Epic Rap Battles of History provide examples of the following tropes:
- Absentee Actor: Lloyd has pretty frequently been absent as a rapper, though any time this is the case, he'll still pop up in the background playing a non-participant such as Carl Sagan or John McCain. Peter, meanwhile, had taken part in every battle without fail all the way up until Cleopatra vs. Marilyn Monroe, where both Lloyd and Peter played cameo roles. (The fact that this is the first time Peter didn't rap is especially notable when you consider that this wasn't even the first woman vs. woman battle...)
- Bruce Lee vs. Clint Eastwood is notably the first battle where Lloyd rapped but Peter didn't. Since then, we've also had Adam vs. Eve, Goku vs. Superman and Jack the Ripper vs. Hannibal Lecter.
- Tesla vs. Edison is a weird example in that it's the only battle where Peter is visually completely absent but still does the vocals for Tesla.
- Michael Jordan VS Muhammad Ali is the first battle ever where neither Peter nor Lloyd appear at all - not for vocalsnote , not for a cameo, nothing.
- Similarly, Edgar Allan Poe vs Stephen King, which also pits two returning guest stars (Zach Sherwin and George Watsky) against each other.
- "Renaissance Artists vs the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" puts a new twist on this, with Peter and Lloyd voicing the Turtles. Lloyd performed as the turtles along with stunt actor Xin Wuku, so he wasn't entirely absentee. The battle also brought in a record four special guests (previous guests Rhett & Link and first-timers SMOSH) as the Renaissance artists.
- Accidental Pun: The catch phrase "Who Won?" takes on new meaning in "Doctor Who vs. Doc Brown" as pointed out by many in the comments (claiming that indeed he did).
- Actual Pacifist: Both Gandhi and MLK Jr. qualify. The whole rap between them is how much more of a pacifist each one is than the other, and the battle really heats up as the two come closer and closer to not getting violent with each other.Gandhi: I am passively resisting the fact that you suck. I am celibate because I don't give a fuck!
- Added Alliterative Appeal:
"Hi! Billy Mays here, with a special TV offer! Watch me crush this bald, fat, foppish founding father!"
- From Benjamin Franklin vs. Billy Mays:
"Your flow's so-so, Poe's poems pwn posers!"
- From Edgar Allan Poe vs. Stephen King:
- Aerith and Bob: Invoked by Pablo Picasso, referring to himself as "Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso" and Bob Ross as "Bob"
- A God Am I:
- Implied by Chuck Norris. Who was, y'know, 100 feet tall and glowing at the time, which may have lent some credence to his claim.
- Kim Jong-Il calls himself one.
- Cleopatra claims to be descended from the gods. Justified here in that the Egyptians really did believe the Pharaohs were incarnations of the gods.
- Bill Gates calls himself one too because he owns Xbox.
- Justified with Zeus and Thor, who really are gods.
- All Periods Are PMS:
- Adam would be (mostly) fine having Eve around if she didn't start bleeding and turn into a demon every month. The other main issue is her constant nagging.
- Bob Ross described Pablo Picasso's dour attitude as his "blue period".
- Alternative Character Interpretation: Most of the rappers' personalities are exaggerated from what history remembers, or canon in the case of fictional characters. Example, Bieber is depicted as an annoying, pint-sized brat, but more likely than not, the real Bieber is not as annoying (some of the time). Mister Rogers was normally a friendly man, but here, he's a perpetually placid fellow with a short fuse.
- Anachronism Stew: Frequently, though it is justified by Rule of Funny and Rule of Cool, and the fact that, if this trope wasn't in effect, most of the battles wouldn't be able to happen.
- And I Must Scream: Hitler's ultimate fate. No sooner does he learn he's a ghost, he gets wrangled up by the Ghost Busters and placed in a trap.
- Antiquated Linguistics: Shakespeare uses this, true to form. See also Sophisticated as Hell below.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
Nice Peter: "Master Chief: Has guns, repeated acts of violence. Moses: Killed Egyptian dude, buried him in sand. Mozart: TOO DANG LOUD." (Mister Rogers is also on the list, with the subtitle "Creepy, racist?".)
- Santa's naughty list.
Stalin: "You got off easy when they pickled that moose cock! I'd leave your neck in a noose in a trench and shot! Your whole family! Shot! All your wizard friends! Shot! Anyone who sold you pierogi! Shot!"
- Joseph Stalin in the season 2 finale.
- Artifact Title: Early rap battles would always include at least one historical figure. Since then, however, we've had five battles between only fictional characters. One in the first seasonnote , two in the secondnote and two in the thirdnote .
- Artistic License – History: The portrayal of William Wallace and his men are based off the Braveheart movie, where they're painted in woad and wearing kilts. In real life, Sir William Wallace was a rich, well-to-do land owning nobleman from the southlands of Scotland. Kilts wouldn't be invented until 400 years after his death, and the movie was largely based off a poem about Wallace written 170 years after his death. The battle attempts to set up a Slobs Vs Snobs relation between the two, but Washington would've been the Slob in real life in comparison.
- Ascended Extra: Of a sort. The outro ERB logo from Thomas Edison Vs. Nicola Tesla in Season 2 is used in the extended outro for all battles in the first half of Season 3.
- Both Vladimir Putin and Sir Isaac Newton have gone from newscasters to actual Rap Battlers.
- George Washington went from having a brief cameo in the Ben Franklin vs Billy Mays battle to having his own rap battle against William Wallace.
- Oprah's actress, November Christine, first appeared as a background activist in Martin Luther King Jr vs. Gandhi. Her wardrobe and silent presence alone convinced ERB to offer her another role.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Steve Jobs leaves his battle with Bill Gates to turn Heaven a profit.
- As Himself: Nice Peter and Epic Lloyd in the first season finale.
- Authority Equals Asskicking:
- Napoleon, Emperor of France.
- Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith.
- Adolf Hitler, Chancellor and Fuhrer of Germany.
- Genghis Khan, Khagan of the Mongol Empire.
- Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the USA.
- Benjamin Franklin, Governor of Pennsylvania.
- Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska.
- Kim Jong-il, Leader of North Korea.
- Leonidas, King of the Spartans.
- Chuck Norris, who claims to be "everyone's master".
- Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt.
- Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the US, got fed up with the lack of ERB over the summer, and told Epic Lloyd and Nice Peter to get off their asses and get back to work with a structured release schedule. If they didn't, he threatened to carve his own chin out of Mount Rushmore and beat them with his own stoney mustache.
- Barack Obama, 44th (and current) US President."I'm the head of state, you're like a head of cabbage
'Bout to get smacked... by my stimulus package!
- Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts.
- Moses, leader and savior of the Israelites. His authority is only surpassed by God.
- Josef Stalin, Premier of the Soviet Union.
- Vladimir Lenin, also Premier of the Soviet Union.
- Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Soviet Union.
- Vladimir Putin, President of Russia.
- Rick Grimes, deputy sheriff of King County, Georgia
- George Washington, the first President of the United States.
- Ass Shove: A couple.Napoleon Bonaparte: "I'm going to shove your moon boots straight up your poop chute!"Columbus: "I'll stick a flag up your ass and claim you for Spain!"Master Chief: "Cortana says you're Greek, so why don't you stick these lyrics up your ass?"Obama: "Republicans need a puppet and you fit, got their hand so far up your rear, call you Mitt."Al Capone: "So show respect or get that tongue ripped out your neck and shoved straight up your poop deck!"Renaissance Artists: "You beat the Foot but it won't go well when you catch an Italian boot to the half shell!"Oprah Winfrey: "I'll lodge my fabulous shoe up your suit pants, baby!"
- Ate His Gun:
- Mario tried to do so behind the scenes when Princess Peach nagged the ever-living bajeezus out of him. He finds out that the gun is empty and starts crying.
- Vader mentions how Hitler did this in the third battle when his bunker was being bombed.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
- Chuck Norris' second verse.
- The Mario Brothers grow a bit in their second verse after eating mushrooms.
- The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man appears during "Ghostbusters vs MythBusters".
- Attractive Bent-Gender: NicePeter as Lady Gaga.
- Audience Participation: Each showdown is based off a fan suggestion.
- Author Appeal: In the BTS video for "Al Capone vs Blackbeard" Lloyd says that he himself is Italian, which not only explains Capone, but his previous role as Frank Sinatra, not to mention his take on Mario.
- Auto-Tune: Used for Stephen Hawking's rapping, as well as Oprah and Stedman Graham in Ellen DeGeneres vs. Oprah Winfrey.
- Awesomeness Is Volatile: Goku vs. Superman ends with the two of them flying at each other and causing a huge explosion.
- Badass: Almost everybody.
- Badass Baritone: Beethoven, Darth Vader, Christopher Columbus, Master Chief, Barack Obama, Santa Claus, Grigori Rasputin, Vladimir Putin, Superman, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Donatello di Niccolo and Jamie Hyneman.
- Badass Beard: Abe Lincoln, Billy Mays, Chuck Norris, Wilbur Wright, Vladimir Lenin, Grigori Rasputin, Clint Eastwood, Santa Claus, Blackbeard, Walter White, all the Renaissance artists except Rafael, Zeus, Thor, and Steven Spielberg.
- Badass Boast: Nearly everyone invokes this.
- Special mention goes to Abe Lincoln, who scoffs at how Chuck Norris can block bullets with his beard by boasting how he catches them with his skull.
- Badass Bookworm: Ben Franklin is an educated gentleman. Then there's Albert Einstein, Sherlock Holmes, Stephen Hawking (again), Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Walter White, Sir Isaac Newton, Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Renaissance Artists, the Ghostbusters and the Mythbusters.
- Badass Gay:
- Dumbledore prefers the company of wizards and he's proud of it.
- Freddie Mercury is well aware of his (bi)sexual preferences, but remains calm and composed throughout all of Frank Sinatra's bashing.
- Ellen DeGeneres too, proudly proclaims being a lesbian, and even Dr. Phil advises Oprah not to mess with her.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Frank Sinatra, Bill O'Reilly, Thomas Edison, Al Capone, Barack Obama, Vladimir Lenin and Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Ellen DeGeneres, Alfred Hitchcock, and Stanley Kubrick.
- Badass Long Robe: Gandalf, Dumbledore and Moses with their wizard/holy man robes.
- Badass Mustache: Genghis Khan's Fu Manchu, Albert Einstein, Hitler's toothbrush mustache (or Dirty Sanchez, according to Vader), the Mario Brothers, Orville Wright, Freddie Mercury, Nikola Tesla, Josef Stalin, and Edgar Allan Poe, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Jamie Hyneman.
- Badass Pacifist: Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr; passively resisting and forgiving hard.
- Badass Santa: Rapping Santa
- Back-to-Back Badasses:
- Bald of Awesome: Lloyd, which is helpful with all the headpieces he goes through. Peter is... getting there.
- Bash Brothers: The rap battle version of this occurs basically any time there's a team of two or more rapping in tandem, such as with the Mario Bros or the Mythbusters.
- Berserk Button:
- Einstein pushes Hawking's button when he questions the validity of Hawking's Black Hole Theory.
- Dr. Seuss does not like being accused of writing the Twilight series.
- Mr. Rogers goes from mostly-polite teasing to outright scary when accused of child molestation.
- Don't tell Kim Jong-il he's from China.
- Leonidas learned the hard way not to put his hands (or feet) on Master Chief.
- Marilyn Monroe got downright vicious when her miscarriages were brought up.
- Chuck Norris loses his cool when he has a bucket of pennies dumped all over his head.
- Don't call Marty a chicken.
- Barack Obama doesn't like having his wife being called the "Female version of Patrick Ewing" very much.
- You can tell that Santa's elves don't take kindly to being referred to as slaves.
- Babe Ruth seems absolutely pissed off that Lance Armstrong cheated and tears him a new one for it
- There was controversy over whether or not Babe Ruth called his famous home run shot, but the general opinion is that he did not cheat, which makes his anger in the rap more justified.
- Mozart seems very offended that Skrillex could be considered "a musician."
- Vladimir Lenin is extremely angry that Stalin completely destroyed his revolution.
- Blackbeard looks like he's about to cut Capone open after his beard gets insulted.
- Do not take the Lord's name in vain around Joan of Arc, lest she get vicious.
- Reminding Superman of how he got his ass kicked by a "bat with no powers" gets him to turn around and fly toward Goku.
- Ray Stantz steps forward intending to fight Grant when the latter taunts him about the ghost that "popped his cherry". The other Ghostbusters have to hold him back.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed:
- According to Kim Jong-Il, Hulk Hogan's wife thinks so.
- Master Chief claims to have showed Leonidas' Queen his plasma cannon.
- Beethoven claims he has "more cock than Smith & Wesson". As he says this, Bach pops up on screen nodding and holding his hands a foot and a half apart, in the universal gesture for "it was this big".
- Barack Obama threatens to slap Romney with his "stimulus package".
- Stephen King mentions his "big dick bibliography".
- Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Defied in Bill Gates VS Steve Jobs. HAL 9000's appearance at the end of the rap superficially seems to have nothing to do with either of the two businessmen. Once you look into it, however, it turns out that HAL 9000 was used in a famous Macintosh ad campaign.
- Big Stupid Doodoo Head: Mitt Romney and Barack Obama eventually resort to childish bickering.
- Bilingual Bonus:
- Napoleon Bonaparte gets one at the beginning of his second line. note
- Also, Christopher Columbus gets "Arrivederci! Imma leave before this battle begins!"
- When Putin enters the Season 2 finale, he drops the line "...doing judo moves and schooling every communist сука", which is Russian for bitch. It helps that the word comes off sounding like a heavily-accented "sucka".
- Joan of Arc gets on too, with "Je suis la fille en feu" meaning "I'm the girl on fire" (right before calling herself Katniss Everdeen)
- The sign behind Goku says "歴史の壮大なヒップホップの戦い" ("Epic Rap Battles of History" in Japanese).
- Part of William Wallace's rap is "Alba gu bràth," which means "Scotland forever."
