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Dr. Dre partners with Mafia Wars to sell 'Kush'

Jo87dunc Plans to whet our appetites for the decade's most anticipated rap album have gotten a Face(book) lift lately, thanks to Dr. Dre's recent partnership with Mafia Wars.

Zynga, the game's San Francisco-based developer, announced Friday that Dre's new single,  "Kush," and other game experiences inspired by the legendary West Coast hip-hop producer would be featured in the popular social game, playable through Facebook, the iPad and the iPhone.

The gritty, single-player crime adventure now features a "Hustlin' Wit' Dre" portion -- allowing players to pick up virtual goods such as headphones, weapons and a vintage car. Of course, the game also features a stream of "Kush" (featuring Snoop Dogg and Akon) off the long-awaited "Detox" album slated for early 2011. There's even a link within the game to buy the single on iTunes. Whether you're busting caps, slapping hookers or stealing cars, Dre's music, persona and sales pitch are now ever-present.

But that's not all. While absorbed in your quest to kill, rob and kill some more, you'll also be able to stream the eye-popping "Kush" music video and become eligible for a chance to win a signed pair of Beats by Dre headphones and a signed copy of "Detox" when it finally comes out.

If nothing else, the partnership -- a first for Zynga -- illustrates the power of social games as a new marketing platform. The company says the game draws 19 million active users a month on Facebook and iPhone. Considering that cuter, homicide-free Zynga games such as FarmVille are also beloved on the interwebs, we can only imagine which artists will be standing in line to dig some bona-fide digital pay dirt if all goes well in Dre-inspired Mafia land.

-- Nate Jackson

Photo: Dr. Dre shot in 2007. Credit: Kirk McCoy / Los Angeles Times

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