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Trivia / Epic Rap Battles of History

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  • Acting for Two:
    • Steven Spielberg vs. Alfred Hitchcock: Nice Peter plays both Spielberg and Michael Bay.
    • Rasputin vs. Stalin: EpicLloyd plays Stalin and Gorbachev, while Peter plays three people — Rasputin, Lenin and Putin.
    • Taken Up to Eleven (well, more like fifteen) in "Wonder Woman vs Stevie Wonder" when Lilly Singh (using a wide array of wigs and tops) plays all of Steve's nine different kids AND their five different mothers.
  • Actor-Shared Background: There's been an increase in attempts at this:
  • Approval of God: Among the people portrayed in the show who showed appreciation for their or/and their characters' depictions are Skrillex (who even appeared in a concert as himself recreating the rap battle alongside the ERB version of him), Hulk Hogan (who even appeared as himself in a now deleted ERB News video), Barack Obama, Stephen King, Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the MythBusters cast sans Tory Belleci (who did not make any comments or reaction unlike the rest), David Copperfield, Criss Angel, David Tennant (the Tenth Doctor), Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes), Mark Hamill (The Joker) and Gordon Ramsay (who even commented on the video on his official YouTube channel).
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  • Author Appeal: Comic books for Lloyd, who's not only played Superman but headlined every Marvel-related rap battle, from the voice of Deadpool to Bruce Banner, Stan Lee and now Wolverine, the last of whom is also Truer to the Text due to Lloyd.
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Not only was JB Smoove a longtime fan, but he'd had the role of Frederick Douglass on his mind for a long time. Needless to say, it worked out perfectly.
  • The Cast Showoff: Everyone, but special mention goes to...
    • George Watsky, who gets one blazing fast rap verse per appearance and can rap in both iambic pentameter and trochaic octameter.
    • Hitler vs Vader 3 gives EpicLloyd an opportunity to remind everyone that he did gymnastics in college.
    • KRNFX is an accomplished beatboxer, which comes in handy when Lao Tzu supports Confucius during the Eastern Philosophers' second verse.
    • Ivan "Flipz" Velez, who played Boba Fett in the bonus battle against Deadpool is an accomplished dancer, so he spends the entire battle doing dance moves, especially during Boba's third and fourth verses when he segues from pop-locking to full-on breakdancing during his rhymes.
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  • Cast the Expert: Happens with both characters in "Bruce Banner vs Bruce Jenner" after their transformations: The Hulk is played by bodybuilder Mike O'Hearn, and Caitlyn Jenner is played by transgender rapper No Shame.
  • Channel Hop: Seasons 1 through 5 were produced by Maker Studios, but after Maker got fully absorbed into Disney (getting rebranded as the Disney Digital Network), ERB opted to go independent from Season 6 onwards.
  • Dawson Casting:
    • EpicLloyd portrayed Leonidas' six-year-old son Pleistarchus.
    • NicePeter as Romeo and Grace Helbig as Juliet. Mind you, this one's pretty faithful to the source material and all previous adaptations. If only Juliet was a guy...
    • Taken Up to Eleven with Brian Walters, a grown adult, playing Ash Ketchum, a ten-year-old boy.
  • Disowned Adaptation: Donald Trump didn't like his portrayal in the show the first time the one against Scrooge). It's unclear how he feels about his second portrayal (the one against Hilary).
  • Dyeing for Your Art: NicePeter had his barber take in his hairline so he could play Steve Jobs. Since his barber wasn't happy with doing it, he was generous, so NicePeter went back and made him do it worse.
  • Fake Australian: EpicLloyd as Steve Irwin
  • Fake Brit: Quite a few instances of American performers playing British characters:
  • Fake Nationality: Almost every rapper so far has been American, playing roles spanning the length and breadth of human society.
  • Fake Russian: EpicLloyd as Mikhail Gorbachev.
    • An example that doesn't extend to rappers: PewDiePie cameos as the Russian Mikhail Barishnikov, though he is actually Swedish.
  • Fake Scot: EpicLloyd as William Wallace, Gordon Ramsay, and Sean Connery's Bond.
  • Fan Nickname: "Astrophysics Black Guy" for Neil deGrasse Tyson.
