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“Def Jam Rapstar,” Previewed

“Def Jam Rapstar,” Previewed (photo)

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In hip-hop, a MC’s vocals become the lead instrument. Without actual people playing behind him or her, a rapper is arguably left more out on a limb than his/her equivalent in a rock ensemble. Ain’t no bassist coming to spice things up with an inventive solo nor will a live guitarist create fireworks to wipe away the memories of flubbed lyrics. If your banter or charisma falls flat, that’s all she wrote. The beat is only there as a foundation; it’s not going to dynamically respond to you. You’re existentially alone.

The individual tenacity required to make good hip-hop has helped fuel the genre’s rise to the top of the charts over the last decade. So, yeah, hip-hop’s not vying for recognition in mainstream culture anymore, but surprisingly, it’s not well represented in the music game market. “Def Jam Rapstar” is looking to change all of that. Developed by 4mm studios and Terminal Reality and distributed by Konami, “Rapstar” lets gamers get loose on the microphone, giving them the chance to rock to classic tracks by artists new and old. Using the PlayStation Eye or Xbox Live Vision camera, your performance will be scored and recorded. The video of your karaoke session can be uploaded to the game’s community Web site, where other users can rate it.

For the wannabe MCs out there, the game will also let you record your own rhymes over original instrumentals that are included. Those tracks will be coming from an all-star roster of producers, including DJ Premier. 4mm sees “Rapstar” as the center of a social network that’ll use smartphones and the Web to tie into the console experience. You can opt to keep track of friend activity via text message, so you’ll know when your crew members upload videos or notch new high scores on a particular song.

“Def Jam Rapstar”‘s online leaderboards won’t just be based on how well you perform a song. Other users can vote to catapult your rendition to the top of the charts, too. And battle-hungry MCs needn’t worry, because you’ll be able to issue challenges to other “Rapstar” players as well. On top of all of that, you can play the part of promoter and get your Diddy on by hyping other performers in the “Rapstar” community. Like a rap-centric version of Foursquare, here’ll be a variety of badges and awards that you can sport on your profile. The social networking focus of “Rapstar” is impressive and will let you drill down user stats to area code, letting you see who the best user in your ‘hood is for a particular song.

The game will launch with 45 songs and the tracks detailed so far span the Old School, Golden Age and modern eras of hip-hop. “Rapstar” will be updating its jukebox weekly with about four to five songs, and fans should look for songs to be available about four to six weeks after they hit radio. Here’s a list of the tracks that have been revealed so far:


More tracks will be divulged as “Def Jam Rapstar” edges closer to its October 5th release date. Would-be MCs, start sharpening your freestyles now.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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