Epic Rap Battles of History

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Epic Rap Battles of History
Epic Rap Battles of History Logo.png
Genre Comedy hip hop
Battle rap
Created by Peter Shukoff
Lloyd Ahlquist
Directed by Dave McCary (seasons 1-2)
Jackson Adams (season 3)
Daniel M. Turcan (season 3)
Forrest Whaley (episodes 48 & 58)
Peter Shukoff (seasons 3-5)
Mike Betette (seasons 3-5)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 70 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Peter Shukoff
Lloyd Ahlquist
Running time 1–5 minutes
Production company(s) Maker Studios
Original network YouTube
Original release September 26, 2010 – January 9, 2017
External links

Epic Rap Battles of History, or ERB for short, is a YouTube webseries created by Peter Shukoff (a.k.a. Nice Peter) and Lloyd Ahlquist (a.k.a. EpicLLOYD). The series puts famous historical and pop culture figures, real and fictional, against one another in a rap battle format.[1] As of May 2018, the channel has over 14.2 million subscribers and over 2.9 billion total video views.[2] The series is currently on hiatus.

Although early episodes of the series featured only Nice Peter and EpicLLOYD, later episodes have regularly featured guest appearances, and other internet celebrities such as Lisa Donovan, Timothy DeLaGhetto, George Watsky, DeStorm Power, Jesse Wellens, PewDiePie, Jenna Marbles, Lilly Singh, Ray William Johnson, Rhett and Link, and Smosh. Media celebrities like rappers Snoop Dogg, Chali 2na and T-Pain, parody artist "Weird Al" Yankovic, and the comedian duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have also appeared in the series.

On July 3, 2013, "Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney", became the first of its singles to be certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in the United States. 10 other singles, including "Adolf Hitler vs Darth Vader", "Albert Einstein vs Stephen Hawking", "Dr. Seuss vs William Shakespeare", "Master Chief vs Leonidas", "Steve Jobs vs Bill Gates", "Justin Bieber vs Ludwig van Beethoven", "Mario Brothers vs Wright Brothers", "Mr. T vs Mr. Rogers", "Abraham Lincoln vs Chuck Norris", and "Hitler vs Vader 2", were subsequently certified Gold as well.[3]


Dante Cimadamore (left) and Peter Shukoff (right)

The idea for historical figures rapping against each other was conceived by Ahlquist, who gave the idea to Shukoff as an improvised show, which was titled "Check OneTwo"; as the two worked on improvisation skits, along with Zach Sherwin, who has appeared on the series.[1] They were met with lots of difficulty at first and decided that it would fare much better as a YouTube series than an improv show. The first three rap battles were each shot on a $50 budget.[4] On September 26, 2010, the first rap battle was uploaded to YouTube, featuring Shukoff as John Lennon and Ahlquist as Bill O'Reilly.[5]

Before the web series existed on YouTube, Nice Peter and EpicLLOYD recorded their first song, which was a battle between Child's Play antagonist Chucky and actor Michael J. Fox.[6] The song was freestyle and poorly made; as a result, it was not released to the public. Instead, Shukoff and Ahlquist recorded their first official song for the first episode, "John Lennon vs Bill O'Reilly"

The 15th episode, called "The Final Battle", marked the end of the first season. This battle pitted EpicLLOYD and NicePeter against each other with cameos from all of the characters they had played over the 15 episodes. Epic Rap Battles of History later returned on December 8, 2011, hosted on their new channel (moving from NicePeter's personal channel), ERB, with behind-the-scenes videos on their second channel, ERB2.[7] Nice Peter and Maker Studios also created the official website for the series,[8] where fans could vote on winners for each video, and read short comical first-person biographies by each character.