  • Fandom Nod: The basis for the rap battle, as it is the viewers who decide what comes next. At the end of most episodes, the YouTube comments that suggested the match-up are shown. There were at least three requests for Elvis Presley vs. Michael Jackson; one had over one hundred likes, and all three were acknowledged at the end of the respective video.
  • Follow the Leader: There's no small doubt that the meteoric rise of Epic Rap Battles of History as one of the Biggest Channels in YouTube history has spawned countless numbers of fanmade videos that try to closely emulate the format with various kinds of match-ups or at least re-use the audio with some different animations as most of them are usually low-budget single person productions. Some are good, but most are forgettable.
    • It's still not known if the immense success of Epic Rap Battles of History had some influence in leading to the creation of Origins: Rap Battle - WW1. A historical music video that's had millions of views and is much too similar to be a coincidence despite being created by the British Broadcasting Company.
    • Epic Rap Battles of Pokémon is a YouTube Channel that has enjoyed a meteoric rise with a total viewcount in the millions because... well, how can you possibly go wrong with a show that faithfully emulates the format of ERBH and flawlessly combines it with a billion-dollar international franchise like Pokémon?
    • UBERocity deserves an honorable mention as they've managed to earn a large viewcount and following with the creativity of their Rap Battles.
    • Video Game Rap Battles has posted several videos which combines fluid 3D animations with spicy bars, resulting in battles that are now worth millions of views.
    • Snow White VS Elsa: Princess Rap Battle is a video that is worth 188 Million views.
    • Super Rap Battles comes very close to replicating the ERB formula considering it's produced in Japan.
  • Genius Bonus: Has its own page here.
  • Loads and Loads of Roles: Peter and Lloyd played virtually every characters in the show. At times they're Acting for Two or even Three in a single video.
  • Lying Creator: In a 2013 Reddit AMA, Lloyd dismissed the possibility of Theodore Roosevelt participating in a rap battle, giving the (admittedly facetious) excuse that Roosevelt wanted to maintain his position as the host of ERB News. Three years later came Theodore Roosevelt vs Winston Churchill.
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: According to this video, two of Peter's five favourite battles are from season 1, which was still when the series was finding itself. None of them are from season 2 despite that season containing more battles than any other seasons. Also, many, if not most, fans consider season 2 to be there favourite season.
  • Meaningful Release Date:
    • Rasputin vs. Stalin was released on April 22, Vladimir Lenin's birthday. It's especially appropriate, since Lenin himself has a speaking role.
    • Gandalf vs. Dumbledore was released on July 14, 2011, a day before the theatrical release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Coincidentally, it was also a decade after the release of the first The Lord of the Rings film.
    • Donald Trump vs. Ebenezer Scrooge was released on December 19, 2013, the anniversary of the book "A Christmas Carol", the book the battle is based on.
    • To something of a lesser extent, Ghostbusters vs. MythBusters was released in 2014, the 30th anniversary of the release of the original Ghostbusters film.
    • Ash Ketchum vs. Charles Darwin was released the same week as the Pokémon video games Pokémon Sun and Moon.
    • "Mother Teresa vs Sigmund Freud" was released just a day shy of the 80th anniversary of Freud's death.
  • Missing Episode: "Henry VIII vs. Hillary Clinton" was originally set to release in season 2, between "Darth Vader vs. Adolf Hitler 2" and "Leonidas vs. Master Chief." Peter and Lloyd felt the quality of the battle just didn't live up to expectations and shelved it. They knew they'd release it sometime down the road.
  • 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!
  • Old Shame:
    • While he isn't upset with how the battles turned out, EpicLLOYD understandably felt uncomfortable with playing Adolf Hitler.
    • "Henry VIII vs. Hillary Clinton" was made back in 2011 during season 2. It was intended for release after Vader/Hitler 2, but the quality of the rap just wasn't up to expected standards at the time, so it was shelved and finally released in 2020.
  • Official Fan-Submitted Content: Starting with season 6, the creators opened up their Patreon Discord server to fan suggestions for lyrics. Steve Irwin's line "Cleaning you up like a Jacques Custodian!" was one such lyric.
  • The Other Darrin:
  • Periphery Demographic: While reaction videos from African-American YouTubers have been around for a while, the hiatus after Donald Trump vs Hilary Clinton saw a sudden boom in reaction videos from these viewers, many Late to the Party and going on an Archive Binge while offering proper critique as well. Not bad for a channel owned by two nerdy white guys.
