Hip-hop entrepreneur and mogul Russell Simmons stopped by the E3 videogame conference in Los Angeles this week to hype the forthcoming rap karaoke game from Konami “Def Jam Rapstar.” He was a featured speaker at Konami’s press conference, where several other games were announced, detailing how Rapstar would monitor the rap karaoke videos uploaded to the game’s social network to keep an eye out for up-and-coming stars. And he promised to “market the shit out of it” when the time comes.

Def Jam Rapstar is produced by Def Jam Enterprises, which is a subsidiary of Simmons’ Rush Communications. Simmons spoke with Billboard about the prospects for the game, its impact on hip-hop culture, and his videogame plans for the future.

Past Def Jam-branded videogames have been focused more on fighting. Why is this the first music-focused game you’ve backed?
It seemed like there was a white space out there. It’s nice to do something that’s necessary and obvious like this. It needed to be done. There’s a lack of visibility of hip-hop in games, I don’t know why. But, we’re here now.

What do you hope Rapstar will achieve, other than sales?
I like the poetry. It can help kids be more expressive and creative. That’s a good exercise for their brains.

How do you feel about the way hip-hop has been represented in games so far?
They say videogames have helped hip-hop. Well now it’s time for the opposite. All these games forget it’s more of a lifestyle. It has more of a cultural impact and influence than they give it credit for.

What’s the most interesting innovation of the game in your mind?
I’m not a videogame dude. I’m a chairman of a company. I leave the details to guys like Kevin [Liles] and others. For me, it was just an obvious idea I felt comfortable with.

Any future videogame plans?
We’re in the videogame business and we have been in the videogame business. We’re not going anywhere.