On September 27, 2012, following a four-month pause after the "Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates" episode, a video was released on the series' YouTube channel where EpicLLOYD (voicing to an animation of Theodore Roosevelt) announced that new episodes would be released every two weeks until the Christmas holidays,[9] starting with the 22nd episode "Frank Sinatra vs. Freddie Mercury" (aired on October 1, 2012).[10] "Moses vs. Santa Claus", aired on December 10, 2012, was the last battle before taking a break for the holidays.[11]

On February 17, 2013, Epic Rap Battles of History was nominated for five Streamy Awards, winning four of them.[12] Shukoff and Ahlquist also performed part of the Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates battle live.

On September 9, 2013, ERB uploaded a trailer video on their channel announcing that Epic Rap Battles of History would return on October 7, 2013 for a third season.[13][14] On October 14, ERB released a second video with EpicLLOYD voicing Theodore Roosevelt, who announced the upcoming season's schedule.[15] The third season went on hiatus after the release of "Donald Trump vs. Ebenezer Scrooge" on December 19, 2013. In March 2014, an episode of Nice Peter's weekly show The Monday Show, published on March 11, and a third announcement video of Epic Rap Battles of History News, published on March 18, confirmed that Season 3 would continue on May 5, 2014. "Weird" Al Yankovic, Smosh, and Rhett and Link were also confirmed as guest appearances.[16] The third season concluded with the release of "Artists vs. TMNT" on July 14, 2014.

On September 30, 2014, a teaser video for the fourth season of Epic Rap Battles of History, featuring the Ghostbusters and MythBusters, was released; the series returned on November 10, 2014 with its 46th episode, "Ghostbusters vs. Mythbusters".[17] On December 15, 2014, when "Steven Spielberg vs. Alfred Hitchcock" was released, the fourth season went on hiatus. The season continued on May 25, 2015 and concluded with the release of the season finale, "Jim Henson vs. Stan Lee", on August 3, 2015.

It was confirmed in a podcast by NicePeter that there would be a fifth season, with pre-production starting in November 2015 once they came back from the world tour.

On December 16, the first off-season battle was released, entitled, "Deadpool vs. Boba Fett".

On February 26, 2016, it was announced that Season 5 would begin on May 2, 2016,[18] and on March 22 it was announced that production had begun.[19]

Season 5 officially began on May 2, 2016, with the release of the first battle of the season, "George R.R. Martin vs. J.R.R. Tolkien". ERB releases battles every other Monday as of the first half of Season 5.[20] On July 12, 2016, Alexander the Great vs. Ivan the Terrible was released. This marked the midseason break.[21] EpicLloyd later confirmed they were planning to return mid to late October. Filming began for the second half of Season 5 on September 23. On October 26, Season 5 resumed with "Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton". The final episode of season 5 was released on January 9, 2017, where EpicLloyd and NicePeter battle against each other once again, as it is a sequel to the Season 1 finale. Shukoff stated in September 2017 that ERB was on hiatus.

In 2016, Epic Rap Battles of History was nominated for an Emmy Award in the newly initiated category Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Form Variety Series at the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards.


Main cast[edit]

Peter "NicePeter" Shukoff
Season Characters

John Lennon, Darth Vader, Abraham Lincoln, Lady Gaga, Hulk Hogan, Ludwig van Beethoven, Stephen Hawking, Easter Bunny, Napoleon Dynamite, Vince Offer, Albus Dumbledore, The Cat in the Hat, Mr. Rogers, Christopher Columbus, Himself

