These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: Epic Rap Battles of History
Acceptable Targets: Adolf Hitler is the only character to have something horrible happen to him at the end of the video. Three times. Whether or not you think he raps better than Vader, he's Adolf Hitler and Vader is allowed to kill him at the end of every video because he's that evil.
Awesome Music: The series has a number of epic beats. Matches that stand out include:
Any "Darth Vader vs. Adolf Hitler" match. The first has a significant improvement in musical and lyrical quality over "John Lennon vs. Bill O'Reilly", the second has the soundtrack of Van Helsing as its background music, and the third has some particularly memorable lyrics.
"NicePeter vs. EpicLloyd". That beat wouldn't sound out of place on a radio song.
"Mario Bros vs. Wright Bros". It sounds exactly like a soundtrack from a typical Super Mario game.
"Michael Jackson vs. Elvis Presley".
"Cleopatra vs. Marilyn Monroe" has a very fitting Egyptian-themed beat behind it and it makes the rap battle that much more awesome.
"Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs", in addition to having an awesome beat, also has the honor of winning the honor of "Best Original Song" from the 3rd Streamy Awards.
"Frank Sinatra vs. Freddie Mercury", which subtly includes the beat from "We Will Rock You".
"Bruce Lee vs. Clint Eastwood".
"Moses vs. Santa Claus".
"Mohandas Gandhi vs Martin Luther King Jr."
"Thomas Edison vs. Nikola Tesla". The beat and the lyrics flow well with each other almost better than all previous episodes. Plus, the beat almost makes the Battle sound like a Mega Man (Classic) game!
"Lance Armstrong vs. Babe Ruth"- The beat sounds exactly like what you'd hear in a serious rap song.
"Mozart vs. Skrillex". One of the best music beats in ERB, it combines dubstep with Mozart's music to create a seriously awesome beat.
"Blackbeard vs. Al Capone" can easily be used as a film or video game score.
"Rick Grimes vs. Walter White" has a nice dramatic undertone, fitting considering who the combatants are.
"Goku vs. Superman" has a suitably epic industrial beat for a pair of Invincible Heroes, along with some of the best lyrics in all of Season 3.
Batman vs. Sherlock Holmes is possibly the most polarizing episode yet. Half the fans like it just fine, the other half found Batman's delivery of his verses to be off-putting, on top of Batman having very few good lines.
Some comments in the Gandhi VS MLK battle suggest that more than a few people didn't find the portrayal of either all that honorable towards the men.
Adam vs Eve, for not being about Adam and Eve so much as a rap battle between Man and Woman. Also, it's arguably the most raunchy of the battles.
There's also a division between the fans that want to see more matches between Adolf Hitler and Darth Vader and fans who think that the battles between the two are getting stale and the focus of the show should be placed elsewhere. The latter was acknowledged in "Hitler vs. Vader 3" in the form of an included comment.
Reception to Miley Cyrus vs Joan of Arc has proved to be pretty divided so far: while some people are fine with it, it has a share of detractors who think it's one of the worst battles. There are also fans who are disappointed at the match-up and wish Joan had gotten a different opponent.
Elvis Presley mocking a child Michael Jackson for being beaten by his father.
In Goku vs. Superman, the former even drops a joke about Christopher Reeve's crippling, which is still pretty touchy for some viewers. Not to mention the latter dropping a (rap) bomb on Japan, even if it's a metaphorical bomb.
Boba Fett. He only appears for eight seconds and gets killed by Hitler of all people, but his lines were so awesome that he's become very popular, with people pleading for him to return. Interestingly enough, he was voiced by Ray William Johnson, a particularly divisive YouTube personality, which shows how much people liked the character.
Nikola Tesla. His battle with Thomas Edison was one of the most requested rap battles up until they fought. He also is one of the few battlers to be overwhelmingly considered by fans to have curb stomped his opponent.
Edward Kenway. His cameo in Blackbeard vs. Al Capone was so popular, there is a huge, increasing number of fans begging for him to have his own battle.
Happens constantly during "Einstein vs. Hawking", obviously. For example, p-brane (pronounced the same as pea-brain) is a vital element in string theory. Also, 'relatively blown' and 'Albert E equals MC square' refers to Einstein's best known theory (relativity).
The entirety of Shakespeare's first verse is in iambic pentameter. Minds will be blown. It's complete with Ye Olde Englishe phrases, pronunciation and theatrical gestures.
Similar to Shakespeare above, Edgar Allan Poe's first verse is in trochee, the inverse of iambic. It even contains a modified line from The Raven.
Said to the Wright Brothers: "You might fly like a hawk, but you fight like a kitty!"
Bill Gates VS Steve Jobs is full of tech-based jokes. There's a delicious double pun in the line "I think different from the engine of the days of old" - simultaneously playing on Apple's old slogan and Charles Babbage's original computer.