- Black Comedy: There are a number of jokes in the series based around this. For instance, look at the references to the characters dying, the racist comments that pop up from time to time, and everything that Hitler and Stalin say.
- Blade Reflection: Inverted by Mitt Romney when he holds up a silver spoon reflecting the image of Barack Obama.
- Boastful Rap: Obviously there's a lot of bragging going on.
- Book Ends:
- Season two begins and ends with battles involving World War II-era dictators played by Lloyd, facing off against Peter as someone notoriously difficult to kill.
- Hitler vs Vader 3 ends with the same words that began Hitler vs Vader 1: "I am Adolf Hitler..."
- Edgar Allan Poe vs Stephen King begins with the first line of The Raven "Once upon a midnight dreary..." and ends with its final line "Nevermore."
- Each episode begins and ends with the announcer shouting "EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORY".
- Justified via Timey-Wimey Ball in "Doc Brown vs. Doctor Who", which begins and ends with The Doctor saying "Actually if you don't mind, it's just The Doctor".
- Boom, Headshot: William Shakespeare threatens to do this to Dr. Seuss and then reflect upon the gaping hole left behind.I'll put a slug between your shoulder blades, then ask what light through yonder poser breaks?
- Darth Vader references Adolf Hitler's suicide in Hitler vs Vader 3: "You put a gun in your mouth and fired up."
- Brainless Beauty: According to Cleopatra, Marilyn Monroe has "an hourglass figure, but that's about it," and she can't even read.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Given the medium of the series, it almost goes without saying that the participants would be "aware" of it. Nonetheless, they only make direct references to it a couple of times.
Narrator: BILL GATES! VERSUS—Steve Jobs: (pops up) Let me just step right in./I've got things to invent! (shoves away the "Epic Rap Titles of History" title card)
- In Steve Jobs VS Bill Gates, Steve says he bets "this beat" was made on one of his Apple products, referring to the rap beat playing in the background. Nope. Fruity Loops. PC. And then there's the intro to the battle:
Narrator: "DOC BROWN! VS! DOCTOR WHO!!"Tenth Doctor: "Oh, actually if you don't mind it's just The Doctor."
- Marilyn Monroe quips that Cleopatra's nose matches Kassem G's, one of Nice Peter's associates. Also when she whispers " Tossing Caesar's Salad."
- After the beat abruptly stops in the rematch between Hitler and Vader, Hitler's visibly confused and asks "where is the DJ?"
- The entire Nice Peter vs. Epic Lloyd battle inherently falls under this.
- The Tenth Doctor corrects the narrator about his name:
- Breather Episode:
- Cleopatra vs Marilyn Monroe, which came between the epic Michael Jackson vs Elvis Presley and Steve Jobs vs Bill Gates.
- Oprah vs Ellen, sandwiched between Hannibal Lecter vs Jack The Ripper and the midseason finale, Steven Spielberg vs Alfred Hitchcock.
- Breath Weapon: Played With. Multiple people boast that their rapping skills give them the ability to spit verbal fire.
- Brick Joke: The first quote at the end of the first season finale says "If Season 2 does not have a Russian character, I will kill this NicePeter with my bare hands" and is credited to Vladimir Putin. No Russians appear in Season 2... until the finale, where four Russians (and a Georgian) battle each other (the first five-way battle), including Putin... who is played by NicePeter.
Mozart: "In two more months, the world will forget about your Skrill-excrement!"Mozart: "Oh yes, I've heard that EP, and see, I transcribed it here [pronounced "hee-yah."]/Tell me: what comes after the 68th measure of diarrhea?"
- Skrillex calls out Mozart for his infamous scatological sense of humor, who throws itnote right back in his face.
- British Teeth: Half of Frank Sinatra's rips on Freddie Mercury.
- Jack the Ripper has molars as messed-up as he is. Somewhat of a double example, as those are Dan Bull's natural teeth.
- Butt Monkey:
Tyson: (to Newton) Why don't you pick on a brain your own size?
- Adolf Hitler. Gets frozen in carbonite, thawed out to battle again, then dropped into the Rancor pit, then avoids the Sarlaac pit only to get sliced in half by Vader's lightsaber.
- The Easter Bunny, unsurprisingly, gets destroyed in his rap battle.
- Ebeneezer Scrooge first gets startled awake by Trump, then yelled at by three rappers - the last of whom is Nightmare Fuel to him - until he nearly starts crying before changing his ways. This was bound to happen since the battle is an abridged version (with new characters) of A Christmas Carol.
- It's no secret Bill Nye's a bit outclassed, even though he had some good lines. Even his own teammate Neil De Grasse Tyson is somewhat condescending towards him.
- Tory, as on Mythbusters. He outright fails to come up with a line, and it's implied he inadvertently summoned Stay Puft.
- All 4 of the other rappers in "Spielberg vs. Hitchcock" insult Michael Bay or his movies in some way.
- Call Back:
- The battle between the creators themselves featured cameos from nearly all the characters they've played as before.
- The rematch with Vader and Hitler begins with Hitler frozen in carbonite, just as he was at the end of their original battle.
- During Rasputin Vs Stalin, Lenin's arrival and verse is similar to Lincoln's during Obama Vs Romney. He stands between both rappers and criticizes them one after the other, even repeating some movements and shots.
- Carl Sagan makes a very small cameo in Sir Isaac Newton Vs. Bill Nye, which is similar to his previous brief appearance in Albert Einstein Vs. Stephen Hawking
- Look carefully at the arcade game in the Turtles' lair during "Renaissance Artists vs TMNT". It's playing "The Wright Brothers vs the Mario Brothers", which is not only Rhett & Link's previous appearance but the last time a Nintendo game was brought up.
- In the Behind the Scenes of "Zeus vs. Thor", Lloyd starts off by shiftily asking toward the camera "You wanna buy some t-shirts?"
- "Jack the Ripper vs. Hannibal Lecter" has Hannibal getting taken out of his straitjacket Jack's first verse, and then making a comment about it later on ("Pity your verse wasn't worth the trip in the jacket"), similar to how Mr. Rogers changed his shoes through Mr. T's first verse and commented on it ("I hope you don't mind if I change my shoes").
- "Steven Spielberg vs Alfred Hitchcock" not only has Steven mimic the Hurricane of Puns from, quite appropriately, a Stephen (King), and the whole thing escalates into a five-way just like Rasputin vs Stalin did.
- Canis Major: In the final battle (of season 1), Kassem G rides a magnificent flying wolf.
- Card-Carrying Villain:
- Darth Vader and Adolf Hitler, naturally. Each one insists they are more evil than the other.
- Bill O'Reilly also, particularly during his second verse where he outright admits to being evil.
- Josef Stalin as well. He outright states he abused Russia.
- Thomas Edison, who openly admits that he screwed Tesla over, and is shown electrocuting a puppy during his second verse. The real-life Edison electrocuted several animals—most famously an elephant named Topsy—in an effort to discredit alternating current technology, of which Nikola Tesla was a prominent figure.
- Jack the Ripper is this, however his opponent, Hannibal Lecter, does not fit the three spheres of this trope.
- The Cast Showoff: Everyone, but special mention goes to
- George Watsky as Shakespeare during his fast-rap verse. Jaws are dropping.
- Hitler vs Vader 3 gives EpicLloyd an opportunity to remind everyone that he did gymnastics in college.
- Catchphrase: The narrator opens and closes every battle the same way.EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORY! [Character 1] vs. [Character 2]! BEGIN!WHO WON? WHO'S NEXT? YOU DECIDE! EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORY!
- Celibate Hero:
- Chairman of the Brawl: Lee kicks a chair at Eastwood as he disses him about the "invisible Obama" speech.
- Christmas Episode: "Moses vs Santa Claus" was uploaded December 2012; "Donald Trump vs Ebenezer Scrooge" was uploaded December 2013.
- Clean Cut: Hitler falls victim to this at the end of his third battle with Vader.
- Climactic Battle Resurrection: More than two thirds of the contestants have come Back from the Dead to rap.
- Inverted with characters who have died recently dying in the middle of the rap to be replaced by someone else.
- Also inverted with Donald Trump; while his real self is still alive, in the rap battle he's outright stated to be dead and his ghost is haunting Scrooge.
- Clothing Damage: Goku takes a lot of it after absorbing a blast from Superman's heat vision.
- Behind The Scenes footage revealed it was done with scissors and a lighter.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In "Renaissance Artists vs TMNT", the Renaissance Artists Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael all have the colors of the turtles named after them somewhere on their costumes.
- Compensating for Something: Dumbledore asks Gandalf if his staff is part of this.
- Cool Shades: NicePeter has a signature pair.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive:
- Nikola Tesla's largest issue with Thomas Edison is how Tesla wanted to give electricity to the world for free, but Edison strongarmed him with politics and business practices to turn a profit with it.
- Mitt Romney essentially begins his battle by saying Screw the Rules, I Have Money!.
- Donald Trump and Ebeneezer Scrooge. Donald Trump even outright states that he's not known for his heart and Scrooge even got a sub trope named after him.
- Country Matters: Hitler starts off round 3 with this.Hitler: SCREW YOU! You big black CUNT!
- Creative Closing Credits: Almost Once an Episode, always involving the logo of the show. Some examples include it being crossed by two electric shocks forming an X (Tesla vs. Edison); six logos chanting like they were cheering on in a match (Ruth vs. Armstrong); and two big logos calling their "logo armies" and setting war between them (Washington vs. Wallace).
- Creator Cameo: If EpicLloyd isn't playing one of the rappers, he usually appears as a background character, usually someone being referenced to by one of the rappers. Examples include:
- Carl Sagan in Einstein vs Hawking.
- Reprised in Isaac Newton Vs. Bill Nye.
- John McCain in Palin vs Gaga.
- Johann Sebastian Bach in Bieber vs Beethoven.
- Hannibal, Murdoch, Face, and Mr. McFeely in T vs Rogers.
- Pleistarchus (Leonidas' six year old son) in Leonidas vs Master Chief.
- Ironically, Lloyd was the voice for Leonidas, but not the character.
- Marlon Brando in Cleopatra vs Marilyn Monroe.
- Nice Peter also plays John F. Kennedy, his first-ever cameo in the series. He's otherwise rapped in every single battle till then.
- Marty McFly in Doc Brown Vs The Doctor—where he speaks in his cameo.
- Jon Na, the director of photography for Columbus Vs Kirk, cameos as Sulu.
- Nice Peter shows up as all the cowboys in Clint Eastwood's backdrop.
- EpicLloyd cameos in Santa vs Moses as Santa's elves.
- Peter appears in Adam Vs Eve as "Steve."
- Nice Peter is a reverend amongst the Indian crowd in Gandhi Vs Martin Luther King Jr. while EpicLloyd is the one white guy in a crowd of African Americans following Martin Luther King. The Behind The Scenes show Lloyd slowly creeping his head up in the back of the crowd just so that he can be there, hoping nobody will notice.
- Nice Peter and Epic Lloyd both appear as girls behind Miley Cyrus in Miley Cyrus Vs. Joan of Arc.
- Nice Peter plays both Jimmy Olsen and Krillin in Goku Vs Superman.
- Lloyd again as Dr. Phil in Oprah Vs Ellen.
- Carl Sagan in Einstein vs Hawking.
- Creator Provincialism: Most episodes have at least one American participating in the battle, sometimes not even people very well known outside of the USA, such as Bill Nye, Mr. Rogers, Randy Savage,... The only exceptions where none of the portrayed battlers were born Americans or American fictional characters have been:
- Albert Einstein vs. Stephen Hawking (German native, British native)
- Genghis Khan vs. the Easter Bunny. (Mongolian, European folklore character)
- Gandalf vs. Dumbledore. (Characters created by British writers)
- Moses vs. Santa Claus (Middle East, European folklore)
- Adam vs. Eve (The Bible)
- Rasputin vs. Stalin (Russia)
- Zeus vs. Thor (Greek mythology, Scandinavian mythology)
- Creepy Monotone:
- Mister Rogers.
- HAL 9000, naturally.
- Bob Ross has one similar to Mister Rogers.
- da Vinci's mellow tones never waver even as he threatens to turn ninja turtles into mincemeat.
- Critical Research Failure: Invoked in "Hulk Hogan vs. Kim Jong-Il" with Hogan claiming he'll leg-drop Kim back to Beijing.
...are you looking for your lover?
- Master Chief claims he showed his "plasma cannon" to Queen Gorgo while Leonidas was off fighting the Persians.
- The Wright Brothers allude to it with the Mario Brothers:
'cause your princess is in our castle now (yeah, she's gone)
We stayed up all night (playing Donkey Kong)
I make the product that the artist chooses
- Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates:
And the GUI that Melinda uses
My technique will make your mistress weep
- Bob Ross vs. Picasso:
Put her to sleep, elbow drop her dreams, I go deep
- Curb-Stomp Battle:
- Justin Bieber VS. Beethoven. Given Bieber's reputation on YouTube, you can probably imagine how this goes.
- The Easter Bunny vs. Genghis Khan. The Easter Bunny spends his second verse panicking.
- In their rematch, Hitler's "the reason you suck" song leaves Vader completely out of words, so much that he couldn't think of any comeback lines, and made him turn his back in shame. Or he was just acting that way to lure Hitler into standing over the Rancor pit. In their second rematch, Vader's rapid-fire onslaught reduces Hitler to barely-coherent, non-rhyming screeched imprecations ...right before he gets bisected by Vader's lightsaber.
- If we're talking about popularity, Mr. T, Bill O'Reilly, and Frank Sinatra are getting curb-stomped harder than the Easter Bunny on the official site. In fact, Mr. T is the second-least popular battler, just above Justin Bieber. You'll need to log in through Facebook in order to see the stats.
- Thomas Edison gets completely vilified by Nikola Tesla's claims of how Edison made sure he could make money off of the concept of electricity. The fans agree: Edison only has ~15% of the vote. Given Edison's recent reputation with the Internet demographic, it's not surprising.
- Babe Ruth annihilates Lance Armstrong in his second verse. Lance is visibly shocked.
