, CELEBRITY RAP SUPERSTAR pits mid-level celebs against each other as they try to perform their way into hip-hop stardom. The superstar hopefuls include former football player Jamal Anderson, Playboy model Kendra Wilkinson, Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach, troubled The Hills cast member Jason Wahler, celeb gossip blogger Perez Hilton, and actors Countess Vaughn, Shar Jackson, and Efren Ramirez. Well-known rap musicians like Bubba Sparks, MC Lyte, and Tone-Loc mentor the contestants as they master the skill of rapping -- and help them look and sound a bit more like hip-hop artists in the process.

Is it any good?

The series isn't that much of a departure from other reality performance competitions like American Idol. But while Idol and its counterparts offer their winners major prize money and lucrative contracts, Superstar simply gives its victor the opportunity to earn bragging rights and respect from the hip-hop world -- as well as the chance to get on stage and have some fun.

While the show has its share of suggestive lyrics and dance moves -- both in-line with the hip-hop culture -- it does give audiences a chance to appreciate rapping as an art form that takes years to perfect. Granted, the process is a little painful when some of the less musically gifted contestants butcher the lyrics or fail to carry a tune. But some of them do provide surprisingly enjoyable moments of entertainment as they begin to learn and value the talent and skill that goes into becoming a true rap superstar.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about rap and hip-hop. What's the difference between the two? What do you think drives the popularity of both genres? Families can also discuss the culture that surrounds certain musical genres. Why does a lot of rap music contain strong lyrics? Are references to sex and violence ever OK in music? Why or why not? Does the fact that music is a form of artistic expression affect your answer? Why?

TV details

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