2 Darth Vader, Master Chief, Luigi, Michael Jackson, Steve Jobs, HAL 9000 (voice), Freddie Mercury, Abraham Lincoln, Tenth Doctor, Batman, Santa Claus, Steve, Nikola Tesla (voice), Lance Armstrong, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Grigori Rasputin, Vladimir Lenin, Vladimir Putin
3 Darth Vader, Blackbeard, Bob Ross, Donald Trump, Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, Rick Grimes, Bill Nye, George Washington, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (voices)
4 Jamie Hyneman, Romeo Montague, Zeus (voice), Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay, Ted "Theodore" Logan, David Copperfield, RoboCop, Friedrich Nietzsche, Julius Caesar, Jim Henson, Kermit the Frog (voice)
Bonus Battle Boba Fett (voice)
5 J. R. R. Tolkien, Thomas Jefferson, Austin Powers, Bruce Jenner, Ivan the Terrible, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin, Tony Hawk, Himself
Lloyd "EpicLLOYD" Ahlquist
Season Characters
1 Bill O'Reilly, Adolf Hitler, Chuck Norris, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Johann Sebastian Bach, Genghis Khan, Napoleon Bonaparte, Benjamin Franklin, Gandalf, Thing 1 and Thing 2, James T. Kirk, Himself
2 Adolf Hitler, Leonidas I (voice), Mario, Elvis Presley, Bill Gates, Frank Sinatra, Mitt Romney, Clint Eastwood, Robin, Christmas Elves, Adam, Thomas Edison, Babe Ruth, Skrillex, Joseph Stalin, Mikhail Gorbachev
3 Adolf Hitler, Al Capone, Pablo Picasso, J. P. Morgan, Walter White, Superman, William Wallace, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (voices and portrayals)
4 Adam Savage, Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (voice), Clyde Barrow, Thor (voice), Hannibal Lecter, Alfred Hitchcock, Bill S. Preston Esq, Harry Houdini, The Terminator, Stan Lee
Bonus Battle Deadpool (voice)
5 George R. R. Martin, Gordon Ramsay, James Bond (Sean Connery), Bruce Banner, Frederick the Great, Donald Trump, Theodore Roosevelt, Himself

Recurring cast[edit]

Actor Characters
Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5
Timothy DeLaGhetto Kim Jong-Il Sun Tzu
Zach Sherwin Albert Einstein Dr. Emmett Brown, Sherlock Holmes Ebenezer Scrooge, Stephen King Egon Spengler, Voltaire, Walt Disney Alexander the Great, Wayne Gretzky
George Watsky William Shakespeare Fourth Doctor Edgar Allan Poe
DeStorm Power Mr. T Kanye West Shaka Zulu
Rhett and Link Wilbur and Orville Wright Donatello di Betto Bardi and Leonardo da Vinci Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
Kimmy Gatewood Marilyn Monroe Hillary Clinton
Keegan-Michael Key Mahatma Gandhi Michael Jordan
Jordan Peele Martin Luther King Jr. Muhammad Ali
Ray William Johnson Boba Fett (voice), Goku
KRNFX Grant Imahara, Lao Tzu
Dan Bull Jack The Ripper Winston Churchill

Guest appearances[edit]


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 15 September 26, 2010 (2010-09-26) November 16, 2011 (2011-11-16)
2 18 December 8, 2011 (2011-12-08) April 22, 2013 (2013-04-22)
3 12 October 7, 2013 (2013-10-07) July 14, 2014 (2014-07-14)
4 12 November 10, 2014 (2014-11-10) August 3, 2015 (2015-08-03)
Bonus Battle December 16, 2015 (2015-12-16)
5 12 May 2, 2016 (2016-05-02) January 9, 2017 (2017-01-09)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations for Epic Rap Battles of History
Year Award Category Result Recipient(s)
2013 3rd Streamy Awards Best Writing: Comedy Nominated Peter Shukoff, Lloyd Ahlquist
Best Online Musician Won Peter Shukoff
Best Original Song Won Peter Shukoff, Lloyd Ahlquist ("Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates")
Best Music Series Won Epic Rap Battles of History
Best Use of Fashion & Design Won Mary Gutfleisch
1st YouTube Music Awards Video of the Year[22] Nominated "Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney"
Artist of the Year[22] Nominated Peter Shukoff, Lloyd Ahlquist
2014 4th Streamy Awards Best Writing Won Peter Shukoff, Lloyd Ahlquist, Zach Sherwin, Dante Cimadamore, Mike Betette
Music Video Won "Goku vs. Superman"
Costume Design Won Sulai Lopez
Editing Nominated Andrew Sherman, Ryan Moulton, Daniel Turcan, Peter Shukoff
Collaboration Nominated Peter Shukoff, Lloyd Ahlquist, Snoop Dogg ("Moses vs. Santa Claus")
2015 5th Streamy Awards Writing Won Peter Shukoff, Lloyd Ahlquist, Zach Sherwin, Dante Cimadamore and Mike Betette
Costume Design Won Sulai Lopez
Editing Won Andrew Sherman, Ryan Moulton, Daniel Turcan and Peter Shukoff
Collaboration Won Nice Peter, EpicLLOYD, Grace Helbig, and Hannah Hart
26th Producers Guild of America Awards Outstanding Digital Series Nominated Epic Rap Battles of History
2016 27th Producers Guild of America Awards Nominated
68th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Short Form Variety Series Nominated
6th Streamy Awards Collaboration Nominated Nice Peter, EpicLLOYD, Meghan Tonjes, Mike Betette and Zach Sherwin
2017 69th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Short Form Variety Series Nominated Epic Rap Battles of History