- Doctor Who vs Doc Brown. Doc Brown gets a one up after his first verse by killing the Doctor; cue the Doctor regenerating and proceeding to deliver an epic Motor Mouth verbal beatdown that puts Busta Rhymes to shame.
- Curb Stomp Cushion: Even if vastly outclassed in terms of ability and popularity, all the characters manage to get at least some effective jabs in against their superior opponents.
- Crossover: with The Annoying Orange in Epic Rap Battles of Kitchenry.
- Cuteness Proximity: NicePeter in the behind the scenes video of Cleopatra Vs. Marilyn Monroe.NicePeter: *holding tiny snake* You are the smallest snake I've ever even dreamed about!
- Dance Party Ending: A lot of the battles like to have the characters just dancing at the end. Among the more notable examples are "Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs", "Rasputin vs. Stalin", and "Donald Trump vs. Ebeneezer Scrooge". From the 2nd season on, almost all of them show the characters dancing in the credits. Their second channel features a few Dance Battles of History to the tunes of their battles.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Darth Vader doesn't give Adolf Hitler a chance to finish rapping his second verse in Round 3. He just sneaks up behind him and cuts him in half with his lightsaber.
- Death Glare: Mister Rogers ends his second verse with a very scary one.
- Deliberately Monochrome: See Retraux below.
- Designated Girl Fight: Four examples at this point:
- The Disease That Shall Not Be Named: "You played butthole roulette and you lost the draw!"
- Disproportionate Retribution Josef Stalin."You got off easy when they pickled that moose cock; I'd leave your neck in a noose in a trench and shot, your whole family: shot, all your wizard friends: shot, anyone who sold you pierogi: shot!"
- The Dog Bites Back: At some point during each of their verses Spielberg, Hitchcock, Tarantino and Kubrick disparage Michael Bay, only for him to turn up a minute from the end and cheerfully tear them all to shreds.
- Don't Try This at Home: In the behind-the-scenes video for Cleopatra vs. Marilyn Monroe, Lloyd shows off a Vader vs Hitler shirt and tells viewers not to wear it at school because it might get them expelled.
- Dude, Not Funny!: Invoked by Frank Sinatra at being addressed with two slurs."Easy, Jaws of Life! I can't stand a racist; I love the colored and the queers - just ask Sammy Davis!"
- Dummied Out: A commercial advertising ERB played in theaters the weekend before the release of George Washington vs. William Wallace. While the commercial mainly showed footage of Al Capone vs. Blackbeard and Mozart vs. Skrillex, there was a Freeze-Frame Bonus of William Wallace lifting up his kilt and showing his digitally censored manhood underneath. This scene isn't shown in the battle itself or the behind the scenes.
- Dynamic Entry: Abraham Lincoln flies in on a bald eagle, free falls between Romney and Obama (calling them 'shiny turds') and bitch slaps them both. They never saw it coming.
- Early-Bird Cameo: The first season finale gives viewers a glimpse of the Super Mario Bros., King Henry VIII, and Master Chief. ERB News also revealed the Wright Brothers, Elvis, and Steve Jobs. Henry VIII did not show up anywhere in Season 2.
- "Rick Grimes VS Walter White" briefly shows that Superman and Edgar Allan Poe will be contestants in the "More Battles" section (but obviously not against each other). The battle immediately after that also has another preview showing Isaac Newton.
- The BTS for the season 3 finale has Walt D in con footage, before they picked him to participate in the first video of season 4.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Season 1 in general is pretty weird compared with posterior seasons. Cases in point:
- Most of the early rap battles put characters against each other who seem very randomly picked. In later episodes they have more in common with each other and thus seem more fit to oppose one another: they have the same profession, are similar icons, have similar sounding names, were real life rivals, or are similar characters from a different franchise.
- The announcer had a different voice for the first few battles.
- The lyrics for the first battles weren't as refined and contained a lot of cursing. This was rectified in later seasons.
- Lennon vs. O'Reilly, the first battle, lacks the subtitles and was originally censored.
- Abe Lincoln vs. Chuck Norris is the only battle the announcer does not kick off by shouting "BEGIN!"
- Kim Jong-il vs the Mega Powers is the only match where a person who comes in during the middle is announced by the announcer. It also uses a different font for the subtitles than all the other battles.
- E = MC Hammer: In Shakespeare vs. Doctor Seuss, during the Cat in the Hat's line about "you leave a classroom looking like the end of MacBeth", the blackboard in the background has the equation "1 + 2 = SO MUCH BLOOD".
- Epic Fail: Hitler claims that Vader's entire life is one big this. Vader doesn't have any comeback other than laughing as Hitler steps over the Rancor pit before dropping him in.
- Evasive Fight Thread Episode: It is nearly impossible to come to a consensus over who "wins" each rap battle. Everyone's rap style and lyrics are determined by their popular image, so each side will also sound wildly different and some matchups will feel more equal then others. In addition, the raps are accompanied by dramatic elements and special effects that are either indicating the current rapper's superiority, or are just for fun, and this further confuses the issue. The episodes themselves leave the winner up to the viewers, but the YouTube commentators don't even bother, typically just suggesting ideas for the next battle.
- Finally averted when ERB allowed viewers to vote on Facebook and on their official site, leading to an official winner.
- Elvis Impersonator: EpicLLOYD as Elvis.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Rasputin says that what Stalin did to Russia was a disgrace.
- Even Hannibal Lecter, a sociopathic cannibal, thinks that Jack the Ripper saying he's more terrifying than the 7/7 terrorist bombing is going too far.
- Evil Laugh: Genghis Khan for the intimidation.
- Eviler Than Thou:
- The basis of the Hitler vs. Vader matches is who is worse than the other.
- An inversion (Gooder Than Thou?) happens with Gandhi vs. Martin Luther King Jr. - each is trying to out-peace the other.
- Evil Versus Evil: Adolf Hitler vs. Darth Vader is what happens when card carrying villains rap battle.
Hannibal Lecter: I don't mind that you're naughty, Jack; I hate that you're sloppy!
- Blackbeard vs. Al Capone could very well be described as Chaotic Evil vs. Neutral Evil.
- Jack the Ripper vs. Hannibal Lecter, where Lecter brags about his refined style while Jack points out that, unlike Lecter, he's real, killed actual people and "never got caught."
- Fandom Berserk Button: Invoked in the opening lines of "Doctor Who vs. Doc Brown".Announcer: DOC BROWN! VERSUS! DOCTOR WHO! BEGIN!
10th Doctor: Ooh actually, if you don't mind, it's just "the Doctor".
- Fanservice Extra: The two girls at the end of "Moses vs Santa Claus".
- First Name Ultimatum: Mr. Rogers gives one of these to Mr T.Mr. Rogers: I'll say this once Laurence, I hope it's understood. Get right back in your van and get the fuck outta my neighborhood.
- Five Second Foreshadowing: The YouTube thumbnail for Zeus vs. Thor shows the participants' weapons (thunderbolt and hammer, respectively), and the title card is indeed on-screen for all of five seconds: it's written in LEGO, on a large red peg-board, the first clue that this particular battle is Built With LEGO.
- Flipping the Bird:
- Lady Gaga flips off Sarah Palin a split second before the battle begins. John McCain flips off the whole world at the end.
- Master Chief gives a long one to Leonidas at the end of his rap.
- Barack Obama stealthfully does this to Mitt Romney. While commenting on how it would be awkward to have a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Lady, he counts off with his middle finger, pinky, and ring finger, in that order.
- Bruce Lee gives Clint Eastwood both fingers. "KUNG F-U!"
- Look at the background in Pablo Picasso vs. Bob Ross battle, and you'll see Pablo sketching a hand with extended middle finger.
- Jack the Ripper performs the British version of this gesture at the end of his second verse.
- Michael Bay gives an epic double deuce to the other combatants (who dissed him throughout the entire rap battle) while a nuclear explosion goes off in the background.
- Flung Clothing: EpicLloyd changes out of his gym outfit in this way.
- How Lance Armstrong removes his suit in his battle. The BTS shows it to be a velcro breakaway.
- A Foggy Day in London Town: The atmosphere during the Sherlock Holmes scenes in the battle between him and Batman and during the Jack the Ripper scenes in the battle between him and Hannibal Lecter.
- The teaser at the end of Season One included a supposed ultimatum by Vladimir Putin that if Season Two doesn't feature a Russian he will kill Nice Peter with his bare hands. There aren't any until the Season Finale, which features a match between Russians (four of them and a Georgian, to be exact, including Nice Peter as Putin).
- Ben Franklin makes several death threats to Billy Mays, promising to "craft a lyrical coffin", telling him to "join or die", and referencing "Death of a Salesman". At first, this just seems like the usual hip-hop trash talk, but then Billy dies.
- Stephen Hawking's silhouette is visible right at the start of the Vader vs. Hitler rematch.
- Shakespeare vs. Doctor Seuss: During Seuss's first verse, a blackboard in the background alludes to Things 1 and 2 showing up later.
- Santa Claus has Mozart on his naughty list for being "TOO DANG LOUD", in his own words. A few videos later, Mozart squares off against Skrillex, who's also been accused of being too dang loud.
- Picasso refers to Muhammad Ali in his opening verse - who is one of the featured characters of the very next battle.
- Steven Spielberg calls Michael Bay a "schlep" with no Oscars, Alfred Hitchcock comments on the clunky acting in Transformers, Quentin Tarantino calls Bay a "sell-out", and Stanley Kubrick calls the Ninja Turtles a "waste of potential". Guess who shows up for the last verse?
- Follow the Leader: A handful of people have done copycat videos based off the concept, usually low-budget single person productions. Some are good, but most are forgettable.
- For the Evulz:
- The reason Hitler gives for messing up the Star Wars prequels.
- Darth only thawed Hitler out for their rematch and to drop him into the Rancor Pit.
- Four Is Death: Jack the Ripper vs. Hannibal Lecter is the fourth rap battle of Season 4. And the first four-man battle of season 4 ends in Kill 'em All.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus:
- There's often so much going on the screen that some of the humor can be missed. For instance, Kim Jong-Il's rocket launcher fires his own head.
- Outside of the raps, the first two videoes in season three after the December-May hiatus have both had at least one split-second shot of a future battle in the "more battles" section. This marks the first time the series has had any such previews.
- Funny Background Event: Most of the battles have the characters doing ridiculous dances and/or poses in the background:
- Dr. Seuss vomits rainbows while on the boat.
- Stephen Hawking is seen playing Angry Birds.
- Behind the Wright Brothers, you can see biplanes flying, and at one point one crashing into the ground.
- At the end of Romney's first verse, it looks like he's... really going for distance on that kick.
- Obama with his head down and looking like he'd just been scolded by his mother while Lincoln moves on to chewing out Romney.
- While the Fourth Doctor is rapping, look at the computer screen behind him on the TARDIS control panel. It's Minecraft! Specifically, it's video footage from the Yogscast Minecraft Series.
- In Columbus vs. Captain Kirk, after Kirk says "Have fun canoeing", he can be seen behind Columbus doing a rowing motion.
- One of the ninjas that Bruce Lee beats collapses onto the borderline between Lee's and Eastwood's screens, and the part of him that falls into Eastwood's screen changes into a cowboy. Apparently they have one-size-fits-all Mooks that dynamically change to fit the scene. The effect is repeated later in the episode, when a desperado, sneaking behind Eastwood, turns into a creeping ninja when he crosses the divide.
- Stalin can be seen looking down at his hand after Lenin points out how it shriveled up.
- Rasputin can be seen dancing in place to the beat during Gorbachev and Putins' verses
- More generally, the non-rappers can be seen in the background with a facial expression of mild surprise, which is funnier than if they were violently reacting to being insulted. During Putin's verse, Gorby can be seen to be making a "is that bacon I smell?" face.
- In Al Capone's last verse, Edward Kenway is briefly seen standing with the gangsters behind him, and then starts assassinating Blackbeard's crew towards the end.
- Additionally, during Blackbeard's second verse, you can see Blackbeard's pirates stealing from Capone. "Pilfer all your rum and sell it at a profit" indeed.
- In Rick Grimes vs. Walter White, Walter distracts a zombie with a bag of meth at the beginning of his second verse. At the very end, the zombie walks behind him tweaking out.
- During Donald Trump v. Ebenezer Scrooge, there is a clock on the mantle of the fireplace in Scrooge's background that begins the battle showing the time as midnight, which would follow the original story of Marley's ghost appearing at that time. It speeds up an hour before each of the three ghosts show up: it is one o'clock at the first ghost's appearance, two o'clock at the second ghost, and three o'clock with the last ghost.
- At a point during Michael Bay's verse, you can see him throwing his director's chair.
- Also, when he says "Got a gift from above and the eyes of an eagle", an eagle is seen flying behind him, which promptly explodes.
- Fun with Subtitles:
- In Kirk Vs Columbus, the word Klingon is written in Klingon.
- When Luigi's profanity is censored by the sound of collected coins, the subtitles also use the image of coins from the Mario Bros games as a form of censorship.
- The word suka ("bitch") in Rasputin vs. Stalin is written in Cyrillic.
- Gang Up on the Human: A musical variation happens when Ebenezer Scrooge (Human) fights against Donald Trump, JP Morgan, Kanye West, and The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (Ghosts).
- Gender Scoff: The whole point of Adam vs. Eve is Man vs. Woman, with both complaining about each other's flaws.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The Zeus vs. Thor battle was done with Lego characters, but despite this attractive setting for minors there is still vulgar language used and reference to rape (though the latter is in line with the actual mythological stories).
- Global Ignorance: Hulk Hogan apparently thought Beijing was in Korea, not China. Kim Jong-Il does not let that one slide.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere:
- Hal 9000, in a way. Watch Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates all the way to the end, and you'll find no comments calling for battle involving him.
- Abraham Lincoln during "Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney", arriving being carried by a giant bald eagle.
- According to NicePeter, any historical figure can interrupt a rap battle at any time, if they're being carried by a winged beast.
