Def Jam Rapstar's Online 'Data Porn' Rolls DeepS

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of rap game Def Jam Rapstar is the one I may never be brave enough to use—it's incredibly deep community, a massively connected online feature that's stuffed with "data porn."

Def Jam and 4mm Games reps showed off much of Rapstar's deep and broad community side at E3 2010. It's where players will go, prior to and after freestyling to original beats or rapping over licensed tracks, to see how well they compare against the global competition.

Players (and Def Jam talent scouts, natch) can keep an eye on the cream of the Rapstar crop here, watching their videos, issuing them challenges and tracking their progress.

Rapstar's online interface, which is accessed from a web browser, lets budding rappers track their level of Rapstar "fame"—including their legions of followers and fans—with the best graphs hip hop may have ever seen, with a smartly designed, Steam-like HUD. Players can also track their "respect" levels, gained by accepting invitations to battle other rappers.

There's also beef.

Def Jam Rapstar's Online 'Data Porn' Rolls DeepS

Def Jam Rapstar community members can form crews with other players and establish rivalries with their online enemies who they regularly battle. Modeling real world rap beef, if a player is kicked out of a crew, he or she instantly has a rivalry against the remaining crew members.

Players can initiate battles, head-to-head rapping competitions, via Rapstar's online interface. Those gauntlet throwdowns can be distributed via social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, an oft-forgotten resource.

Watching Def Jam Rapstar raps cruise through the online features of the game, initiating battles and tracking one's stats looked super fast, an efficient way to take your street corner rap-offs to the 'net.

I may be too untalented and too shy to utilize Def Jam Rapstar's community features, but the game may also be a helpful instructional tool. The game's career mode starts players off with some of the easier tracks in the game, songs with lower beats per minute, then scales up the difficulty. Career mode will unlock licensed tracks and items players will want to use in the game's Freestyle mode, including Def Jam Rapstar exclusive beats, audio effects for track-making and video effects for clips filmed with the Xbox Live Vision camera or PlayStation Eye.

Def Jam Rapstar reps say that only about 10% of the game's content is locked down. They also weren't able to talk about their plans for Xbox 360's Kinect camera, but it sounded like something may be in the works.

Most attractive to rappers with dreams of creating their own tracks and not just mimicking others are the custom beats provided by real world producers. 4mm Games and Konami have announced that Just Blaze and DJ Premier will be two of the nine producers contributing beats to the game. We got to listen to one of Just Blaze's contributions, which sounded... fresh? Dope? Look, I don't know the lingo! It had a good beat and you could dance to it.

Track recording, editing and tweaking looked very friendly, the console version of a mini studio that could be a powerful tool in the right hands. Combined with the community tools, we could have a lot of improved rappers and a deep pool of talent from Def Jam to pluck from later this year.

Def Jam Rapstar will be coming to the Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, later this year. It launches in North America first on October 5, then in Europe (with localized content) on November 2.