It's not every day that you see actors portraying Darth Vader and Adolf Hitler battle it out, in rhyming form. On YouTube, however, it has now happened twice.
Nice Peter (Peter Alexis Shukoff) and EpicLLOYD (Lloyd Ahlquist) have been delivering these "Epic Rap Battles of History" for more than a year now on YouTube, and the start of their new "season" of rap battles sees a rematch between Vader and Hitler, the first of which received well over 45 million views. (Warning: All these videos include strong language that might be offensive to some viewers). Thus far, Nice Peter and "Epic Rap Battles' " YouTube accounts have a grand total of 360 million page views.
The rematch, with its homage to "Return of the Jedi" intro, already has more than 7 million views. (Again, discretion is advised on these videos, as some may find the humor or language offensive).
These videos are a peek into the epic good-and-evil dynamic that is explored in many favorite fan franchises, not to mention that they poke fun at historical figures, something history geeks enjoy. In some cases, these kinds of exercises (not unlike Spike's "Deadliest Warrior" series,) might also be seen as another way to look at, and get a sense of comfort about, world history.
The idea for the videos happened when Peter, who had found himself with a growing audience on YouTube, and LLOYD, who had been performing a rap show, decided to combine their talents to have historical figures battle it out.
"We free-styled one in my bedroom which was our studio at the time, and I thought this could be a really cool video," said Peter.
Here is more of CNN Geek Out's interview with the pair.
CNN Geek Out: What is it that was inherently funny or intriguing to you when you first thought of historical rap battles?
EpicLLOYD: We've always liked rap and free-styling. Battle rap is something that is inherently engaging and funny because it's based on punch lines about the other person. While battling is confrontational, most times the people battling are doing so just for the sake of the rapping or the show. We thought that the beefs between classic characters would be really funny to hear because you could represent both sides and really dig into an actual point of view that has had some impact on history. It was sort of the best of both worlds, taking what is already awesome about battle rapping and then heightening it with an added context.
CNN Geek Out: So you take requests?
LLOYD: All the time.
Peter: Especially with the early ones – we formed this whole thing with the audience. It was the audience who suggested John Lennon versus Bill O’Reilly. That set the tone as it being anyone throughout history, as long as they have something to argue about. The suggestion of Darth Vader vs. Adolf Hitler, our first runaway hit, really came from the audience.
CNN Geek Out: What's been your weirdest request?
LLOYD: There’s crazy ones all the time.
Peter: We get about 200,000 comments on a rap battle. I can’t put my finger on why we get so many requests, but I think they genuinely feel that they’re part of the creative process, which is true. We have to keep making these and want to keep challenging ourselves. We look through the comments every day. We wonder who could battle Clint Eastwood, and we see a suggestion in the comments. Oh I never thought of that! Thank you, 12-year-old kid in Montana!
And people get confused sometimes as to what makes a figure historical.
LLOYD: Mini-Me vs. the Lollipop Guild, I saw one time. I thought that was pretty funny.
CNN Geek Out: Do you strive to pair up real and fictional figures?
LLOYD: We try to keep it as open as possible. We’ve done matchups between two real people, and we’ve done matchups between two fictional characters, like Dumbledore and Gandalf. As long as they’re impactful characters, we always gotta be open.
CNN Geek Out: Do you think there is a natural curiosity that causes people to have these sorts of debates about people from different pop culture franchises or in history?
LLOYD: I think it's less about having a curiosity between real and fictional characters, but more about people just naturally grouping things together. Once our fan base understood the sort of "rules to our game", it was easy for them to come up with matchups. People are pretty imaginative, especially young people. They didn't edit themselves by sticking to only nonfictional characters because that would have been less fun.
Peter: We all play little imaginary games like that. Most couples I know have a list of "famous people we could sleep with." I spent a lot of time at school lunchroom tables debating who would win imaginary fights: Han Solo or Muhammad Ali? Bruce Willis or Captain Hook? We as animals are drawn to conflict, we as refined animals are drawn to conflicts that use more than just fists. We as YouTube junkie new-media animals are drawn to "Epic Rap Battles."
CNN Geek Out: Do you consider yourselves sci-fi or history geeks?
