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Every once in a while, somebody on YouTube manages to come up with an amazing idea that just seems so simple in hindsight. It’s even better when the people behind that idea are talented and know how to have fun. Meet Nice Peter and EpicLLOYD, the two rappers who created Epic Rap Battles of History.
Epic Rap Battles of History was born in 2010 when Nice Peter and EpicLLOYD performed an improvised show in Los Angeles. They took up the personalities of different characters–suggested by the audience–and spat free-styled lines at each other. The result was hilarious, and the rest is history.
Their videos generate approximately 22 million views every month. Staggering numbers, if you ask me. If you’ve never listened to any of these battles, you’re missing out. Here are 5 of the best-written and funniest battles that they’ve put out so far.
Warning: The language in these videos is Not Safe For Work! The characters utter swear words liberally and some of the verbal content is unsuitable for children. Do not watch if this offends you.
#5: Elvis Presley vs. Michael Jackson
Two pop culture sensations are put head to head in this battle and, as expected, a bunch of references from the lyrics of both Presley and Jackson are thrown around. With lines referencing “Beat It,” “Smooth Criminal,” and “Blue Suede Shoes,” there’s only one proper word for this battle: fun.
The rappers did well with this one. Their imitations of Jackson and Presley are spot on and that just makes the whole thing transcendent. Some of the punchlines fall flat, but this is still a must-see video because of the rest.
Who won? Close call, but I’d go with Michael Jackson.
#4: Albert Einstein vs. Stephen Hawking
Two of the greatest minds to have graced human history come together in this battle of wits. Fortunately for us all, their delivery does not disappoint. Strange to see someone like Einstein rapping, but he sure rips it up.
I laughed when I first saw this video. I laughed a lot. With lines referencing troll dolls and the amalgamation of “ugly particles,” there’s a lot of fun to be had. The flow of the rapping is surprisingly good here, considering one man is German and the other a computer. And how can I forget the auto-tune? Hilarious!
Who won? Albert Einstein by a mile.
#3: Gandalf vs. Dumbledore
Watch out, guys! You’ll want to be careful where you tread when two of the world’s most powerful wizards come knocking heads. Gandalf the White vs. Headmaster Dumbledore is a battle that you won’t want to be in the middle of, but watching it will be entertaining for sure.
By using quotes directly from Lord of the Rings (“You shall not pass!” and “Do not take me for a conjuror of cheap tricks!”) and taking potshots at Dumbledore’s character (closet homosexuality and his fate in the Harry Potter series), the two rappers have written a surprisingly relevant and hilarious showdown.
Who won? It was close but I think Dumbledore took this one. His punchlines and his flow were a step above Gandalf.
#2: Ben Franklin vs. Billy Mays
As someone whose hometown is Philadelphia, I just love this one. I’m not sure how Ben Franklin and Billy Mays are related, but this combination sure made for an entertaining battle. Who can hear the “I’m mint, I’m money, I’m an educated gentleman” line and not walk away thinking that these guys have impressive lyrical talent?
The surprise at the end of this battle almost elevated this battle to the #1 spot, but it wasn’t enough to beat the awesomeness of the next video. Even a Founding Father can’t lay his hands on the immortal Mr. Rogers.
Who won? Extremely tough call but Ben Franklin takes it here.
#1: Mr. T vs. Mr. Rogers
The battle of the two Misters. It’s hard to see calm Mr. Rogers entering into a verbal spar with the aggressive Mr. T, but he holds his ground well. Some would say he even stomps all over the gold-chained A-team member.
With references to Mr. T’s roles as B.A. Baracus (The A-Team) and Clubber Lang (Rocky III), this battle goes down well. They even poke fun at Mr. Rogers’s many sweaters and penny loafers, as well as all of his imaginary friends in the land of make believe. This video was a hilarious blast from the past.
Who won? Mr. Rogers by a landslide. Sorry, Mr. T.
What’d you think? The Epic Rap Battles of History YouTube channel has a bunch more videos. They weren’t good enough to make it into a Top 5 list, but they’re still pretty darn funny and entertaining – even seen Beethoven rap against Justin Bieber or Dr. Seuss against Shakespeare?
The battles are sorted by season. The first season has 13 battles and the second season currently has 6, though they’re still producing them at a rate of one every month or so.
Let us know in the comments what you think of them and what your favourite one is.