  • Playing Against Type: While they've never aimed for "types" on purpose, Zach Sherwin has played a string of aggressive and intimidating characters (Ebenezer Scrooge, Stephen King, Alexander the Great, freaking Walt Disney), which contrast with his rather goofy and lighthearted take on Wayne Gretzky.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Mat4yo, a fan of ERB who did some critical analysis for the battles as well as his own videos with similar format, is credited as a writer for Trump vs Clinton.
  • Real-Life Relative: In David Copperfield vs Harry Houdini, Houdini's wife Bess is played by Lloyd's actual wife Josie.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Originally, in "Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney", Romney dissed Obama by saying "You haven't even brought the unemployment rate below 8 percent!" However, while Pete and Lloyd were working on the battle, the unemployment rate actually did fall below 8%, so the line had to be changed to "Took you four years to drop unemployment down below 8 percent!"
  • Schedule Slip:
    • ERB typically releases a battle once a month, but during the Summer 2012, there was a three-month hiatus. Teddy Roosevelt called them out on it and threatened to whoop some ass. To make up for lost time, new battles premiered every other Monday right up until the week of Christmas, and then picked up again in February.
    • Season 4 fell victim to this as well. Beginning in mid-December, it was announced that new battles wouldn't air until May 5th. It wasn't until May 25 that the next video actually came out.
    • Season 5 has also suffered from this, albeit to a lesser extent; while it hasn't been prone to a massive hiatus like previous seasons, nearly every individual battle has been uploaded a day later than intended.
  • Scully Box: The BTS for "Renaissance Artists vs the TMNT" reveals that a row of these were needed to help Ian, Anthony and Link measure up to Rhett.
  • So My Kids Can Watch: Unknowingly invoked - Chali 2na didn't quite get the impact left by Epic Rap Battles of History until he brought it up to his son, who turned out to be such a huge fan that he wasn't even bothered that his dad wouldn't be able to go out with him for a movie!
  • Throw It In!: They made a demo for the Napoleon VS Napoleon battle that eventually got redone, but they used the original for the behind the scenes video for the same battle.
    • In Genghis Khan VS The Easter Bunny, there's a part where Lloyd (playing Khan) smashes a chocolate egg with his sword. The behind the scenes video shows that they didn't think the idea would actually work, so they only did one try before moving on. Since Lloyd actually hit the egg on his first try (which people were not expecting), they decided to put it in.
  • Torch the Franchise and Run: Adolf Hitler VS Darth Vader 3 evidently will be the last match between those characters. The reason for this is clear in-universe: Darth Vader cuts Adolf Hitler in half, and it's implied that his remains land in the Sarlaac pit. Aside from story purposes, there's also the inclusion of a comment in the video that states that the match-ups between these characters are getting stale, which would imply that the crew behind the show are getting a little sick of it. Further confirmed by the Season 4 announcement trailer, which shows Hitler's ghost being captured by the Ghostbusters.
    • More like "Torch The Running Gag And Run", but The Stinger for the Rick Grimes vs Walter White BTS video has the "zombies" holding a mock funeral for the Heroin Joke, implying that we might never hear it again.
  • Unintentional Period Piece:
    • It now feels pretty odd that John Lennon vs. Bill O'Reilly makes no mention of the numerous sexual harassment accusations that destroyed O'Reilly's career.
    • The portrayal of Lady Gaga clearly comes from before she became an acclaimed actress, only referencing her singing career.
  • The Wiki Rule: Here.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Christopher Columbus' original opponent was Neil Armstrong.
    • The lyrics for Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs originally included a line about how Steve's ailment was the only PC he couldn't beat. They decided to not use it because it didn't flow as well and was a bit too disrespectful.
    Walked into the record industry and killed it
    Got fired from my own company, rebuilt it
    My legacy will never fall
    But a PC got me after all
    • There was a battle between Hillary Clinton and King Henry VIII in the works, but it got canned due to dissatisfaction with the recording track.
    • Mikhail Gorbachev's iconic crimson birthmark was originally going to spell out "ERB". Lloyd didn't really like the idea - mostly because it was impossible to see without tilting his head absurdly - so they settled with the birthmark's actual look.