- Gone Horribly Right: Everything Bill Gates has done leads to HAL 9000... and Bill seems to realize it.
- Gratuitous French:
- Gratuitous Russian: Vladimir Putin calls Rasputin, Stalin, Lenin, and Gorbachev "bitch" in Russian.
- Groin Attack:
- In round three, Hitler vows to kick Vader's balls (and face).
- Stalin also references the historical removal of Rasputin's "moose cock."
- Batman threatens to crush Sherlock Holmes's "British nuts until they're bangers and mash."
- There are many references to how William Wallace was castrated during his execution, and George Washington outright threatens to knee him in the "moose knuckle."
- Hannibal Lecter vows to roast Jack the Ripper's balls on a Hibachi.
- Thor mimics a move made famous in the trailer for Thor: The Dark World to pull this on a frost giant's (pixelated) junk, and later threatens to kick Zeus's "wrinkly dick back in [his] toga".
- Oprah threatens to "lodge [her] fabulous shoe up [Ellen's] suit pants," which could be this or Ass Shove.
- Handicapped Badass:
- Attentive viewers will notice that Hawking is playing Angry Birds on the console he uses to speak. Without using his hands.
- Darth Vader is technically an example of this trope because of his life-support armor.
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: The entire premise; historical figures outhamming each other through raps.
- Hashtag Rap: In Darth Vader's first verse in "Hitler vs. Vader 2".
- Henpecked Husband: Adam complains multiple times about how Eve never shuts up or stops nagging him over Every. Last. Little. Detail.
- Hilarious Outtakes: Behind the scenes, NicePeter (as Columbus) accidentally smacks Omar Gharaibeh (as Spock) in the face while delivering a neck chop.
- Hipster: While dressing up as Skrillex, Lloyd says that all you need are a pair of black glasses and magnetic earrings and you'll look like one.
- Historical Badass Upgrade: Some of the rappers, but especially Abraham Lincoln.
- Historical In-Joke: So many, with them almost all very well researched.
- Hit You So Hard Your X Will Feel It: Columbus will beat Kirk so bad, they'll feel it in The Next Generation.
- Honest Corporate Executive:
- Donald Trump vs. Ebeneezer Scrooge features J.P. Morgan, the Ghost of Rich Dudes Past.
- Bill Gates. His battle with Steve Jobs is by far the least hostile in the series. He even refers to Jobs as his friend after Jobs ascends. He also brags about having given away more than his opponent's net worth to AIDS research. Jobs probably also qualifies, given that he ascends to Heaven at the end.
- Hong Kong Dub: Clint Eastwood mocks Bruce Lee about this, saying he needs to practice more on matching his lip flaps.
- Hurricane Kick: Xin Wuku pulls of one perfectly in the behind the scenes.
- Hurricane of Puns:
- "Nikola Tesla vs. Thomas Edison" is filled with numerous electricity, internet, and light bulb puns.
- Albert Einstein's first verse.Albert Einstein: When I apply my battle theory, minds are relatively blown.
So take a seat, Steve. Oop, I see you brought your own.
What's with your voice? I can't frickin' tell!
You sound like WALL-E having sex with a Speak & Spell!
I'll school you anywhere, MIT to Oxford.
All your fans will be like, "Um, that was Hawk-ward!"
I'm as dope as two rappers. You better be scared!
'Cause that means Albert E equals MC squared!
- Both of Martin Luther King's verses:Martin Luther King: I'm the King of civil rights from the city to suburbia.
No shoes, no shirt, but I'm still gonna serve ya!
Make ya swallow your words so you can break the fast,
Then thank God almighty you can eat at last.
I admire the way you broke the British power,
But I have a dream that one day you'll take a shower!
Like the 'H' in your name, you ought to remain silent.
Flatten your style like bread-naan violence.
I've got so much street cred, they write my name on the signs!
I'd ring ya for tech support, but I got a no-bell prize!
Nigga, we got more beef than one of your sacred cows,
But I'm about to forgive you so hard right now!
- Superman's verses also qualify:Superman: Who can stop this constipated jock,
With the awful animation and the complicated plot?
Who's got the rap bombs to drop on Japan?
This looks like a job for the OG... Superman!
I'm killing it; you're Krillin it. I'm villainous to vegetables
Who dance around in hammer pants that hide their tiny genitals!
My level is incredible! I'm out of your league!
You want justice? I'll bust this nut up in your Chi Chi!
Greasy, slick emcee from DC!
With one breath I'll freeze your whole measly species!
You're primitive and limited. You live in a village of idiots!
Step in Metropolis, I'll snap a carrot, period!
Ha ha! Your rapping is weaker than your fight scenes.
Just one punch and over nine thousand screams!
I'll make your nose bleed like Roshi sniffing panties.
From Z to GT, you can Dragon Ball deez!
- Stephen King indulges in one in his first verse.Stephen King: Oh, you wanna talk shop, you gothed-out fop?
Go back to Hot Topic and shop for a top!
There's a melancholy alcoholic laughingstock
In the King's house; now watch the Castle Rock!
Pouty little poet with an opiate affliction.
I'm a workaholic with a fiction addiction!
I'm making dedicated readers shivery and jittery.
Feel that Rage and Misery!
You better start Running Man. You're in deep poo, Poe!
I'm a mad dog, fangs Shining, Cujo!
Tommyknock you down till you can't Stand up.
You're as soft as Po, the Kung Fu Panda!
Racks on racks 'cause I pen fat stacks of frightening writing. Have you seen the pile?
I can even take a break from my routine style.
Crank out a Shawshank or a Green Mile!
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!
- As does Thor:Thor: Allow Thor to retort, you shape-shifting rapist!
And get a taste of this Scandinavian greatness,
Brought forth by my raging thunderstorm force.
'Cause I don't get nice, I get Norse! (Noirse!)
Valhalla-atcha boy and we'll flyte it out!
But keep your Asgard up, I Ragnarök the house!
You tongue kiss your sister, that's grosser than a Gorgon!
I'm the thunder down under; nailing Natalie Portman!
Who would ever worship someone as abusive as Zeus is?
You're ruthless to humans, your crew is like the clash of the douches!
Ruling over the Greeks, a people weak and frightened.
I'd spit in your face but you'd probably like it!
- I Am Not Shazam: Invoked, The Doctor corrects the Narrator on calling him Doctor Who.
- Incoming Ham:
- Abraham Lincoln during the Romney/Obama battle"BY THE POWER INVESTED IN ME BY THIS GIANT BALD BIRD"
- The announcer barely even gets to finish opening the second battle before..."I AM ADOLF HITLER, COMMANDER OF ZE THIRD REICH!"
- Steve Jobs ensured he didn't get to finish at ALL.Announcer: Bill Gates! VS!
Jobs: Lemme just step right in, I got things to INVENT!
- In Spielberg vs Hitchcock, Michael Bay butts in on Stanley Kubrick while flying in on a helicopter at sunset (one of his tropes), and it just gets less and less kosher from there.
- Abraham Lincoln during the Romney/Obama battle
- Informed Ability: Elvis claims to have 1 rap for Michael Jackson's monkey, 2 for his clothes, 3 for his family, and 4 for his nose. Besides some cracks about his abusive father and his relationship to his wife, he ends up making fun of some completely different traits of his instead.
- Interrupted by the End: The end of "Donald Trump vs. Ebeneezer Scrooge".
- Insistent Terminology: The title of the rap battle calls The Doctor "Doctor Who", but as he points out in his first line, it's just The Doctor.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Peter and Lloyd admit there is nothing cooler than just having a folder called "Ninja" to refer to when editing videos.
- Insult Backfire: Skrillex tries to call Mozart weird for his obsession over scatological humor. Mozart turns it back on him by referring to Skrillex's music as "skrill-excrement" and "diarrhea".
- Insurance Fraud: Al Capone threatens to burn down Blackbeard's boat for the insurance money.
- Iron Butt Monkey: Adolf Hitler survives being frozen in carbonite in the first battle and dropped into the Rancor pit in the second. He appears to have been Killed Off for Real by being cut in half in the third. He does continue to scream afterwards, but that's probably just Rule of Funny.
- Irony: Sir Isaac Newton, in his first verse against Bill Nye, criticizes him for wasting his time debating creationists. Sir Isaac Newton himself was a creationist, making this inadvertent self-deprecation.note
- I Take Offense to That Last One: Marty McFly only seems to object to the Fourth Doctor referring to him as a chicken, not his earlier insinuation that he has an oedipal complex.
- Jaw Drop:
- Jerkass: Some rappers come off as this.
- Thomas Edison is a greedy, idea-stealing, and Tesla-smearing jerkass. He's an absolute jerkass in fact.
- Josef Stalin, who shows no remorse for his actions, and even brags about leaving his own son to die in prison.
- Adolf Hitler, naturally considering he is considered one of the most evil men (if not the most evil) in Earth's history.
- Jack the Ripper, who not only brags about murdering people but also favorably compares himself to modern terrorists. He's such a jerk that even Hannibal Lecter calls him on it.
- Jerkass Gods: The Greek pantheon, according to Thor. While excellently researched, this part is an error since the Norse pantheon were no less jerky than the Greek ones; it's the main reason why Loki gets so much Draco in Leather Pants. Thor's father Odin was guilty of everything and more that he accuses to Zeus. Thor in the original myths, while less of a jerk, was also hardly all that flattering himself.
- Thor: Who would ever worship someone as abusive as Zeus is? You're ruthless to humans; your crew is like the Clash of the Douches!
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- Lampshaded by Abraham Lincoln in "Obama vs. Romney". Lincoln accuses Romney of being a flip-flopper and only caring about money rather than the country, but also agrees with him that Obama hasn't made any meaningful change in his time in office.
- Referenced in "Ghostbusters vs. Mythbusters", when the Mythbusters point out that, as much of a dick as Walter Peck was, he was right that the Ghostbusters were doing some shady shit.
- Thomas Edison is unabashedly a massive Jerkass, but he notes in his second verse that without him, there would be no Epic Rap Battles of History.
- Joke Character:
- Even the narrator sighs when he introduces the Easter Bunny.
- The Easter Bunny's battle set up Mr. Rogers to look like this, but ultimately averted it, leading to his opponent, Mr. T., being the second lowest ranked on the official website.
- Just Here for Godzilla: In-universe, during their Rap battle, Epic Lloyd invokes this as the reason people visit Nice Peter's YouTube channel.
- Kiai: Bruce Lee doesn't need words to fight Clint Eastwood, when he can just say "waaataaaw" instead.
- Kids Rock: Young Michael Jackson, played by 10-year-old Bentley Green.
- Killed Mid-Sentence:
- Darth Vader barely gives Adolf Hitler a chance to say his name, nevermind finishing his second verse in round 3. He sliced him in half with his lightsaber. Hitler never saw it coming. Then again, Boba Fett wasn't expecting to be shot dead in the middle of his verse either.
- Bonnie and Clyde get gunned down by the Feds while Clyde talks about how they've got each other's backs.
- Kill 'em All: "Bonnie and Clyde vs. Romeo and Juliet" ends with R&J dead by their own hands and B&C gunned down.
- Killer Rabbit: What the Easter Bunny claims to be.
- Kissing Cousins: Skrillex claims that Mozart and his cousin Maria Anna Thekla engaged in more than kissing.
- The Knights Who Say Squee: Peter and Lloyd got "Weird Al" Yankovic for a rap battle. Lloyd reveals in the Behind The Scenes that both of them have been huge fans of his music for all their lives. Lloyd starts singing "Yoda", saying it's the song he grew up on.
- Kubrick Stare: Dr. Seuss has a frightening one. Given that he never says a word...
- Hannibal Lecter naturally does this during his verses.
- Stanley Kubrick does this at the beginning of his verse.
- Lampshade Hanging:
Hannibal Lecter: Jack, you're a classic megalomaniac.
- Shakespeare's first verse is in iambic pentameter. Likewise, Edgar Allen Poe's first verse is in trochaic octameter. Both of them take notice.Shakespeare: I hath been iambic on that ass, ye bastard.
Edgar Allen Poe: I will choke this joker with a trochee 'til his cheeks are teary!
- Hannibal Lecter calls Jack the Ripper out for the mistakes he made in the battle.
You haven't mentioned me once in your entire battle rap!
Pity your verse wasn't worth the trip in the jacket,
Quit jacking off on the track and put the lotion in the basket!
No, no, Jack, you were doing fine,
Before your ham-fisted attempt at a terrorist line!
How typical of Jack the Ripper to chase a headline!
Pick Ray Liotta's brain and ask him how I get mine.
- Shakespeare's first verse is in iambic pentameter. Likewise, Edgar Allen Poe's first verse is in trochaic octameter. Both of them take notice.
- Large Ham: As this is a show about rap battles between large personalities, this is expected.
- Hitler, Genghis Khan, Mr. T, Leonidas, Luigi, Freddie Mercury, and Martin Luther King Jr.
- Also, Lincoln. Especially so in Romney vs. Obama.Abraham Lincoln: Of the people! By the people! For the people! EAGLE!!!
- Chuck Norris, Beethoven, Mozart, Skrillex, Columbus, Lance Armstrong, Darth Vader, O'Reilly, and Tesla too.
- The Season 4 mid-season finale proved that five of the best directors of our time definitely had huge egos. Especially Michael Bay.
- Vladimir Lenin and Teddy Roosevelt. Oh god, Teddy Roosevelt. Almost everything he says in the ERB News he hosts comes out hammy.Teddy Roosevelt: POLARIZING NEWS!!!
- They're just the worst. Almost everyone to appear in these vids is hamming it up, though HAL 9000 is a notable exception. As is Vladimir Putin, who doesn't seem all too excited.
- Lethal Joke Character:
- Note the tinny music that plays when Mr. Rogers is introduced... which then turns into the regular rap music as Mr. Rogers lets out a chilling rap against Mr T.
- In the "Rasputin vs. Stalin" episode, Gorbachev is presented as a smiling, jovial, gentler, and downright adorable Russian leader — who promptly serves Rasputin, Stalin, and Lenin.