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Michael Humphrey (October 26, 2011). "Epic Rap Battles of History: Talking Brash Wit With A YouTube Hit". Forbes. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  2. ^ "ERB YouTube channel statistics - StatSheep". Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "RIAA - Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - Epic Rap Battles of History". Recording Industry Association of America. December 30, 2014. Archived from the original on November 4, 2015. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Peter states that first 3 battles cost approx $50" (YouTubbe video). ERB2. 1.25: YouTube. February 16, 2013. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  5. ^ Leslie Kaufman (October 29, 2013). "Making Silly Showdowns for YouTube". New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  6. ^ "The First Epic Rap Battle of History - Michael J. Fox vs Chucky". YouTube. February 19, 2012. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  7. ^ "College News grades Epic Rap Battles of History Season 2". College News. December 14, 2011. Retrieved December 15, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Epic Rap Battles of History". Epic Rap Battles of History. Archived from the original on November 29, 2011. Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  9. ^ Sam Gutelle (October 2, 2012). "'Epic Rap Battles' Returns, Will Post 6 Episodes Over Next 3 Months". Tubefiler. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  10. ^ Daniel Perez (October 2, 2012). "'Epic Rap Battles' Pits Queen's Freddy Mercury vs Frank Sinatra In Season 2 Premiere [VIDEO]". International Digital Times. Archived from the original on November 30, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2012. 
  11. ^ Lloyd Ahlquist (September 27, 2012). "Epic Rap Battles of History News with Theodore Roosevelt". Epic Rap Battles of History. YouTube. Retrieved October 9, 2012. 
  12. ^ "3RD ANNUAL NOMINEES". Streamys. Retrieved February 17, 2013. 
  13. ^ Epic Rap Battles of History (April 22, 2013). "Epic Rap Battles of History - Behind the Scenes - Rasputin vs Stalin". YouTube. Retrieved April 25, 2013. 
  14. ^ Epic Rap Battles of History (May 22, 2013). "Epic Rap Battles of History News with Teddy Roosevelt 2". YouTube. Retrieved June 17, 2013. 
  15. ^ Epic Rap Battles of History (October 14, 2013). "Epic Rap Battles of History News with Adam Smith". YouTube. Retrieved October 15, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Epic Rap Battles of History News, Season 3.5". YouTube. May 18, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Epic Rap Battles of History Season 4". Epic Rap Battles of History. YouTube. September 30, 2014. Retrieved September 30, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Dante on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-03-26. 
  19. ^ "Epic Rap Battles on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-03-26. 
  20. ^ "Dante Cimadamore, "Every other"". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-05-14. 
  21. ^ ERB (2016-07-12), Alexander the Great vs Ivan the Terrible - Epic Rap Battles of History Season 5, retrieved 2016-07-18 
  22. ^ a b Todd Spangler (October 21, 2013). "YouTube Music Awards Nominees Announced". Variety. Retrieved October 27, 2013. 

External links[edit]