Suitable for 15+
Some of you may have heard about the internet series “Epic Rap Battles of History”, which is currently running its 4th season. The premise of the show is to put two or more real people (or fictional characters) up against each other in a musical rap duel, and they both get evenly matched lyrics and have similar rap skills – so it’s the viewer’s job to decide who wins! The viewers can also comment who they would like to see go up against each other next, with some hilarious suggestions and pairings you never could have dreamed of. Be warned, though – the language is very strong and there are a lot of adult themes!
The show is written and performed by EpicLloyd and NicePeter, two Youtubers who got together to make this genius creation. Originally, it was supposed to be an improvisational sketch show, meaning they made things up as they went along – hopefully to produce some hilarious results. However, it did not go as planned, so they decided to make a Youtube show instead. The first three rap battles were only shot on a 50 dollar budget! After this, however, viewing figures really took off and the creators were able to work with better budgets. Now, the rap battles are really professional, with awesome animation to emphasise the backdrop/scenery of each rap battle. They’ve also been able to recruit celebrities to feature on the Epic Rap Battles – figures such as Snoop Dogg, Weird Al Yankovic and PewDiePie (the most subscribed person on Youtube) have appearances in some of their videos.
One of the most popular battles is Hitler vs. Vader, and there have been three of these so far. Epic Lloyd plays Hitler, and Nice Peter dresses up in a Darth Vader costume, and the two fight it out for rap supremacy. Epic Lloyd’s accent is always amusing, and sustaining it throughout the rap battle is quite a skill, especially when the battles get fast-paced and intense. There’s a bit of a storyline with the two characters – Hitler is always silenced (in creative and amusing ways) by Darth Vader, and when Darth Vader releases him and brings Hitler back to life, he only does so to beat Hitler again.
As you can see, the battles don’t just cover history, they also cover fictional characters and even people that are still alive – for instance, Obama vs. Romney, which was released during the 2012 US election campaign. They’re always hilarious to watch with your friends, but they also open up interesting historical topics to a new audience – by bringing history together with contemporary figures, it potentially has the effect of increasing interest in history amongst young people.
The battles are not what you would call historically accurate, but if they were they would be quite boring for most of us! Many would complain they make tactless references (especially in the case of Hitler vs. Vader), and this is true, to some extent. That being said, they are still important as they bring tech-savvy teenagers into the realm of history, and they create a fun way of learning about it – Rasputin vs. Stalin brings in other figures in Russian history, right up to the present day, and it gives quite a good, amusing little summary of Cold War politics in Russia. Obviously they shouldn’t be taken at face value, but nonetheless they are very witty.
Here’s a list of my top 5 personal favourite rap battles:
1. Rasputin vs. Stalin
2. Bonnie and Clyde vs. Romeo and Juliet
3. Isaac Newton vs. Bill Nye
4. Thor vs. Zeus
5. Thomas Edison vs. Nikola Tesla
That’s my list complete - what are you waiting for? Take your seats, log on to Youtube and find your own favourite Epic Rap Battles of History.
Image from: http://soundclowns.wordpress.com/2014/10/11/top-10-epic-rap-battles-of-history/