Nearly a decade ago the talented and creative minds of Lloyd Ahlquist and Peter Shukoff once had a great idea: to make famous faces from history face each other in verbal duels, Rap Battles. Nay, Epic Rap Battles Of History!
This title firmly being place, Peter and Lloyd then went against it almost straight away by including Darth Vader in their third episode, squaring off against Adolf Hitler (a mash-up so popular it went on to have two sequel rematches). There's nothing wrong with having fictional characters laying down bars against one another, but the title has 'History' in it, so for the purposes of this list, we're only going to be looking at battles where both combatants are real-world historical or contemporary figures.
While the early outings are a little cringe-worthy to look back at, ten years later these two guys and their ever expanding team are still going and still putting out high quality content that has gone from strength to strength. Long gone are the days of John Lennon vs. Bill O'Reilly, so let's have a look at 10 of the best Rap Battles Of (Actual) History.
10. Justin Bieber Vs. Beethoven
Two musical figures clash, one of classical greatness and another of modern super-stardom. While this episode is from the first season of ERB and thus wasn't even on the official channel, it showed the potential for this series more than any other of it's contemporaries. While the portrayal of Justin Bieber is shown to have a purposefully negative voice, he was able to get some digs in properly at the maestro. In later years the creators would move away from showing less popular characters in a negative light, trying to let them speak with more gusto.
A particular highlight involves Beethoven stating that he's 'committing verbal murder in the major third degree', the kind of play-on-multiple-meanings that ERB would become ever more intricate at. A 'major third' describes a commonly used type of harmony, while 'third degree murder' is committing the felony of murder without any intention to do so.
A follow-up of Skrillex vs. Mozart was in the next season, but since that one featured music closer to Skrillex's style and this one was set to the beat of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, this one edges it out in quality.