Peter: If the rap battle requires it. Neither of us knew much about physics going into the Hawking/Einstein battle. We knew it was a cool pairing, a cool matchup that appeals to a section of the Internet who appreciate science and mathematics. We dove into it as much as we could, found out about Einstein and talked to people about Stephen Hawking. If we’re not fans of something before we start writing a rap battle, we’ll become fans of it to facilitate that. We had a crash course on "Star Trek."
CNN Geek Out: What can we expect with the new season of videos?
Peter: We’re gonna explore new stuff. We’re gonna use the Mario Brothers (vs. the Wright Brothers). Our first two on two. We’re just gonna keep making the kind of things we like to make. I made a pledge to my father to use a Russian character. That will have to happen. There’s a lot of really good rappers from Russian history.
I've been watching these since right about when the first Hitler vs. Vader. These are great! WIsh I had thought of it. People need to lighten up and have a little fun. That's all this is– fun!
CNN is starting to try a bit hard on this whole Geek appeal thing. Does this mean Hitler is now OK to wear as a Halloween costume?
To the people saying this is old, Nice Peter released this video like a week ago.
This is the first vid of the second season of ERB.
Wrong Brah. This original battle was done MONTHS ago. This new video is the rematch. Pay attention.
Too much foul language in the video. It would be better without all the profanity. I think overuse of profanity makes a talented artist look like a stupid moron. Wash your mouths out with soap, then remake the video. Would you kiss your momma with that filthy mouth? Would you want your kids to sing these trashy lyrics at school or in church?
While I don't personally agree with your stances on profanity, I can understand them. The nature of Battle Rapping does necessitate some foul language. The ERB guys have other battle raps that aren't quite as profanity-laced as the ones linked (Mr. T vs Mr. Rogers, Shakespeare vs. Seuss, Beiber vs. Beetoven, etc). If you want to see how battle-rapping happens without cussing, look at the Easter Bunny vs. Ghengis Khan video... most ERB fans I know prefer to forget that one.
The f word is christian puritan created please tell me that's not your only complaint. And for all those about to start slamming me go look up the origin of the word first it means forgoing unlawful carnal knowledge and christian puritans created it as a shortened version of forgoing unlawful carnal knowledge when prosecuting adulterers.
Hey guys, take it easy.
To the fans, this is great exposure for them. Hopefully, this will catapult them to bigger and better things (like bigger and better rap battles ^-^). For the haters, don't you have anything better to do?
My ERB suggestion: CNN vs. Internet posters
Everyone is forgetting the ABSOLUTE Best! Kim Jon Il vs. Hulk Hogan with a special guest rapper. That is a masterpiece!
Ooohh Yeahhh!!! The Macho Man tag team with Hulk Hogan vs Kim Jong Il is the absolute best battle. Mr T. vs Mr Rogers is another favorite.
This just in.... CNN has discovered something called the internet....
EPIC OLD NEWS OF HISTORY
(C)Rap tunes (it's not music)... anyone who deals with or likes it can suck my left one. It's not even music at all. Anyone out there can talk fast, and rhyming isn't too difficult either. Rap this one!
Really because for them it is music isn't something that everyone likes that's the reason for 291 genres. Just because you don't have the skill or the ability to do it does not classify it as not music get a grip and go milk your cows redneck.
rapping isn't easy. making a (good) beat isn't easy. you do need to have some sort of musicality to be able to make a beat and you have to have rhythm to rap. go listen to your wife beating country music. just a side note, country music listeners have a higher fatality rate because, since it tells the truth, it's depressing and makes people want to kill themselves (fact from a poll i read a few years ago). rap music was second on the list only because, given the nature of it, people are being killed over it which is the only thing it's ever been associated with because white america (meaning old white people, and i'm a 23 year old rapping, beat making, white male) doesn't like anything it hasn't created itself. if it weren't the same old cranky white men in congress year after year something might actually get done.
economynews247 on April 15, 2011 Now thats a great video for a Home Business Video, I like that you have focused on the real reosans that motivate us all. We can all learn from that. Its not about the money its about what you can do in your and others lives. Thanks for sharing, obviously a true leader, mentor and inspiration to us all. Would like to see more of you home business videos, BTW this is a must view video for those staring out in home business. If you want to know more about the new economy follow my channel.
How is this news, at all? This is REALLY old.
"All these videos include strong language that might be offensive to some viewers"
thats quite the understatement!
