Top Three Epic Rap Battles Of History (Video)

I am a student of history and a wayfarer on the endless road of the internet.  Often times my journey brings me something that is old and yet refreshingly new.  This is the case when I stumbled upon the youtube channel of Epic Rap Battles Of History.

The premise is basically straightforward, the folks at ERB take two figures from history, be they conquerors, statesmen, military leaders, philosophers, entertainers etc and stage a modern day rap battle between the two.  The production value is very high and the cleverness in which they spew forth historical facts while also burning their opponents is truly epic.  After watching nearly all of the 60+ episodes (ranging from 90 seconds to 5 minutes) I present to you my favorite three with my own takeaways from each.

3.  Martin Luther King Jr vs Gandhi

This is one of the shorter ones at ERB but they pack in a lot of good stuff in 90 seconds and its really a toss up to me as to who won.  In history, both were champions of civil rights, sacrificing everything in their efforts.  As far as the rap battle goes, Gandhi had some sick burns but the way MLK worked in his Nobel Prize and how he has streets named after him almost everywhere was pretty good.  Furthermore, naan violence?  Fantastic.

2. George RR Martin vs JRR Tolkien

I have read both Martin and Tolkien and am a fan of their books.  A quick little foray into history of their back and forth.  Tolkien served in the trenches during World War I most notably in the battle of the Sommes.  By 1918 all but one of his childhood friends were dead.  So the notion of the genre being fantasy and differing from the capriciousness of reality resonates.  Martin on the other hand was a conscientious objector to Vietnam and instead spent his time in Chicago working for legal services and arranging chess tournaments.  No, seriously.  As for the book sales, Tolkien has the right of it. Lord of the Rings is one of the most popular fictional books of all time while a Song of Ice and Fire is WAY down on the list behind 50 shades of Grey and others.  I liked Martin’s rhythm and rhymes but his big claim is that he has a tv show based on his books on HBO.  Tolkien, on top of having the greatest selling fictional book of all time also has the film series of his works which have grossed $3 BILLION.  Toss in Led Zeppelin and this one goes to Tolkien.

1. Winston Churchill vs Theodore Roosevelt

This was actually the most lopsided of the three.  Theodore Roosevelt won hands down, no question, no argument.  If you think Churchill did than you’re a bangers and mash eating limey bastard homer.  Let’s start with Theodore Roosevelt.  With the continuous 1-2 combination that he no doubt fancied during his time boxing for fun, Roosevelt built himself up while knocking Churchill down.  The first stanza alone has Teddy building an engineering marvel in the Panama Canal, leading a volunteer force that he created himself in the Rough Riders fighting in the Spanish-American War, creating the FDA to keep his people from being poisoned.  Then he follows up with burns on Churchill for being hard on the eyes and his military disaster with the Gallipoli campaign when he was Lord of the Admiralty.

History lesson, Churchill pushed for a full offensive to try and retake Constantinople from the Ottomans in 1915.  To call it a disaster would be kind.  190,000 of the 489,000 allied troops were killed in the year long attempt.

Teddy continues pouring it on concerning Churchill’s legendary drinking habits.

Churchill’s response was weak.  Talking about Roosevelt’s parents dying young.  Then trying to discount Teddy by attempting to diminish the national parks he protected.  Then Churchill praises himself for chain-smoking cigars and brings up Roosevelt’s asthma…the same asthma Teddy overcame with his “American muscles.”

Then let’s discuss the “Rhyme Ministers actual lyrics”.  They’re pathetic.

I’ll Fight you on the beaches.

I’ll fight you on the beats, yes

any way you want to fight 

I’ll fight ya and I’ll beat ya, see? 

That’s just hard to listen to.

Teddy’s retort is on point, comparing his parents to Churchill’s then slamming him over WWII.  Churchill responds by bringing up more awesome stuff about Teddy, like how good he is that he’s like an overgrown boy scout or how he has his face on Mt Rushmore.

Its in the final flourish that Churchill truly loses.  If your closing burn is that a bullet to the chest didn’t stop your opponent…you’ve all ready lost.

A bullet can’t stop the bull moose.  TR’s will give WC the full deuce. 

These are just my favorite three and I hope you enjoyed them as well.  The guys over at ERB are really talented, though some are better than others especially when they let their modern political bias bleed in but its a fun distraction for a bit and you can learn a little about history while listening to some beats.


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