We also really love the Youtube series Epic Rap Battles of History by “Nice” Peter Shukoff and “Epic” Lloyd Ahlquist. After every new video is released we spend an hour debating it, picking apart every line for subtle references and debating the ultimate question: Who Won? As you can imagine, we are more than a little pleased that you voted for this Top 10.
Oh, and big warning on the offensive language front. You have been warned!
10) Marilyn Monroe vs. Cleopatra
Our list opens with a bitching fest (warned you about the language). Legendary Egyptian queen Cleopatra is played by comedian Angela Trimbur, and the iconic actress is played by Kimmy Gatewood of the Apple Sisters, 1940’s style parody artists. So most of the content of this battle are about the men the two women have indiscriminately slept with, and considering that both women were most noted for their beauty, there’s plenty of rich content to be had.
Monroe vs. Cleo is full of mean barbs and insults, a beat that combines ’40s swing and a little Ancient Egyptian style, and a few subtle references that many may not notice. “You’ll sleep with any ugly dude who says he likes it hot” (Some like it hot – Marilyn Monroe 1959). And the “Seven Year Itch”? A reference to the crabs at the base of the monuments known collectively as Cleopatra’s Needle.
9) Santa vs. Moses
This scores low on our list but still makes it into our Top 10 because this might be the first major star to have appeared on an Epic Rap Battle.
Moses is played by none other than Snoop Lion, who takes the direction of Moses a little differently than how most would. With lines like “When I was high upon the mountains, god revealed the truths of the Earth but he never mentioned a fat-assed Papa Smurf“, you can tell this Moses is quite different.
Also, we have to give Santa credit for taking so much abuse from Moses in this one. At least he has his slaves (Sorry, Snoop Moses made me say it) magical workers to back him up.
8) Donald Trump vs. Ebineezer Scrooge
So how does this Christmas special fare so much better than a previous Christmas special with Santa vs Moses? This one is probably one of the very first “big” Epic Rap Battles to have been released. This one might even take some time to analyse!
First of all we have Donald Trump who gives out lines like “I’m like the star on a Christmas tree, you’re like the stump. I’m not known for my heart but you’re still getting trumped!” Great lines which paint the picture of this being the tale of A Christmas Carol and gives the importance of the situation. Whilst I could list a bit that each rapper says, I felt that the amount of rappers in this one (it being one of the larger rap battles) and the fact it followed the story so well it deserved a place in our list.
7) TMNT vs. Renaissance Men
Peter and Lloyd wrapped season 3 with their most guest-filled rap ever! Ian and Anthony of Smosh, and “internetainers” Rhett and Link play Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Rafael, while their hosts play the half-shelled counterparts (although Epic Lloyd was the only one in the suits). There was a lot to squeeze into a short slice of time, and a lot of extra material that may have gone unused, but a little too much of the material was TMNT based for it to go any higher on the list.
The foot reference was quality, but my favourite line has to be “I’m a rap god and you can’t quite touch me!” Which is a subtle reference to Michelangelo’s major piece from the Sistine Chapel, of man and god reaching for each other but never quite making contact. Clever guys. Very clever.
6) Martin Luther King vs. Ghandi,,
I love this one simply because it’s about 2 peace lovers going at it in a very offensive verbal war. Seriously, these two just go right at it and the actors Key and Peele do the characters such comedic justice that it’s one of my favourite rap battles.
With lines which constantly ramp each of them up to be the more peaceful of the two and whilst constantly insulting one another
5) Mitt Romney vs. Barrak Obama
The only reason this one didn’t get higher than fifth place is because it was important at the time of its release, but since that time is over and since it was quite a recent event, it doesn’t really constitute as a great “history” piece. Nevertheless it’s an event that happened which the ERB guys have covered, which had a great bit of banter back and forth.
Until the points where the two of them are literally saying “Oh yeah well you’re stupid”. Thankfully, to get us out of the mess of politicians calling one another names, Abraham Lincoln comes crashing down to interrupt the rap battle by the power invested in him by a giant bald bird. Abe gives them a verbal thrashing before giving them a physical slapping before his eagle grabs him and starts flapping. So the winner of this one was Abraham Lincoln. Huh…
4) Thomas Edison vs. Nikola Tesla
This is easily the most educational ERB to date.
Before this ERB came out, most people knew the name Nikola Tesla but probably couldn’t tell you who he was or what he did. They also wouldn’t have been able to tell you that without him, the power of wireless transmission might not be possible. The Tesla in this rap seems to use it as a venting ground of “but you held me and my ideas back, making money off my inventions.”