- From the second season battles onward, the music will be slightly varied when it's a different participant rapping.
- In "Nikola Tesla vs. Thomas Edison", the synth riff is lower in pitch for Edison.
- Virtually any musical combatant will add elements of their style to the rap:
- In "Mozart vs. Skrillex", the beat is more dubstep-y for Skrillex. When Mozart's rapping however, a violin is prominently featured.
- In "Beiber vs. Beethoven", two Beethoven pieces are sampled. Beiber's music uses Fur Elise, while Beethoven's utilizes Beethoven's 5th.
- Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley both bring elements from their music (and age) to their raps.
- "Donald Trump vs. Ebeneezer Scrooge" brings three different styles. Donald Trump gets one all for himself, then it shifts for Ebenezer and J.P. Morgan. Kanye West's appearance basically counts as a musical Genre Shift, which plays out for the rest of the battle.
- William Wallace gets backed up by bagpipes for sections of his verses.
- In "Ghostbusters vs. MythBusters", the Ghostbusters' verses have a theremin sound in the background, while the MythBusters' lines are backed by drawn-out guitar chords like on their show.
- Romeo and Juliet's verses are accompanied with violin chords and jingle bells.
- Spielberg vs Hitchcock had individual scores for the five different directors, with Spielberg's having the sweeping instrumentals of his big-budget blockbuster, while Hitchcock had more classical-sounding music for his more simpler yet beautiful and effective scores. Tarantino had much grittier, street-wise beats, and Kubrick's was more spacey and artsy, including a rendition of "Also Sprach Zarathustra", the opening music from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Finally, Bay's music was just as bombastic and triumphant as he makes his own films, and their scores, to be. Yet each score had their own underlying elements that connected them together.
- Let's Get Dangerous:
- Beethoven after chucking over his piano.Beethoven: I'm committing verbal murder in the major third degree! My name is Beethoven, motherfucker, maybe you heard of me!
- Marilyn Monroe taking off her earrings in her second verse.
- Beethoven after chucking over his piano.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Just look at the Characters subpage. Every new rap battle always feature at least two different characters (except for the Adolf Hitler vs Darth Vader trilogy).
- Lonely at the Top: Bill Gates expresses sentiments in this vein after Steve Jobs ascends to a higher plane of existence.
- The Mafia: Freddie Mercury says it's no secret that Frank Sinatra is connected to them.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin:
- Napoleon Bonaparte spends two entire lines ragging on Napoleon Dynamite's apparent virginity, even finishing the battle with it, implying his younger adversary is going to lose because of it.
- Thomas Edison also points out that Tesla "never had sex".
- Justin Bieber, not known for being widely perceived as a manly man, claims to have "Kim Kardashian in [his] bed backstage."
- Subverted by Gandhi.Gandhi: I am celibate because I don't give a fuck!
- Marionette Master: Dr. Seuss "raps" through his characters, The Cat in the Hat and Thing 1 & Thing 2.
- Marilyn Maneuver: The lady herself shows us how it's done (In universe it's her, anyway).
- Meaningful Background Event:
- Look at Freddie Mercury's background as his verses go on. It starts out as a black sky with some almost invisible clouds, but as he continues and gets louder and hammier, we see flashes of light and the clouds become more visible. Compared to the usual consistent backgrounds, this is a neat touch.
- Edward Kenway appears in the background all through Capone's last verse, and is busy dispatching Blackbeard's crew when his name is dropped.
- During the Donald Trump vs. Ebenezer Scrooge battle, look at Scrooge's background, more precisely at his clock.During his verses it moves forward by a hour each, and the ghosts (JP Morgan, Kanye West and the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come) appear when it strikes 1, 2, and 3 respectively.
- During Zeus vs Thor, Odin can clearly be seen in the back of the Asgard scenes, but he does nothing despite being mentioned early on.
- Mêlée à Trois:
- Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates vs. HAL 9000
- Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney vs. Abraham Lincoln
- Rasputin vs. Stalin vs. Lenin vs. Gorbachev vs. Putin
- Ghostbusters vs. MythBusters vs. Stay Puft the Marshmallow Man
- Steven Spielberg vs. Alfred Hitchcock vs. Quentin Tarantino vs. Stanley Kubrick vs. Michael Bay
- Memetic Sex God: Invoked by Freddie Mercury;Freddie Mercury: When I ROCK the UK, South America gets horny!
Freddie Mercury: So kiss my ass Frankie, but you'll have to wait in line.
- And this one, accompanied by some highly suggestive facial expressions.
- Both Zeus and Thor claim this in their battle, but Zeus goes much farther and Thor outright calls him a "shapeshifting rapist."
- Metaphorgotten: The 10th Doctor: "You're not going to tear any holes in the fabric of space and time. Actually it's more like a rug, really.
- Midword Rhyme:Mario Bros.: Like POW!How ya like me now?Spit flames out our mouths like our name was Bow…ser!
- Monochrome Past:
- Hitler's verses are shot in monochrome. Until Vader Force Chokes him into his in-color side, that is.
- Also young Elvis.
- So is Marilyn Monroe.
- Martin Luther King Jr. stays monochrome even when he crosses over into Gandhi's setting.
- Babe Ruth.
- Lenin has a special version. It's red and white.
- Alfred Hitchcock too.
- Mood Whiplash: Jobs vs Gates starts like a normal battle. And then Jobs Ascends to a Higher Plane of Existence and HAL 9000 reveals himself.
- Moonwalk Dance:
- Naturally done by Michael Jackson when battling Elvis, after the line: "Watch me moonwalk and I step on your blue suede".
- It's done by Darth Vader in his first confrontation vs. Hitler for the style points.
- Motor Mouth:
- Youtube's greatest Motor Mouth George Watsky pulls this one off on three occasions (the Fourth Doctor, Edgar Allan Poe and the Bard himself) at impressive speed, even for typical Motor Mouth standards.
- Robin in Sherlock Holmes vs. Batman in contrast to the slower and more lower pitched Batman.
- Babe Ruth manages to rap in the style of a radio sports announcer and barely pauses for a breath once he starts.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic did to math equations what George Watsky did to Shakespeare. Both of Isaac Newton's verses are rather lengthy, but speed by pretty fast. However, in his 2nd verse, he prattles off a very complex math equation at super speed.
- My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Done by Pablo Picasso as part of a dis against Bob Ross:My name is Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso!
- Mythology Gag: Though the Turtles appear in their traditionally colored masks, when Mikey spits his first line, the three other Turtles appear from behind him all wearing their original red masks. note
- One within ERB itself - the apparently random spinning jump and Three-Point Landing Lego!Zeus does is the sort of thing they normally do with recurring guest, stuntman Xin Wuku.
- Never Work with Children or Animals: The BTS for Bob Ross vs Picasso implies that they were originally going to pan down to Bob (the wiener dog playing Lump) when Picasso mentioned him, but couldn't get Bob to stay still long enough to pull it off.Lloyd as Picasso: *chasing after Bob* He's too fast!
- News Parody: The first battle has a parody news ticker that shows up twice.
- Noble Bird Of Prey: A gigantic bald eagle makes an appearance in Obama vs. Romney as Abe Lincoln's way of getting to the battle."By the powers invested in me by this giant bald bird…"
- Nobody Calls Me Chicken: Marty McFly (as usual) during Doc Brown vs. Doctor Who.
- No Indoor Voice:
- Leonidas, The Announcer himself, Hitler, Lincoln, Chuck Norris, Genghis Khan, Billy Mays, Vince Offer, Mr. T, Luigi, and Goku.
- Lenin in Rasputin vs Stalin Justified, because he often did this in speeches in real life.
- Michelangelonote , of all people
- No Sense of Direction:
- Santa's elves give Moses a GPS, asking how it's possible for someone to get lost for 40 years.
- Captain Kirk asks Columbus when he's finally going to arrive at a place he set sail for.
- No Swastikas: Adolf Hitler's arm band sports a rock 'n' roll horns shaped symbol.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent:
- Most notably, Peter's John Lennon is missing his trademark Liverpudlian accent. Somewhat justified as it was the very first battle.
- Inverted in this case there wasn't an accent to begin with. Lloyd and Peter had to give Mike Diva (Bruce Lee) accent lessons to make him sound more Asian.
- Also, Rasputin appears to not have an accent, as does Lenin.
- No True Scotsman: Implied by Elvis of Michael.Elvis: I stole from black culture! Why are you offended?
- No, You:Obama: Oh yeah? Well, you're stupid.Romney: You're stupid!
- N-Word Privileges: Gandhi vs. Martin Luther King Jr. is the first rap battle to use the N word and it's spoken by MLK himself, of course.
- Offhand Backhand:
- Bruce Lee and Clint Eastwood pull off a lot of these, Bruce with ninjas and Clint with cowboys. They do so while rapping.
- Chuck Norris does this with some goons as well, not even paying attention to them.
- Once a Season: Hitler vs Vader and something horrible happening to the former.
- One Degree of Separation: Genghis Khan is quite proud that his genetics are now found all the way from New York to Japan.
- Only in It for the Money: Michael Bay's entire verse can be summed up as: "I don't care if my movies suck, I'm making bank!"
- Out-of-Genre Experience: Most of the rap battles are... er... rap battles, but so far, we have:
- Justin Bieber vs Beethoven, which samples liberally from Beethoven's oeuvre.
- Steve Jobs vs Bill Gates, which is house.
- Frank Sinatra vs Freddie Mercury, which is heavily influenced by Queen's Genre-Busting style, specifically the operatic and hard rock.
- Mozart vs Skrillex, which emulates both artists' styles very well.
- Jack the Ripper vs Hannibal Lecter doesn't change style musically, but the visuals are reminiscent of supernatural horror films.
- Overly Long Name: Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso takes up much of one of his verses just saying out his name.
- Pædo Hunt:
Mr. T: So before you come to battle with your PBS crap, how 'bout I call up CPS about them kids on your lap, foo'!Elvis: Cause all you wanna do is teach kids the birds and the bees!
- Courtesy of Mr T:
You're a possibly pedophilic individual who should have never been born!
- And there's also the Fourth Doctor:
You need to stop breaking into houses and creeping
- Moses gets this on Santa twice:
And peeping on naughty kids while they sleeping
Thou shalt not let children sit on a grown man's lap at the mall
- And later:
- Parody Assistance: Skrillex appeared in a live version of the rap battle in which he was featured, and a removed ERB news was hosted by Hulk Hogan.
- Parody Episode: NicePeter and Daneboe teamed up to give us The Annoying Orange VS M&M in Epic Rap Battles Of Kitchenry.
- Perception Filter: By the time you get around to Hitler Vs. Vader 3, you're probably so used to seeing suggestions for the battle you just saw during the closing line, that unrelated comments such as "is that pewdiepie" and "BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUH :(" pass without notice.
- Pirate: Blackbeard is a Type 1; pure evil and very dangerous.
- Piss-Take Rap: Done very intentionally. Captain Kirk, being done in the typical parody standard of William Shatner, is the most obvious … and it works.
- Place Worse Than Death: Thomas Edison claims that he's so dope he makes New Jersey look good.
- Playing with Fire: Gandhi has "Raps so hot, he spits Yoga Fire!" (though it's shown coming out of his palm and not his mouth).
- Precision F-Strike: Almost every single video has at least one well-placed curse word in there somewhere. Examples include:Chuck Norris: I AM CHUCK FUCKING NORRIS!Lady Gaga: You are the sum of everything I despise, with the most dysfunctional family since the Jackson FUCKING Five!Beethoven: My name is Beethoven, MOTHERFUCKER, maybe you've heard of me!Kirk: You … spaghetti-eating FUCK!NicePeter: You've got as much music talent as Chuck FUCKING Norris!NicePeter: FUCK the rap battles and you, I quit!Adolf Hitler: Now stand at attention, and Sieg FUCKING Heil!Marylin Monroe: I had some ugly boys, but you're forgetting the others—Marlon Brando and the Kennedys, while you FUCKED your own brothers!Steve Jobs: I need to bring up some basic SHIT, why you'd name your company after your dick?Mr. Rogers: I'll say this once, Laurence, I hope it's understood, get right back in your van and get the FUCK out of my neighborhood.Chuck Norris: I wear a black belt on the beard that I grow on my DICK!Clint Eastwood: Those little dances you do don't threaten me, Bruce. FUCK you, dude, I even squint better than you.Bruce Lee: A man who argues with people who aren't even there is more fit to rap against THIS FUCKING CHAIR!Gandhi: I am passively resisting the fact that you suck. I am celibate because I don't give a FUUUUUUUUCCCCCCK.
Goku: YOUR POWERS HAVE BEEN BORING SINCE THE NINETEEN FUCKING FORTIES!Michael Bay: MOTHER FUCKING MONEY!!! (This appears to be his catchphrase)
Donald Trump: So when the clock strikes, prepare to enter a world of Christmas pain, 'cause I'm out! I've got my own F***ing problems, call me 2 Chainz.
- Donald Trump's Precision F Strike is audibly muted and censored in the subtitles.
- Product Placement:
- "Blackbeard vs. Al Capone" starts and ends by giving thanks to Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Edward Kenway is even mentioned in the lyrics AND seen in the background behind both Capone and Blackbeard, eventually killing a few pirates in traditional assassin style, not to mention the other subtle references to the game.
- Lloyd spends a good minute advertising for a company that donated 100% organic, fully compostable eating utensils and dishware in the BTS of Donald Trump vs. Ebeneezer Scrooge. He even points out the company's address with a full display on the screen.
- In the announcement for "Season 3.5" Teddy Roosevelt wants to make sure everyone knows about the US government's new healthcare website, although he calls it "POLARIZING NEWS" and says he doesn't "give a damn" whether viewers like or hate it, as long as they know about it.
- Psychic Strangle: Darth Vader uses this on Adolf Hitler during their first rap battle.