Mozart vs. Skrillex is full of awesome music in-jokes—musical terms relevant both to composition and synthesizers, references to several famous electronic musicians, and even a reference to Mozart's tendencies to wax scatological.
Vader off-handedly referring to the Stormtrooper clones being superior to Hitler's.
Understanding "Rasputin vs. Stalin" requires quite a bit of knowledge on Russian history:
Joseph Stalin's right hand was reportedly withered, which is directly referenced by Lenin.
Stalin's boast about taking Leon Trotsky "out of the picture" is both literal and figurative, as Stalin orchestrated Trotsky's exile (and possibly assassination), and later altered photographs to remove Trotsky from Lenin's side.
Gandhi's advice telling MLK 'With protests and women the same advice goes, always stay away from the ho's' isn't just a fun play on the word 'hose,' which MLK's followers got hit with a lot in protests, but also a reference to the lesser-known allegations of adultery often leveled at him.
"My technique will make your mistress weep / put her to sleep, elbow drop a dream, I go deep" is an extended reference to Picasso's "The Dream". Dora Maar, Picasso's mistress, posed for the painting, and it tore a bit when someone pushed his elbow into it. Also, Bob Ross's line: "I keep it mellow, like I'm cadium yellow. I'm a bright like titanium white kinda fellow" is a reference to the fact that cadium yellow and titanium white were two of the most consistently used colors in his paintings.
The two kids Kanye West ends his verse with in "Donald Trump vs. Ebenezer Scrooge" aren't random homeless children, they're Ignorance and Want, two children who serve the same function in the original Dickens novella.
Much like Einstein vs. Hawking, Newton Vs. Nye has plenty of Genius Bonus, particularly when Newton brings out an equation from one of his works.
In the same video, Vader moonwalks. He was played by NicePeter, as was the adult Michael Jackson in season two.
In the rematch, Vader comments that he's "on the leader of your limp-dicked Luftwaffe" before making a reference to Lucas's other famous production, Indiana Jones. Then another Lucas production about pilots taking down the Luftwaffe came out.
In the third installment, Hitler tells Vader "I beat you twice you sellout and now you bow down to Mickey Mouse.". Now, Maker Studios, the company that produces Epic Rap Battles of History, does as well.
Lady Gaga makes a reference to the Jackson 5. 15 episodes later, The King of Pop himself (with a short appearance by his sibs) takes a shot at the mic. Both Gaga and Adult!MJ are played by Nice Peter to boot.
Speaking of which, what about in Battle 6 when Justin Bieber says he's the next Michael Jackson? Or Genghis Khan telling the Easter Bunny that he's about to feel Wrath of Khan before Captain Kirk rapped?
Two examples of this come to mind. First of all, in the Einstein vs. Stephen Hawking battle, the lyric "I'm the Snoop Dogg of science" is funny considering that Snoop Dogg ended up appearing as Moses in a later episode. Another example lies in the lyric, "Call me Arthur Miller, son..." from Ben Franklin vs. Billy Mays, which is funny considering the wife of Arthur Miller, Marilyn Monroe, would appear as a rapping contestant later on.
In the trailer for Season 2 at the end of Episode 15, a quote from Vladimir Putin appears, saying he will kill Nice Peter if Season 2 does not have a Russian character. The Season 2 finale has five Russian characters, of which one is Putin.
Most Annoying Sound: A bizarre example as it doesn't come from the Epic Rap Battles at all. After "Bill Gates vs Steve Jobs" battle came out, many fans went looking for an instrumental version of the beat used, only to quickly grow tired of the original's use of "Tristan on the track" as a refrain. Tellingly, numerous versions now exist on youtube, editing it out.
Darth Vader in the Season 2 rematch when he removes his helmet.
HAL 9000 intrudes on the battle between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. He's appropriately eerie, boasting of his superiority in that infamous monotone of his. The most terrifying thing about him is that he does not seem to move on his own, nor does he emote.
After Steve Jobs dies in his battle with Bill Gates, Gates seems to go insane, especially compared to his previous Tranquil Fury... just look at his last verse:
Now there's no one that can stop me! THE WORLD IS MINE!
The especially creepy part is how he seems to realize this mid-verse, going from yelling at Steve's death to "I'm alone now, with nothing but power and time...and no one on Earth who can challenge my mind!" His sudden change is frightening.
Skrillex briefly turns into a "Scary Monster" that looks kind of creepy.
Stalin's portrayal is quite...unsettling. Most of his lines are part of a long, thorough death threat towards Rasputin and everyone he knows. What makes this worse was that he wasn't any better in Real Life.
