Hip-Hop Week | Def Jam Rapstar and My Hype Man Dreams


Hip-Hop Week continues on In Third Person! From Flava Flav to Migos, the hype man is an underrated role in a rapper’s crew. This is the story of how I got to live out my hype man dreams.


Like normal fans of hip-hop music, I’ve had dreams of being a rapper, producer, DJ, and breakdancer. But there’s another occupation in the world of hip-hop that I’ve always wanted to be that weirds people out every time I share this with them.

I’ve always wanted to be a hype man.

I’ve wanted to be the Flava Flav yelling, “********** you and John Wayne!”. Or in 90s terms, I wanted to be Puff Daddy, standing behind the Notorious B.I.G., punctuating his lines with chants of, “Whoo!” or, “Uh huh, yeah.” Or in modern times, I wanted to be one of the guys in Migos screaming, “Skrrt!”. My fascination with this role manifests itself in the car every time I drive. Sometimes, instead of singing or rapping along to a song, I’ll just ad lib over it. Even for songs that don’t make sense, I’ll do it. That scene in Carpool Karaoke where Migos is ad libbing over “Sweet Caroline”? That’s been my life for years, and I apologize to my wife for subjecting her to this every day.

A few years ago, during a night in with friends, I got to share my hype man talents to the world thanks to Def Jam Rapstar.

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Is Def Jam Rapstar Hip-Hop’s First Great Music Game?

Hip-hop has historically gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to quality music games. While rock, pop and dance have been adequately served, hip-hop fans got DJ Hero (which was half not hip-hop), the obligatory Beastie Boys song in the rock games and Get On Da Mic (which was awful).

Def Jam Rapstar aims to finally bring gamers a good rap video game. I don’t know enough about the gameplay or feature set to talk intelligently about it, but so far it appears as though they’ve got the most important part right: the soundtrack.

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