- Pun: While not usually part of one of the rap battles themselves, Charles Darwin hosts ERB News and spits out two of them.Lloyd: "Wanna buy some heroin(e)? (nod at Joan of Arc) Geddit?"
Picasso: I could make better art with my wiener... (camera zooms out to reveal him holding a wiener dog) Lump!
- In-battle, Pablo gets one during Bob Ross Vs Pablo Bicasso, while the camera is framing only his head and shoulders.
On behalf of us all here at Epic Rap Battles of History, thank you for choosing youtube.com/ERB. It is, after all, a natural selection.
- Another BTS (Rick Grimes vs Walter White) has Peter as Rick claiming he eats his breakfast at Carl Jr's. You really need to follow his show for this one.
- Charles Darwin in one news video.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Naturally, used by Leonidas.
- Clint Eastwood punctuated the end of his first verse with bullets.
- Rage Quit: In EpicLloyd vs.NicePeterLloyd: "I'm gonna knock you right out of your little Superman socks! You were nothing before you rode up on KassemG's jock'!Peter: "Man, you don't even need to say that kind of shit. Fuck the rap battles and you, I quit."
- Rated M for Manly:
- Hitler vs Vader (all three battles)
- Lincoln vs Chuck Norris
- Kim Jong-Il vs Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage
- Leonidas vs Master Chief
- Bruce Lee vs Clint Eastwood
- Lance Armstrong vs Babe Ruth
- Goku vs. Superman
- Reaching Between the Lines: Bill Gates puts his hand through an iPad by hitting it with an iPhone (iPwn) and hits Steve with said iPhone (iSmack).
- Real Men Cook:
- Blink and you'll miss it, but after Napoleon (Bonaparte) threatens to beat Napoleon (Dynamite) "so bad they'll make a virgin meringue," the former briefly appears in chef's garb, whisking something in a bowl.
- Walter White cooks a dish called "Blue Sky," which is, of course, meth.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
Lincoln: *To Obama* You! I wanna like you! Don't talk about change, just do it! I fought for what was on my brain until a bullet went through iiiiit! *To Romney* And you! Moneybags! You're a pancake, you're flip-floppity! It's a country, not a company, you can play like Monopoly!
- Abe Lincoln interrupts the battle between Romney and Obama to deliver one of these.
Babe Ruth: It's the bottom of the ninth against the Texan in a bathing suit, filled with more artificial ingredients than a Baby Ruth
- Babe Ruth also gives Lance Armstrong one of these with both barrels, in the rapid-fire style of a radio sports announcer. He takes four long sentences to nail Armstrong for forgetting "what real sportsmanship was!" before finally pausing for breath.
And it may be way too soon, but I'm calling my shot, and I'm not talking about those Italian syringes you brought
The Sultan of Swat'll knock you right outta the park and round the bases to the sound of uproaring applause
While you hang your head in shame and disgrace because you got lost and forgot what real sportsmanship was!
You're gonna die!
- Lenin delivers an awesome one to Josef Stalin about how communism was about bringing down social classes and benefit the proletariat, yet he used it to hop himself to power, and stopped a great revolution.
- The Ghost of Christmas Future gives Ebenezer Scrooge a truly frightening one;
With no one to love you and no one to cry!
Alone by yourself on the bed of your death with the stench of regret on your last dying breath!
'Cause you've chosen the path of a selfish man
With Tiny Tim's innocent blood on your hands!
You Fool!! You think you can touch me with this?!
- Nikola Tesla gives an epic one to Thomas Edison in his second verse.
You could not handle my gifts with your greedy little mind!
What was inside of mine was ahead of its time!
YOU DID NOT STEAL FROM ME; YOU STOLE ME FROM MANKIND!
Don't you think I've heard those things before
- Freddie Mercury's first verse is one to Frank Sinatra:
You're just a bully who's too scared to go to war
You had a hit song called "My Way" but someone else wrote it
You're the least talented rat in your whole pack! of rodents!
You've got 4 notes in your whole range, you can't act and you can't dance!
I'm more powerful than you when I'm wearing women's pants!
Why do you stand there in a suit? It's like you're trying to bore me
When I rock the UK, South America gets horny
Because my songs have balls!
They're the anthems of victory!
Your music sounds like the soundtrack to a vasectomy
- Reference Overdosed: Each battle is brimful of references to all the things both celebrities are famous for, some of them told in the form of a quick pun or a throwaway line. Some lines will be things anyone with basic knowledge about the celebrity can get, others are more for the die-hard fans and/or people knowledgeable about the historical person. It also invites viewers to look up more about the people or characters battling each other in the video. The same goes for the actors portraying them.
- Reflective Eyes: EpicLloyd pulls off an impressive quick change backflip in the reflection of NicePeter's sunglasses.
- Reset Button: The Doc Brown vs. Doctor Who video is stuck in a time loop. The "EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORY" logo itself is used the exact same way at both the beginning and end of the video, at which point the video resets to give the Tenth Doctor another chance … but he just turns off the video with his sonic screwdriver.
- Retraux: Various people from history are presented through the lens(es) of their respective time periods:
- Anyone famous from the 1920s through the 1960s—including Babe Ruth, Marilyn Monroe, Martin Luther King Jr. and more—will be Deliberately Monochrome. note
- Hitler's verses until Vader uses the Force to bring him into his own screen. May double as Anachronism Stew when you notice that Vader claims that he came before Hitler, and all of his screentime is shot in color. Then again, he does hail from a galaxy far, far away.
- Martin Luther King Jr. stays in monochrome even when he crosses over into Gandhi's colored setting.
- The Wright Brothers have a grainy sepia tone and their audio is processed to sound like it was recorded on a phonograph.
- Aside from the fact that young Elvis is shot in monochrome, both old Elvis and young Michael are shown as if on 1970's television. Old Michael even has a special filter on him that makes him appear as in the '90s video clips.
- Freddie Mercury uses popular visual effects from the 70's—recalling the "Bohemian Rhapsody" video specifically.
- Bruce Lee vs Clint Eastwood has a retro colour filter for both contestants.
- A meta example in NicePeter vs. EpicLloyd; when Peter turns into John Lennon, the image quality of him is much poorer, as a reference to the poor image quality of the John Lennon vs. Bill O'Reilly video, as it was their first video and had only a $50 budget.
- Lenin is shown in red and white, making him appear as if he stepped out of a Russian Revolution-era propaganda poster.
- Anyone famous from the 1920s through the 1960s—including Babe Ruth, Marilyn Monroe, Martin Luther King Jr. and more—will be Deliberately Monochrome. note
- Retired Badass: Bob Ross served 20 years in the United States Air Force.
- The Reveal: The Narrator is a bear, apparently… That is, until he was next revealed to be a hippopotamus. Or a Giraffe. Or a snake.
- Rhymes on a Dime: Kanye West
You're an obese greasy sleaze squeezing a diseased Peter that no skeezer would touch if she had fifty-foot tweezers!
- And also the following quip Blackbeard made toward Al Capone:
- Rhyming with Itself:
Watson: Holmes, you've cracked the case!Sherlock: You're a batshit crazy basket case!
- In Sherlock Holmes vs. Batman, Sherlock does this.
"Even Horton doesn't wanna hear you - And Cindy Lou Who is afraid to go near you!
- The Cat In The Hat almost does this, with the rhyming part being the second-to-last word in each line.
Lenin: "Josef, you were supposed to be my right-hand man/but your loyalty shriveled up like your right hand, man!"
- "Rasputin vs Stalin" pulls this off.
Vader: I got a million clones, they die for me; my bounty hunters ride for me; yo homeboy, finish this rhyme for me!'''
- Vader in "Hitler vs. Vader 3" does this in his verse.
Vader: You wrote a little book, got em fired up. / Had a beer-hall putch, got em fired up. / And when your bunker started getting fired up / you put a gun in your mouth and fired up!
- Vader did it twice in that verse:
Kanye West:: Well you're about to be right! now! I'm the Ghost of What's Right! Now!
- Kanye West (The Ghost of What's Right Now) in Donald Trump vs. Ebeneezer Scrooge:
George Washington: There's a difference between you and me, Willy! I fought 'til I was actually free, Willy!
- At the beginning of "George Washington vs. William Wallace":
Michael Bay Set up shop and got a few drops of that Got Milk money, Rose to the Rock and got that socks made of silk money, I don't got that guilt money
- Michael Bay does this:
Oprah: I'm the queen of TV and I'm here to destroy ya. You should look under your seat because I got something for ya!
- Oprah Winfrey begins with this:
Poe: But y'all don't hear me, all should fear me! I'll forever be better, you'll never be near me!
- Edgar Allan Poe does this twice:
Poe: Stephen, you pretend to do it! I've been really living through it!
- Rule of Cool: Why Steve Jobs claims his machines are better than Bill Gates;Steve Jobs: A man uses the machines you build to sit down and pay his taxes. A man uses the machines I build to listen to the Beatles while he relaxes!
- Rule of Funny: Don't try to imagine how it would be possible for people from different time periods, franchises or media to battle one another, left alone how a fictional character can battle a Real Life person.
- Rule of Two: Natural since it's a battle between at least two people.
- Rule of Four: The Mario Brothers VS The Wright Brothers, Bonnie & Clyde VS Romeo & Juliet.
- Running Gag:
- Many of the battles feature one rapper threatening to choke the other with something that references the character (Jordan with Ali's "own jump rope," Mr. T with Mr. Rogers' "own sweater sleeves," etc.)
- In the behind the scenes videos, there's a running theme of Lloyd jokingly asking other people if they want to buy some heroin.
EpicLloyd: You know what's in that jetpack, don't you? [beat] Rocket fuel....AND HERO—!
- When he does this to Bentley Green, the kid starts shouting out for the police to help him. Cue Lloyd running for the exit.
- George Watsky plays the Heroin joke on him in the Behind the Scenes for Doc Brown vs. Doctor Who.
- Averted in Adam vs. Eve; nobody does the heroin joke in the Behind the Scenes.
- In the "Hitler vs. Vader 3" BTS, Lloyd speaks low to the camera:
Hey, hey, hey! All you want to hear is a heroin joke. Whatever.
- Invoked but Defied in the BTS of Michael Jordan vs. Muhammad Ali. Lloyd is trying to show off the snack table, including a cake that the catering lady brought in. When the camera wanders to look elsewhere, Lloyd calls them out on it before storming off.
- In Rick Grimes vs. Walter White's BTS, Peter informs Lloyd that, tragically, "the heroin joke didn't make it." Then they hold a melodramatic funeral for said joke, implying that we will never hear it again.
- Lloyd also sometimes dresses up in part of the costume and imitates the announcer.Lloyd: (with Gandalf's beard) "The Oakridge Boys Vs. ZZ Top!"
- There also seems to be one in the second season's behind the scenes videos of people not recognizing who one of the rappers is supposed to be, such as one man not realizing Lloyd was dressed as Mario.
- See Unusual Euphemism below. It's becoming a trademark of the series.
- "Spielberg vs. Hitchcock" has one Take That at Michael Bay in each verse. Even the last verse, Michael Bay's, is one of these, as it basically consists of him admitting he's Only in It for the Money and feels no shame over that.
- For the ERB News: "These are dates!" followed by merchandise advertising and closing with a non-sequitur.
- Scare 'Em Straight: The stinger from the Behind The Scenes video for Donald Trump vs. Ebeneezer Scrooge:The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come: You know who's gonna visit you if you have heroin? Death. Death loves heroin.
- Screaming Warrior: Goku roars his first two lines at the top of his lungs.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Romney uses this during his rap."I'm not going to let this battle be dictated by facts. I'm rich! I got fat stacks and super PACs."
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
"Of the people! By the people! For the people! EAGLE!
- Subverted in the Columbus/Kirk battle, where Christopher Columbus seemingly walked out after his opening line.
- Dr. Seuss did a subtle straight version. He got the hell out of Dodge before the Cat in the Hat let Thing 1 and Thing 2 free.
- "Later, weirdo, Elvis is leaving the building."
- "Now excuse me, while I turn heaven a profit." (dissolves into air)
- Lincoln during Obama Vs. Romney, who gets air-dropped by a giant bald eagle and lifted back out by said eagle at the end of his verse.
Trump: So when the clock strikes, prepare to enter a world of Christmas pain, 'cause I'm out! I've got my own F***ing problems, call me 2 Chainz.
- Clint Eastwood would offer to stick around for a Round 2, but finds it ridiculous because nobody in Bruce Lee's family ever lived to see a sequel.
- Donald Trump fills in for the role of Jacob Marley and alarms Ebeneezer Scrooge of the verbal beatdown the three emcees of the ethereal plane are going to give him. Once his verse is done, he leaves.
- After finishing his last verse by telling Goku to "Dragon Ball deez" nuts, Superman takes off. Goku gives chase.
- After their final verse against the Renaissance artists, the TMNT head off to eat pizza.
Charles Darwin: Even the Announcer is bringing his A-game.Narrator: EP. IC. RAP…BATTLLLLEEESSS!!! FHAUCKIT!
- Bruce Lee mocks one who would rap against people who aren't even there ...while Clint Eastwood isn't onscreen.
- Al Capone admits he had syphilis, but only so he can call Blackbeard "a huge dick."
- The Narrator during the ERB news.
- Kubrick's diss saying that Spielberg's production of A. I. was the "worst waste of potential since the Ninja Turtles" may be a meta example, calling back to the oft-criticized Artists vs. Turtles rap battle.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Quite a few of the matchups are like this:
- Justin Bieber (sensitive) and Beethoven (manly, emphasized by his Badass Baritone)
- Easter Bunny (sensitive) and Genghis Khan (manly)
- Mr. Rogers (sensitive) and Mr. T (manly)
- Bob Ross (sensitive) and Pablo Picasso (manly)
- Romeo (sensitive) and Clyde (manly), with their respective partners playing the Distaff Counterparts.
- Sequel Escalation: The rematch(es) between Hitler and Vader. Considering these are the first battles of seasons 2 and 3, this is expected.