Thing 1 and Thing 2's high pitched voices, creepy look and Ax-Crazy lines make them scary.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come is as dark and creepy as he is in the book, albeit averting The Voiceless in favour of Evil Sounds Deep (or rather morally ambiguous). He's not once played for laughs either, and there's only a second's indication that he'll turn up. Nice Peter even invokes this in the Behind the Scenes video.
"Boo! You're gonna die, with no one to love you and no one to cry!
Older Than They Think: There's a small group who considers Rhett & Link's Epic Rap Battles to be ripoffs of these; their first Epic Rap Battle (the straight-up match between the two) predates John Lennon Vs Bill O Reilly.note Nevermind that the two pairs are on pretty good terms with each other, and that Rhett and Link appeared in Mario Brothers Vs Wright Brothers and Artists vs. Turtles, while Peter and Lloyd made a cameo in R&L's Epic Rap Battle of Manliness.
One-Scene Wonder: Boba Fett appears for all of maybe eight seconds in the season 3 premiere. The half-verse that he does manage to get is awesome.
Painful Rhyme: Being based on rap, this was unfortunately inevitable.
"Look at these two, their lives must've been horrible / Two dorky dudes named Wilbur and Or-i-ville"
Rhyming "streets" with "mysteries" in Batman vs. Sherlock Holmes.
Einstein rhyming "serious" with "theory was"
Lenin rhymes 'Right hand man' with... 'Right hand, man.' The context it's used in is clever, but it's still unpleasant to the ear.
Edison rhymes "gently" with "directly".
"Cleopatra vs Marilyn Monroe" is full of these.
"Whose rap flows the dopest? Marilyn Monroe's is"
"You wear too much eyeliner for anyone to adore you/You might as well be working on the door at Sephora" is probably one of the most painful rhymes in ERB yet.
Not a painful rhyme but, due to where he puts the emphases, Blackbeard's line "You're an obese greasy sleaze squeezing a diseased peter" definitely doesn't flow as well as it could.
In the same battle, it's clear that Blackbeard's trying to rhyme "Irate" and "Pirate" in an earlier line.
The last six lines of Rasputin's verse respectively end with: "mind," "price," "lives," "Kryptonite," "hypnotize," and "wife."
Muhammad Ali turning "wobblin'" and "goblin" into three-syllable words.
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Ray William Johnson is a fairly divisive YouTube user, to say the least, in part due to his =3Fan Dumb as well as his vocal Hatedom from said show. However, he was able to stand his ground as an actor for the show, with many people considering his eight-second Boba Fett performance to be the best part of the third Adolf Hitler vs Darth Vader match, and a number of people considering his raps as Goku to be better than Superman's in the eponymous Goku vs Superman.
Rooting for the Empire: In the second Adolf Hitler vs Darth Vader battle, many people like Hitler better, even though he's definitely the more evil of the two. Of course, if you're on Vader's side, you're still rooting for the empire anyway.
Thing One and Thing Two aren't popular with the general public.
Thomas Edison got only ~15% of the votes on the official page. Just like Bieber's case, this was probably an Intended Audience Reaction.
Special Effect Failure: In "Artists vs Turtles" when Mikey says the artists "...draws more dicks than New York Pride, Donnie, in the background with the other turtles, has a pair of sai instead of his bo staff.
George Washington vs William Wallace was extremely underwhelming, especially coming after the excellent string of battles that was Isaac Newton vs Bill Nye, Edgar Allan Poe vs Stephen King, and Goku vs Superman.
Season 3 in general compared to season 2. A common complaint is that few of the songs in season 3 is not as memorable.
Unfortunate Implications: So all the guys have these witty and incisive raps that deal with their accomplishments, the other's failures, and so on...and all the ladies? "You have sex, you're terrible! You're not a proper lady, you're terrible!" It gets a bit better over time, but the raps written for the ladies really lag behind in terms of allusion and even betray what the ladies were all about (For one, Cleopatra and Marilyn Monroe would likely not have resorted to Slut Shaming, given how they were both unashamed of their status as the Ms. Fanservice of their respective times).
Win Back the Crowd: The fandom was displeased with the unannounced hiatus that happened after the Bill Gates VS Steve Jobs, some even going so far as to thinking that the work would become an Orphaned Series. Cue the announcement that the next six Rap Battles would be uploaded back-to-back every fortnight, followed by a holiday break and more episodes. This was impeded only by a small Schedule Slip in regards to Batman VS Sherlock Holmes.
The Easter Bunny really bit off more than he could chew.
Freddie Mercury starts off as one. He spends most of Frank Sinatra's first verse and part of his first verse moping at his piano. Then he gets going.
Iron Woobie: It's subtle, but Vladimir Lenin apparently watched his most trusted student dismantle his efforts toward a socialist paradise in favor of a brutal dictatorship. The reason you don't notice is that Lenin vents about this with authority.