At its best, Epic Rap Battles of History combines great tracks, fantastic and clever lyrics, and some fine acting and costumes to create an addictive “must watch again” video.
The main men, Epic Loyd and Nice Peter, together with the greatest comedy rap lyric writer of all time- Zach Sherwin, created a juggernaut fully worth of the praise and the millions of views.
Here are my picks for the best battles ever made.
12. Shaka Zulu Vs. Julius Caesar
Why it’s great: It’s brawn against brains in this one. Brawn against extremely sinister brain. Nice Peter is a fantastic actor, and I think he is overdue for a Hollywood call-up.
While Shaka Zulu is far too nice (he smiles at the end of his first part), Caesar is all calculating and menacing military leader. This a marvelous performance.
Who won: Caesar, and even Shaka knows this.
“Because there’s no use in murdering you and your heathen
You can grow my wheat for me, after you’re beaten”
Caesar’s last line, echoing what happened to Rome’s former rivals, Carthage and Egypt.
11. Stephen King Vs. Edgar Allan Poe
Why it’s great: Zach Sherwin makes a fantastic Stephen King, referencing his many, many books in a hilarious tone.
Who won: The King.
“Masque of the Red Death? Barely blood curdling
Pit and the Pendulum? Not even unnerving.
Perving on your first cousin when she’s thirteen years old? Now that’s disturbing!”
I love Poe, but his stories have not stood the test of time when it comes to being scary.
10. Fredrick Douglass Vs. Thomas Jefferson
Why it’s great: Frederick Douglass gives a “straight out of Compton” intro and never lets up. It’s a unique battle, as Jefferson’s reactions change from wariness to discomfort and shame. I don’t necessarily agree with the conclusion- Jefferson was a man of his times, after all, but it’s still powerful stuff.
Who won: It stopped being a contest after the first part. An understanding was reached.
“You got a self evident truth of your own
You let freedom ring but never picked up the phone”
9. Ash Ketchum Vs. Charles Darwin
Why it’s great: Two characters famous for going on journeys to collect exotic animals- what a brilliant idea. These opposites don’t attract, but they make for an interesting battle.
Who won: Darwin, with that last verse.
“And it was hard losing my daughters and their brother
As hard as the wood that Oak gave your mother”
Combined with the look on Darwin’s face, it’s perfection.
8. Einstein Vs. Stephen Hawking
Why it’s great: two of the greatest geniuses in the history of physics, Einstein gets some mean lines and hawking has a mean beat.
Who won: Draw.
Best part: Hawking’s smile/triumphant face when he utters these immortal lines
“There are ten million million million million million million particles in the universe that we can observe
Your mama took the ugly ones and put them into one nerd”
7. Gandhi Vs. Martin Luther King Jr.
Why it’s great: Short but sweet, the 20th century’s most non-violent leaders tear into each other’s weaknesses. What’s not to like?
Who won: Gandhi.
“I am passively resisting the fact that you suck
I am celibate because I don’t give a fuck”
6. Barack Obama Vs. Mitt Romney
Why it’s great: The Obama imitation is fantastic. But this battle belongs to Abe Lincoln and his giant eagle. Never has a rapper been this intense. Every word is delivered with absolute conviction.
Who won: Honest Abe.
“You, I want to like you
Don’t talk about change, just do it!
I fought for what was on my brain until a bullet went through it!!!”
One of the best lines in the history of rap and history.
5. Goku Vs. Superman
Why it’s great:You wouldn’t think anyone would have a chance against Superman.
But, by the time the rap battle is finished, the smart money would be on Goku.
He is like that mean and crazy guy no one wants to mess with
Who won: Goku
“Don’t lecture me about fights, you caped coward!
You got your ass beat by a bat with no powers!
There’s only one way that this battle’s gonna end:
One more Superman who’s never gonna walk again!”
RIP Christopher Reeve
4 Artists Vs. TMNT
Why it’s great: Even though the turtles suck, the renaissance artists’ part has a fantastic beat and incredible “mic” transfers.
Who won: The Italians
Best part: Raphael passes it up to his man on the ceiling.
“Yo, Raphael, and I came to flow
Deemed dope by the Pope and I boned til I croaked
I’m an emcee Shredder but I get the feeling
I should pass it up to my man on the ceiling!
Oh, Michelangelo, and I’m a giant!
I made David, but I’ll slay you like Goliath!
I’m a rap God, and you can’t quite touch me!
This battle’s your Last Judgement, trust me!”
3. Eastern Philosophers Vs. Western Philosophers
Why it’s great: After a soccer duel with Monty Python, Nietzsche and Socrates team up with Voltaire to face the beasts from the East. Rarely have lowbrow and highbrow merged so seamlessly.
Who won: The Western philosophers, especially Nietzsche.
Best parts: Nietzsche’s first part, Nietzsche’s face when his mustache is criticized, Nietzsche’s second part. Did I mention Nice Peter is amazing?
“You need to take control of the life you’re given!
They call me Übermensch ’cause I’m so driven!”
“‘Cause I’m N-I-E-T-Z-S-C-H-E,
And I’ll end any mother fucker like my name in a spelling bee!”
2. Sir Isaac Newton Vs. Bill Nye
Why it’s great: Bill Nye puts up one hell of a fight, considering his status.
Also, Newton delivers the best verse in the history of the battles.
Who won: Newton, and not even Tyson can change that.
Best part: This beauty, delivered bya pissed off Sir Isaac Newton, captures his brilliance and his well-documented arrogance.
“I accelerated the mind of mankind to a higher plane of understanding, and
I can calculate the weight and the size and the shape of the shadow of the mind you’re standing in!”
- Alexander the Great Vs. Ivan the Terrible
Why it’s great: Five characters, all with brilliant and very different parts. Ivan is the best “character” in the history of the battles, and a great and underrated rapper. Alexander delivers a fast and unbeatable rap. Frederick the Great’s flute intro will have you chanting “old Fritz” uncontrollably, plus his dance moves are compelling. Pompey gets Dickapitated. Catherine the Great is majestic.
Easily my favorite battle.
Who won: You did, by watching this.
Best part: The whole thing.