- Each season finale tends to top the last one. The Season 2 finale had five rappers (Rasputin, Stalin, Lenin, Gorbachev, Putin), which at the time was the biggest group in any one video. The season 3 finale tops that by having a whopping eight rappers perform (Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael the artists versus Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael the Turtles). On the other hand though, the video itself is 2 minutes 14 seconds long. Not counting the 15 seconds it takes to introduce the characters, the actual rapping between these 8 characters is only 1 minute 25 seconds— One of the shortest matches in the series.
- The season 4 premiere tops that easily enough with up to 5 people on each side (Ray, Winston, Peter and Egon with cameo by Janine on one, and Adam and Jamie plus Kari, Grant and Tory on the other and the surprise addition of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man taking it literally Up to Eleven!)
- Serial Escalation: The season two finale. Rasputin gives his verse. Then Stalin gives his. Then Vladimir Lenin drops in and starts trashing both of them. Okay, he's probably just the Russian equivalent of Abraham Lincoln... Then, knock knock, and it's Mikhail Gorbachev, pulling a Who's on First? with his 'birthmarks'. Then it's Vladimir Putin. "And for god's sake, we need a Russian!" indeed.
- Then there's the Season 4 premiere, "Ghostbusters vs. Mythbusters". It starts with just Peter, Ray, and Egon. Then Winston joins them, and they battle Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman for awhile. Then the latter two bring the B-Team (Tori, Grant and Kari) into the battle. Then fucking Stay Puft shows up. Few, if any, fans bemoaned the end of the Hitler/Vader matches.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Tesla refers to himself as "impeccably dressed".
- Sherlock Scan: Done by the man himself to determine Batman's secret identity.
- Shirtless Scene: Vladimir Putin shows up in his memetic form.
- Show, Don't Tell: Abraham Lincoln's advice to Barack Obama:"Don't talk about change, just do it! I fought for what was on my brain until a bullet went through it!"
- Shown Their Work: The series revolves around the injokes made with this.
- Halo's Master Chief was correctly identified as a Petty Officernote by his foe Leonidas, which most players are unaware of.
- Freddie Mercury vs. Frank Sinatra referenced Frank's mob ties, the fact that he didn't get in the military during WW2, and the fact that his most famous song "My Way" was actually written by someone else.
- Skrillex claims that Mozart is "into powdered wigs and poop". Sounds out of place, doesn't it? It's not.
- Most people know very little about Stalin's family, especially the fact that he left one of his sons to die in a German prison instead of trading him for a German Field Marshall.
- Likewise for his shriveled right hand, which he was highly self-conscious about throughout his life.
- When The Doctor is about to die he cites lines from The End of Time, and the voices echo Fifth Doctor's.
- They took pains to be as accurate as possible with Stephen Hawking's pose in Einstein vs. Hawking in order to avoid offensive portrayals of the disabled.
- Peter took it upon himself to watch every single episode of Breaking Bad and read up on Dragon Ball after the first half of Season 3 ended in order to prepare lyrics for the episodes featuring characters from the franchises in question - no small feat.
- Superman makes several references to the fact that many Dragon Ball Z characters happen to be named after vegetables, a result of the aforementioned work Peter did.
- A sly one was George Washington bragging about having "the best moves at the ball." He was indeed an excellent dancer.
- Oprah says "Try to beef with me? I'll make the whole market crash!" In the 1990s, Oprah had a guest on her show to talk about mad cow disease and its relationship to questionable practices in the beef ranching industry, at one point declaring she'd never eat another hamburger again. So many people stopped buying beef as a result of the episode that cattle farmers sued Oprah for defamation. She won.
- All of the references to the five directors in Spielberg vs Hitchcock, from Spielberg getting mad at Hitchcock, his idol, for not letting him visit (Spielberg grew up watching Hitchcock, was inspired to be a filmmaker from his works, and tried to meet the man, but was refused), to Hitchcock being rejected from fighting in World War I, to Kubrick's desire for utter cinematic perfection resulting in him forcing Jack Nicholson to do a scene 127 times in order to get it absolutely perfect, to how much Michael Bay loves to film shots of helicopters at sunset.
- Sibling Incest:
- Mario tells the Wright Brothers to "just get back in [their] biplane and make out with each other".
- As Monroe says Cleopatra was "fucking her brothers".
- Thor points out that Hera is Zeus's wife and sister, and "that's grosser than a Gorgon!"
- Signature Shot: Steven Spielberg vs. Alfred Hitchcock showcases each of the five directors with their trademark shooting style, and signature added effects.
- Steven Spielberg: Track-in to close up, and using copious amounts of CGI.
- Alfred Hitchcock: Showing off a side profile of Hitchcock from his show, "Alfred Hitchcock Presents".
- Quentin Tarantino: Trunk Shot, in addition to basic angles showing the entirety of a dialogue.
- Stanley Kubrick: Kubrick Stare, plus a tracking shot of him on a Big Wheels.
- Michael Bay: "zoom in low with a telephoto" while panning, as well as a helicopter at sunset, and plenty of explosions.
- The Singularity: What HAL's rap in Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs seems to be all about.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Defied. After Adam realizes that he may have gone too far with calling Eve a colossal bitch, he apologizes, and she apologizes for everything she said as well. Adam wants to give her a hug to make up, but she'll be having none of it.
- Sliding Scale of Realistic Versus Fantastic: Both real life historical characters have been portrayed as well as fictional characters from novels, plays, mythology, video games and films. Often even directly against one another.
- Slobs Versus Snobs:
- Romeo & Juliet, aristocratic scions of wealthy Italian families, versus Bonnie & Clyde, rough mannered American bank robbers.
- Jack the Ripper, a thug "covered in kitty litter", versus Hannibal Lecter, the guy with the doctorate degree and a glass of Chianti.
- Spielberg vs Hitchcock has each of the pretentious directors seeing himself as the snob. All four of them think Michael Bay is a slob and he thinks all of them are snobs. He acknowledges that all of them see him as "evil".
- The battle presents "George Washington versus William Wallace" as a "powdered prick in a blousy outfit" vs a savage in war paint.
- Something Completely Different:
Jobs: Ooh, everybody knows Windows bit off Apple.Gates: I tripled the profits on a PC.Jobs: All the people with the power to create use an Apple!Gates: And people with jobs use PC.Jobs: You know, I bet they made this beat on an Apple!Gates: Nope, FruityLoops, PC.Jobs: You will never ever catch a virus on an Apple!Gates: Well, you can still afford a doctor if you bought a PC.
- Stephen Hawking's verses are played using Auto-Tune vocals instead of a synthesized voice, because they couldn't get the synth to use a proper rhythm. He was the only rapper to use Auto-Tune until Oprah vs Ellen.
- Shakespeare's second verse. Turns out he can rap really fast. This was to be expected, as he was played by George Watsky, one of the fastest rappers on YouTube.
- Steve Jobs vs Gates: instead of sticking to the formulaic two verses per rapper (2 vs 1 battles notwithstanding), Jobs and Gates end up switching back and forth every line for a while:
- Then there was HAL.
- It's getting more common. Marilyn Monroe vs. Cleopatra was 3 to 2 verses respectively, while Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama had one big verse for each and smaller verses as the song goes on, similar to the above.
- Then there was Abraham Lincoln.
- "Stalin vs. Rasputin" is possibly the strangest example yet, with 5 rappers each getting one verse.
- "Michael Jordan vs. Muhammad Ali" gave both rappers three verses instead of the usual two.
- Like "Stalin vs. Rasputin", "Donald Trump vs. Ebeneezer Scrooge" also features 5 rappers: Donald, Ebeneezer, J.P. Morgan (The Ghost of Rich Dudes Past), Kanye West (The Ghost of What's Right Now), and The Grim Reaper. However, Ebeneezer gets a whole verse in response to each of the other four. The episode was also different in that the rap itself tells a progressing story; even in the Vader vs Hitler trilogy, the story only happened before and after the battles.
- "Adam vs. Eve". Instead of raps relating to the story of Adam and Eve (though there are some aspects of that), it's mostly just a generic married couple bickering set to music. This one was expected since some of the comment suggestions that went with it were "Man vs. Woman"
- The Season 3 finale was the largest rap battle yet, a full four on four battle: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello vs. Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello. Cowabunga.
- Ghostbusters vs MythBusters tops even the Season 3 finale, starting with Peter, Egon, Ray, and Winston against Adam and Jamie, then the MythBusters bring in the Build Team, and at the end Stay Puft shows up for a total of ten rappers, or eleven if Janine Melnitz' cameo line counts.
- Zeus vs. Thor is done through Lego stop-motion rather than live action. It's also the first time the backgrounds are built physically (in Lego!) instead of a total green screen.
- Jack the Ripper vs Hannibal Lecter (both of them serial killers) is LEGITIMATELY creepier than anything they've ever done before, to the point of being an actual horror video. That's saying something considering they've covered two horror writers, five Russian leadersnote , The Walking Dead and Adolf Hitler.
- Similar to the Russian Leaders battle, season 4 has Steven Spielberg vs Alfred Hitchcock, who each get one verse, then Quentin Tarantino, Stanley Kubrick, and Michael Bay show up.
- Sophisticated as Hell:
Shakespeare: What light through yonder poser breaks?'Shakespeare: I hath been iambic on that ass, ye bastard.Shakespeare: Ye hoebag!
- Shakespeare does this quite a lot.
Vladimir Lenin: "I fought the bondage of classes, the proletariat masses/have brought me here to spit a thesis against both of yo' asses!""What's up, bitches? My name is Sir Isaac Newton. I am a philosopher, a mathematician and I invented so much sweet shit you wouldn't believe.
- Sherlock Holmes does this heavily.
- In "Rasputin vs Stalin" again:
- Romeo and Juliet, being Shakespearean characters, do quite a bit of this.
- Special Effects Failure: Invoked. Doc Brown makes fun of how lame the special effects are in the Doctor Who series.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Hitler's first name is spelt 'Adolph' on his title card at the beginning, but is spelled in the more conventional way, 'Adolf', in the subtitles where he introduces himself. Both spellings are valid. In the rematch, however, Hitler's title card uses the spelling 'Adolf'.
- Spin-Off: 9 The Official Fanzine type that shows the behind the scenes and extra info.
- Epic Rap Battles of History—Behind the Scenes
- Epic Drawings of History with Marydoodles
- Epic Makeup with Ceciley
- Epic Dance Battles of History
- The following follow along the lines of the Re-imagining type of Spin-Off:
- Epic Cartoon Rap Battles Of History by The Infinite Source.
- Chaotic Rap Battles
- Spiritual Successor: ERB could be described as Celebrity Deathmatch minus the blood, gore, and censorship; but in a musical form.
- Splash of Color: Both played straight (with Gandhi in MLK background) and inverted (with MLK in Gandhi background) in Gandhi vs Martin Luther King Jr. during the hugging scene.
- Stable Time Loop: Doc Brown vs. The Doctor begins where the battle ends where the battle begins where the battle ends where the battle begins where the battle ends where the battle…oh no I've gone cross-eyed.
- Stealing The Credit:
- Bill Gates accuses Steve Jobs of doing this.
- This is also a large part of the focus of Tesla's rap vs. Edison - that the latter had stolen the former's patents and ideas, then discredited him to prevent his further ideas from going forward.
- Stealth Pun: Several.
- " ten-thousand-dollar shoes I use to stomp out a beatle."
- "I'll school you anywhere—MIT to Oxford"
- "Sorry, Wright Brothers, this time you chose wrong."
- "You might fly like a hawk, but you fight like a kitty." note
- " Oh, no, we'll smash your globe." note
- "You gettin' upstaged Bill. Yo you just got played" is especially stealthy.
- "I've seen every record you set, man I beat it."
- Steve Jobs saying "I got a PC, but it wasn't from you," to Bill Gates. One of the stealthiest ones yet. note
- He also says he'll "bring up some basic shit". note
- "Why did you name your company after your dick?" Think about that one.
- Later, HAL 9000 offers "I think different from the engine of the days of old", referencing both the former Apple Macintosh slogan "Think Different." and Charles Babbage's difference engine, the first computer.
- "You blow, Jobs" (complete with hand motion)
- "You wanna trade blows? You can't even hit puberty!"
- "Gettin' 'Lo on Mark Antony." note
- "Tossing Caesar's salad"
- "You're a batshit crazy basket case!" to Batman.
- "Dissing these dynamic douchebags…" for Batman and Robin.
- "I fought the caste system, but you still cannot touch this!" note
- "I'm the King of civil rights" said by Martin Luther King Jr.
- "Before I let loose with this ruthless aggression" said to Babe Ruth.
- "I'm a Prodigy, Sonny, and I'm about to smack a bitch up!" note
- "...and you reek of dead mouse."
- "You died baroque and worthless!"
- "I attack, you decay, can't sustain my releases!" note
- "I strike back hard against a Nazi!"
- "I spit hot borscht when I'm crushing these beats!" note
- "Took Trotsky out of the picture" note
- "I'm a President in my Prime" note
- "The last man who attacked me lived a half-life" note
- "I see a universe of infinite energy, but no potential for threat from this enemy." note
- "You're the least talented rat in your whole pack of rodents!"note
- "Your highest calling was a text from Wiz Khalifa." note
- Rick Grimes calls himself "a grade-A MC."note
- Superman being a "greasy slick MC from DC."note
- From Artists vs TMNT: "I can bebop and steady rock a mic sucka..." note
- "I'll kick your hiney man, I'm a savage killer." note
- "Stay all up in your grill like my name was George Foreman!" note
- "'Cause if these lovers cross me, they're gonna end up seeing stars!" note
- Stealth Insult:
- "Why don't you's get back in your biplane and make out with each other?"
- "Show this petty officer who's the hardest!"
- "So kiss my ass, Frank." A blink-and-you'll-miss-it type; the chorus shouts "Ass!" instead of "Frank" as Sinatra appears onscreen.
- "And people with jobs use PC!"
- "So dope I even make New Jersey look good!"
- Rick Grimes calls Walter White a "lab rat", referencing not just the latter's career but also his experimental cancer treatments.