Of course as Edison points out in this one – Whilst Tesla did the work, who was the one to make it all famous? Edison. Do I respect thieves? Nope, but a shrewd businessman like Edison does need to be respected in as much as without either of these two, well… We’d have “no lights, no cameras, no sound, see?!”. The only reason we didn’t put this rap as high as it might have been able to go is because the rap itself is actually quite juddery, as per the characters. It’s a good rap, but it is kind of broken. A real shocking shame, but this is still a charged rap filled with lots of electric lines.
3) George Washington vs. William Wallace
Kudos to Epic Lloyd on his Scottish accent, and yeah, well done Pete for rapping through those teeth. These two commanders only really share their hatred for the English every other difference is swung like a weapon in one of the most badass raps in the whole series. Keep your ears peeled for the sound of rumbling gunfire in the percussion if you can stop laughing at the stereotypical “I’ll knock you the fuck out mate!”
Lots of cool lines to choose from. Washington’s “stone face” at Mt Rushmore, the rallying cry “Alba gu brath” (Scotland forever) of the free Scotsmen, oh and plenty of dick jokes besides. If you haven’t picked it up already, Washington was sterile, and Wallace had his Willy “freed.”
2) Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs
This is it, this is the battle we’ve all been waiting for: PC vs Mac!
But you know things are really going down when these two start talking about the merits of a PC over Mac followed by retorts of Mac over PC. But when Steve Jobs turns around and says the line “Let’s talk about doctors, I’ve see a few cause I’ve got a PC but it wasn’t from you”, you know this rap went from a slapping contest (With a literal pun of: “iPhone, iPad, iPwn, iSmack”) to a full blown bitter subject. That PC that Steve Jobs referred to here was Pancreatic Cancer. Ouch.
When all seems like it’s going to be over with Bill Gates literally losing his damned mind, we get interrupted by none other than HAL-5000 sporting a Linux Operating System. So it looks like another side to the story has now opened up: PC vs Mac vs Linux. Oh dear, perhaps we tech lovers will never know the answer.
1) Steven King vs. Edgar Allen Poe
When this was released it shot to the top of our favourites list intantly. Watsky‘s Poe was excellent of course, his fame stems from his incredible speed and coherence while rapping, and Zach Sherwin is a fantastic wordsmith, but what puts Poe vs. King right at the top of this week’s Top 10? The ERB boys ask the question every video, and just for once we couldn’t answer, no matter how long we argued.
So many book titles weaved together with facts about the authors lives to make the best, and most deserving of the title “Epic” rap battles. “Now watch the Castle Rock?” Castle Rock is a fictional town like Innsmouth, used by King in many of his works. “Locked in a cave?” Never literally, although that is near enough the plot of The Cask of Amontillado.
With so many amazing videos to choose from we struggled hard and cut a lot of amazing work from our Top 10, and some of the best work isn’t even part of the series! Their legacy is just too unstoppable to be restrained. Take a look at some of the ERB extras that we loved too much to leave out:
ERB of Manliness – Rhett and Link
Youtube favourites Rhett and Link are occasional guests on Peter and Lloyd’s series, but they’ve dabbled in the Epic Rap Battle business themselves. Of the ones they’ve done I for one think that the Epic Rap Battle of Manliness is the best: two guys face off over how manly they are to utterly ridiculous proportions. Things get violent when wives are thrown into the mix, cut short by a couple of friendly passers-by at 3:05. You may recognize them. Or maybe not when they’re out of costume.
Rhett and Link are fantastic entertainers and musicians and have even made the jump to television. It’s little wonder these giants of the Youtube community have popped up in this huge channel. Check out their work here, and there daily show Good Mythical Morning here.
What’s Up? Bitcheeeess! Or 6 Million Subscribers
When the ERB channel reached the staggering subscriber total of six million, no one was more overjoyed than former president Theodor “Teddy” Roosevelt, who collaborated with the Youtubers Schmoyoho (accent on the “yo”) famous for turning news articles and viral videos into insanely catching music.
The song features Charles Darwin, the ERB announcer, and Teddy himself in fine singing voice. As well as being a fantastic song about doing what you makes you happy no matter what, it’s also a huge thanks to six million people and a huge celebration that they deserve richly.
Do you agree with our placements? What’s your favourite Epic Rap Battle of History? What Top 10 would you like to see next? Or to put all of this another way