LOL @ white people that are too white to understand what rap music consists of. Please, crawl back into your mothers uterus.
No this story is not news, it's not meant to be news, hence why it is in the "Geek Out" section of CNN. Much like stories about cookies and travel are in the Food and Travel Sections, respectively. It is merely designed to highlight a different area of the world of the interwebs. For those people who want to complain about what CNN posts, click that little red X in the upper right hand corner of your screen and leave the normal rational people who dont turn everything into a capital case alone.
This is seriously on CNN's front page?
A couple days before Christmas and this is the best news they can come up with. This has no business on CNN. What a joke and so sad they have to get down to a Jerry Springer mentality to boost their hits. Who ever had this idea should be fired along with the FedEx driver.
I'm sorry that everything cannot be gumdrops, ponies and rainbow farts. Some folks like myself actually like some edgier, adult-oriented material. Perhaps you would be better off buying yourself a plastic bubble and have nothing but episodes of Donna Reed and the Cosby Show running on your television in a constant loop.
The vid is really, really juvenile. Can't think of any better compliment than that.
Nice Peter has some awesome content on his youtube channels. He has found a way to make his art a commercial success and is one of a few that has utilized YouTube to it's full power and it's turned him into a star! I love it and hope that NicePeter and EpicLloyd continue this and make a ton of money for it. Keep up the entertainment guys!
When did Darth Vader become a historical figure?
When he became dark lord of the sith...duh :0
When Star Wars became a cult classic and comic book geeks started taking over the world so about 25 years ago where have you been? Us nerds are here to stay and there is nothing you lames can do or say to make it stop.
no jay joseph theyre not out of news stories-they just wont report actual news such as the ultraliberal left wing democrats and the occupy protesterqs screwing up america and destroying the economy.
Bwahahahahaha In case you haven't noticed, neither party is getting what they want in government. But please, enlighten us on exactly who these ultra liberals are (and if you think Barack Obama is one, you have no idea what the term means), and tell us, which law/budget/policy did they pass and how is it ruining America? Oh and while you're at it, please tell us how protesters are ruining the country, then kindly explain how Tea Party protesters were not doing the exact same thing. Moron.
I hate Rap. Hate it more than almost anything on the planet. But I would like to see a Rap Battle between... Ummm... No, it actually turns out I just hate rap. Nevermind.
Thanks for commenting. Your thoughts are appreciated the world over and we are all smarter for having read them.
it's ok to hate rap I hate country music . So fair is fair right.
OLD NEWS IS OLD.
The last line – "There’s a lot of really good rappers from Russian history." HA ha ha ha ha. That was funnier than any of their Epic Rap Battles that i've seen so far.
These epic rap battle videos are hilarious. But they have been around a long, long time. What's the matter CNN? Did the world run out of news?
It's about time someone noticed Nice Peter.
I'll second that! And EpicLloyd too! Epic Rap Battles of History are fantastic, and so is a lot of their other stuff. Nice Peter's "Picture Songs" are great, and EpicLloyd's new series "Dis Raps for Hire" has been great so far too! These guys are hands down the best Internet comedians out there, and even though they're rapping for humor there's no denying they both have some serious rhyming skills too!
Wow...this is very old...
my comment for a Vader Hitler rematch appears at the end of this one, haha these battles are funny as hell
How old is this? I saw this over a week ago! Come on CNN catch up
it was posted two weeks ago
Why does vader look like he has a small head and huge crotch?
Because he is black
You cannot control your obsession Blacks.
meant you cannot control your obsession with Blacks!
omg... some people have WAY too much time on their hands. LOL
apparently you have too much time since you took the time to comment
Yeah you can install a blu-ray drive and play blu-rays, I got the Boxee Box it's relaly great, but it's for my living room and I want a cheaper and still good media player that does pretty much the same thing as Boxee, but for my bedroom. Any suggestions? I looked into WD TV live people say it's good and some people say there's a lot of issues with it (audio sync and what not). This is one is definitely too expensive.
Peter actually makes money off of this.
Best epic rap battle of history is Albert Einstein vs Stephen Hawking, hands down.
Einstein would pwn Hawkings.
no way. the best one is Mr. T vs Mr Rogers far and away
Nope, Abe Lincoln vs. Chuck Norris. Chuck's last line in that one makes me laugh every time I watch it.
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