- "You waste your time debating Creationists..." is an overt insult to Bill Nye, and a stealth insult to Creationists.
- Stunt Double: The break-dancing portion of Mister Rogers' verse is not NicePeter.
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Hitler apparently travelled through time and messed with the Star Wars prequels.
- Stylistic Suck: Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney takes the cake, really. Both of them have incredibly stilted speech that you'd expect from career politicians, and the battle eventually dissolves into childish bickering. Then Abraham Lincoln shows up...
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Defied. Kanye West (the Ghost of What's Right Now) goes out of his way to make sure all his lines end with a rhyme.Kanye West: Just take a lesson from Yeezy.
You're missing the point Ebeneezy
There's more to life than your work, take it easy.
Even I can make time for Azizy.
- Sudden Downer Ending: Romeo and Juliet vs. Bonnie and Clyde. Even the narrator didn't know what to think of it.
- Suddenly Voiced: The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
- Superior Successor: Sometimes claimed by the newer battler, sometimes denied by the older.Stephen Hawking: (to Albert Einstein) While it's true that my work is based on you
I'm a supercomputer, you're like a TI-82.
Gandhi: (to Martin Luther King Jr.) Everything you preach, I said it first
You should jot down these words, plagiarize my whole verse.
- Super Mode:
- In the first Vader/Hitler battle, Vader begins to use The Force in his second verse to choke Hitler and then freeze him in carbonite.
- Chuck Norris in his second verse, resulting in bursts of fire and Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever.
- The Mario Brothers grow larger in their second verse, complete with the appropriate sound from the game.
- Goku, unsurprisingly, goes Super Saiyan to rap against Superman.
- "Super Sentai" Stance: The Renaissance artists pull one of these off at the beginning of Leonardo da Vinci's verse.
- Symbol Swearing: Donald Trump's Precision F-Strike is both audibly muted and shown as "F***ing" in the subtitles.
- Take Up My Sword:
- Hulk Hogan gets shot down via bazooka by Kim Jong-Il, so Macho Man tags in to fight back in place of the injured Hogan.
- After Billy Mays dies mid-battle against Ben Franklin, the Shamwow guy dramatically emerges to finish the battle.
- After Doc Brown takes out the Tenth Doctor with a Dalek, the Fourth Doctor takes his place.
- Take a Third Option: Mitt Romney vs Barack Obama vs Abraham Lincoln.
- Take That: Ignoring the obvious digs that the rappers do on each other all the time:
- They really like to poke fun at John McCain.Lincoln: I got my face on the side of a mountain; you voted for John McCain!
Gaga: History will regret you like J-J-J-John McCain!
- Twilight Books. Even Dr. Seuss couldn't tolerate being accused of that.
- Mitt Romney says that Barack Obama married the female version of Patrick Ewing.
- Skrillex reeks of "dead mouse."
- Picasso calls Bob Ross "the PBS version of Nickelback."
- Muhammad Ali says that Michael Jordan's rapping "sucks more than Space Jam did."
- "Your spells are a joke, and not funny ones either / Mines of Moria? Ha! More like Mind of Mencia!"
- The "Spielberg vs. Hitchcock" is FILLED with this toward Michael Bay, with every one of the four opposing battlers reproaching him at some point or another in their raps. Spielberg himself has executive-produced Bay's Transformers movies and was the one who demanded Megan Fox be fired from the third film after her disparaging comments toward Bay.
- They really like to poke fun at John McCain.
- Teeny Weenie:
- Clint Eastwood claims that Bruce Lee's One-Inch Punch is the same size as his pecker.
- When Beethoven mentions Bieber can't hit puberty, Bach implies this about Justin, popping up on screen shaking his head sadly and holding his finger and thumb an inch apart.
- According to Skrillex, Mozart has a little magic flute.
- "Why'd you name your company after your dick?!"
- Superman thinks Goku wears "hammer pants" to hide having "tiny genitals."
- Tempting Fate:"Now no one can stop me! The world is mine!""I'm sorry, Bill. I'm afraid I can't let you do that...""Wait! Harkening back to the dead Donald's lecture, I still am expecting a final specter!"
- Testosterone Poisoning: Nice Peter behind the scenes for Mitt vs. Obama."I am gonna get sooooo many women pregnant!"
- That Russian Squat Dance: Done at the end of "Rasputin vs. Stalin", naturally.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!:
- Vader, Chuck Norris, Gandalf, Batman, Kirk, and a few others all pull this off at various points.Chuck Norris: I've spilt more blood and gore than forty score of your puny Civil Wars, Bitch!
Gandalf: Tom riddle me this, you bitch, how's your little wand gonna beat my staff?
- Mr. T has a variant of this, fool!
- HAL has probably one of the most nonchalant examples of this in history."I'm on Linux, bitch, I thought you GNU."
- Batman pulls this one on Sherlock.Batman: So bring it on, bitch, I'm Batman!
- Other variants pop up in "Rasputin vs. Stalin":
- Miley Cyrus is "the hottest thing since Britney, bitch!"
- Vader, Chuck Norris, Gandalf, Batman, Kirk, and a few others all pull this off at various points.
- The Three Certainties in Life: Benjamin Franklin claims that his victory is even more certain than the other two.
- Title Scream: EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!
- Time Skip: In the Elvis Presley VS Michael Jackson fight, both characters go through this. Michael spins into his older, whiter self, and Elvis gets fat from eating too much.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: The Doctor begins explaining how space and time work, then says "nevermind" and gives Doc Brown the nut shell.
- Toilet Humor:
- Elvis Presley's death on the can is inevitably brought up when he fights Michael Jackson.Elvis: Well I died on the shitter, but I don't give a crap!
- NicePeter likes to pantomime popping a squat. He's done it thrice, as Mozart, Donald Trump, and Steven Spielberg; the former of which was known for his scatological interests which are brought up numerous times during the battle.
- Elvis Presley's death on the can is inevitably brought up when he fights Michael Jackson.
- Token White: In his second verse, Martin Luther King is accompanied by a group of people, all of whom are black except for the one white guy played by Lloyd. Similarly, in Gandhi's second verse, he's accompanied by Indians and one white reverend played by Nice Peter.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: In Bonnie and Clyde vs Romeo and Juliet, Bonnie (tomboy) is a rough and tough criminal lady and Juliet (girly) is a super feminine Shakespearean aristocrat. Clyde and Romeo even play the Distaff Counterpart to their lovers.
- Tranquil Fury:
- Chuck Norris starts off this way, nonchalantly blocking punches and arrows aimed at him, but having a bucket full of pennies dumped over his head makes him lose his cool.
- Master Chief maintains his calmness throughout his battle, but you can tell he's pissed off.
- Mister Rogers. He doesn't raise his soft, polite voice even once, but he does go into Creepy Monotone, calls Mr T "Laurence" like a teacher to a naughty child, and swears.
- After his first verse, Bill Gates has this; Steve Jobs launches verses, but Bill just calmly responds to them. He loses this when Steve dies.Steve Jobs: I bet this beat was made on an Apple!
Bill Gates: Nope, Fruity Loops. PC.
Steve Jobs: (angry) You will never, ever catch a virus on an Apple!
Bill Gates: But you can still afford a doctor if you buy a PC.
- Clint Eastwood throughout his rap just calmly shoots everyone and everything around him while launching insults at Bruce Lee.
- Bob Ross never raises his voice above a calm whisper all throughout his battle with Picasso.
- Hannibal Lecter clearly shows contempt with Jack The Ripper, but he keeps a calm tone when tearing his flaws apart.
- Transformation Sequence:
- Young Michael Jackson spins transforming into older Michael Jackson. And from the same video, young, handsome Elvis scarfing down sandwiches to transform into old, fat Elvis.
- The Tenth Doctor regenerates into the Fourth Doctor.
- Gandalf the White gets his 'ass knocked back' to Gandalf the Grey.
- Before the battle even starts, Clark Kent spins rapidly around while changing into his Superman outfit. In the same episode, Goku goes Super Saiyan near the start of his first verse.
- Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: Only with rap.
- Unfortunate Names: The Wright Brothers, according to the Mario Bros.Luigi: Look at these two; their lives must've been horrible!
Mario: Two dorky dudes...
Luigi: ...named Wilbur and Orville!
- The Unintelligible: The announcer gradually becomes this as more videos are released. Each video tries to top the last. Though it's subverted more starting with Stephen King vs Edgar Allan Poe.
- The Voiceless: Dr. Seuss lets his art do the talking for him.
- Unusual Euphemism:
- The Wright Bros. have been "playing Donkey Kong" with Princess Peach.
- Master Chief showed Leonidas' wife his "plasma cannon".
- Michael Jackson "hee-hee"-ed Elvis's daughter.
- Joe Dimaggio "took a swing in [Marilyn Monroe's] batter's box," and Cleopatra has been "tossing Caesar's salad".
- Steve Jobs makes the "GUI" [gooey] that Bill Gates's wife "uses."
- Freddie Mercury acknowledges that he "took one for both teams" when he contracted AIDS.
- Barack Obama threatens to smack Mitt Romney with his "Stimulus package."
- Robin took Sherlock's lady friend Irene Adler back to his pad "to BAM!-POW!-KERSPLAT! her".
- Captain Kirk wonders if Queen Isabella would like his "Captain's Log".
- Mozart's cousin "blew notes" on his "little magic flute".
- Viewers Are Geniuses: Even with a concept so simple as "take two or more historical figures/characters/celebrities", it's surprising just how many allusions to various events and traits of the characters in question can be found under the surface of the lyrics. Fittingly enough, the users of Rap Genius go into depth with these, as do members of the Epic Rap Battles of History Wiki.
- Visual Pun:
- Billy Mays with his "lightning rod cock".
- Picasso claims that he can make better art with his weiner... Lump!
- When Donatello (the turtle) says "I don't Gattamelata clue what you do," we briefly Donatello (the sculptor) working on his famed sculpture of Gattamelata.
- Walking Spoiler: It's hard to discuss Lenin, Gorbachev, and Putin's role in the season 2 finale without lessening the impact of their arrival.
- Wham Line: The introduction of a third side is usually this.
- "I'm sorry Bill, I'm afraid I can't do that." HAL's intro.
- "CAW!" The eagle introducing Abraham Lincoln in the Obama/Romney battle, the first time a rapper returned outside of the Hitler/Vader rematch
- There are several in the season 2 finale:
- "I have no pride for you who ruined everything my revolution was doing to stop the bourgeoisie!" Lenin's introduction.
- "Did somebody say 'birthmarks'?" Gorbachev's intro, the first time we got a fourth side.
- Followed by "Did somebody say 'real power'?" Putin's intro, forming a fifth side.
- "Because you're standing over the Rancor pit. After Adolf Hitler delivers a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Darth Vader, Stephen Hawking comes in to announce that it was Exactly as Planned.
- "Just say the first thing that pops into your mind." And thus the Stay Puft marshmallow man appears to battle the Ghostbusters and the MythBusters. *BOOM* "Uh!" *BOOM* "Uhh!"
- Three in Spielberg vs. Hitchcock.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Frank Sinatra makes fun of Freddie Mercury's fashion sense, but Freddie responds by exclaiming he's more powerful than Frank is even while while wearing women's pants.
- A Wild Rapper Appears:
- Defied by Adolf Hitler in Round 3 against Darth Vader. Vader tries to send in Boba Fett as a backup rapper, but Hitler would be having none of it, and shoots him.Hitler: Oh sieg hell no! You're not going to cheat me, Mister Sunglasses All The Time!
- Similarly, Robin invites himself into the Batman vs. Sherlock Holmes showdown, providing a rapid-fire bridge before Batman reasserts the original pace and style.
- Defied by Adolf Hitler in Round 3 against Darth Vader. Vader tries to send in Boba Fett as a backup rapper, but Hitler would be having none of it, and shoots him.
- World of Badass: Almost everyone here is a warrior, a general, or otherwise a tough guy.
- World of Ham: Everyone here is a rapper.
- Would Hit a Girl: Captain Kirk strikes Queen Isabella multiple times
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl:Beethoven claims this is why he can't assault Bieber.
- Writer on Board: While most battles have all participants nail a few key blows against their opponents, or have a weak start with a killer Wham Line finish, others are so lop-sided (or have a special guest who acts as a mouthpiece) that it's clear the writers heavily favor one side. While nobody's going to dispute who should win in Genghis Khan vs. the Easter Bunny, the slant in other episodes has led to some Internet Backdraft against fans who take exception.
- X Called; They Want Their Y Back: Mr T says this to Mr. Rogers:Mr. T: Hello? It's for you! Bill Cosby wants his sweater!
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe:
- Played with by Shakespeare, featuring such things as "Ye Hoebag".Shakespeare: I'll put a slug between your shoulder blades
Then ask what light through yonder poser breaks.
- Romeo and Juliet, being Shakespearean characters, also uses this in their raps.Romeo: En garde! Thou artless beetle-headed flax wench!
- Played with by Shakespeare, featuring such things as "Ye Hoebag".
- Yet Another Christmas Carol: Donald Trump vs Ebeneezer Scrooge, with the former as Marley, and JP Morgan and Kanye West as Ghosts of the Past and Present.
- You Keep Using That Word: Pablo Picasso points out that Bob Ross probably has no idea what cubism means.
- You Need to Get Laid: Or rather, J.P. Morgan says Ebenezer Scrooge should have gotten laid:Morgan: You should have made like Sebastian and kissed de girl!
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The Wright Brothers spend their first few lines saying this to the Mario Brothers. "Your princess is in our castle now!"
- Your Mom:
- Vader to Hitler: "So many dudes been with your mom, who even knows if I'm your father?"
- Hawking to Einstein: "There are ten million million million 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".
- Inverted by Obama, who compliments Romney's father as a Take That to Romney:Obama: They say your father was a great man, you must be what's left.
- Bruce Lee: "I beat the Good, and the Bad. You must be the ugly. I would mess up your face, but your mama did it for me!"