Activision may have trademarked the name DJ Hero, but Genius Products and Genco Media just drew first blood on the next rhythm game battlefront.

Beating the competition to the punch with a formal announcement this week, Genius Products and Genco Media will be partnering with 7 Studios and QD3 to release Scratch: The Ultimate DJ for Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii in spring 2009.

Backed by creative input from legendary hip-hop producer Quincy Jones III – who’s worked with the likes of Tupac Shakur, LL Cool J, and Ice Cube, to name a few – Scratch will feature original recordings from major urban artists and the ability to tweak the songs on the fly. The game will utilize a realistic turntable peripheral, called the Scratch Deck, that combines Rock Band-like rhythmic note input with real-time song manipulation and DJ tricks. The device is being created by Numark, the world’s largest DJ equipment manufacturer.

“With the recent success of music-driven videogames and the dominance of urban culture in the youth market, the potential for Scratch is endless,” said Jones in a prepared statement. “Having spent 20 years as a music producer for artists such as Tupac, LL, and Ice Cube, it is rewarding to work with 7 Studios, Genius and Genco to ensure that there is authenticity in every detail of this game.”

A track list and full feature set for Scratch hasn’t been announced, but the game is slated for release next spring. Don’t be surprised if more DJ rhythm game news sprouts up in the coming months.

Last month, Activision acquired U.K. B-Boy developer FreestyleGames to work on unspecified music games, but it has yet to announce its trademarked DJ Hero or any turntable-related game officially. It’s safe to say gamers can likely expect a burgeoning hip-hop flavored rhythm game face-off to erupt in the near future. Whether it will reach the intensity of the Guitar Hero vs. Rock Band rivalry is hard to say.

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