    • God was supposed to be a third rapper in Adam vs. Eve. These were supposed to be his lyrics.
      • According to the behind the scenes, Peter (who cameoed as Steve) originally wasn't planned to appear, which would have made this his very first complete absence in a rap battle.
    • Maximillian of Assist Me made a parody of this series called "Epic Rap Battles of MvC3" between Albert Wesker and Doctor Doom. He was going to make more, but the Epic Rap Battle people sent him a Cease and Desist, basically saying "this one's okay, but if you make more, you'll hear from our lawyers." (No, they don't mean Phoenix Wright...)
    • The BTS for Miley Cyrus vs Joan of Arc shows a hanging rope prop that most likely was intended for a "Wrecking Ball" reference. They also went over possible lines for Peter and Lloyd's cameo as Miley and Lilly. Neither of these are in the final cut.
    • Blackbeard's other opponents considered for the battle were Jack Sparrow and Cap'n Crunch before deciding on Al Capone, who, possibly intentionally, references both Jack and Cap'n in his first two lines.
      • The BTS gives two other lines that were considered for Al Capone's jab at Blackbeard's beard.
      Peter: What beard joke do you like better: "From the likes of you, I've got nothing to fear/'cept maybe the evil beasties you've got nested in your beard." or "That rat's nest of a beard's trapped so many crumbs/you could feed your grubby crew lunch for a month."?
    • Peter originally wanted Smosh to portray Bill and Ted, but they disliked the idea.
    • The BTS for "George Carlin vs Richard Pryor" reveals that Robin Williams wasn't originally intended to be the last rapper, with the battle originally ending on Joan Rivers' verse. However, Williams was added to the battle as a popular request in the ERB Patreon Discord.
    • When Peter and Lloyd joined Maker Studios, it provided them with a needed increase in their production values. But when it went through a troublesome shakeup in 2017 and was eventually acquired by Disney, they left before it happened and became independent. If they had stayed when the company became Disney Digital Network, Epic Rap Battles of History would've been subject to mandatory and strict censorship policies and direct demands from Disney which also would've meant their Raps being less liberal, memorable, and successful than they are right now.
  • Word of God:
    • Peter makes a comment about Hitler and Vader never being able to settle their differences in the Season 3 Opener behind-the-scenes video, so there's a likely possibility that they will show up yet again if/when season 4 comes out. Though Peter did confirm that he's tired of Hitler vs. Vader.
      • As of season 4's release, it's been confirmed that Hitler vs. Vader is done.
  • Three of the matchups have been done before by more violent shows. Superman vs. Goku note  and Robocop vs. Terminator were done by Death Battle, while Steven Spielberg vs. Alfred Hitchcock has been done by Celebrity Deathmatch.
  • There have been five instances of both a character and their creator having both appeared in separate rap battles: HAL 9000 and Stanley Kubrick, William Shakespeare and Romeo & Juliet, Gandalf and J.R.R. Tolkien, Stan Lee and The Incredible Hulk, and Stephen King and Pennywise. With the exception of Tolkien, whose is famous almost exclusively for the franchise that Gandalf originates from, the creators are meant to be symbolic of their entire body of work rather than an individual work by them.
    • Stan Lee also created Marvel's Thor, but the Thor in ERBOH is not explicitly stated to be him (aside from a brief MCU nod). Deadpool, although owned by Marvel, was not created by Lee. Steven Spielberg was involved in Back to the Future where Doc Brown originates from, but the character himself was a creation of Robert Zemeckis.
  • Star Wars, Marvel Comics, and DC Comics are the only franchises with two characters who battled (Darth Vader and Boba Fett for Star Wars, Deadpool and the Hulk for Marvel, and Batman and Superman for DC). As of "Wonder Woman vs. Stevie Wonder", DC officially beats out both Disney properties and has its iconic "Big Three" all represented! As of season 6, Marvel finally caught up with "Freddy Krueger vs Wolverine" (and some would argue that Marvel has way too many prominent characters to narrow down to a "big three", though Hulk and Wolverine both qualify). Since Joker and Thanos appeared later that same season, the score between Marvel and DC remains tied with four characters each.
    • With the official release of "Joker vs Pennywise", NicePeter will have played both Batman and the Joker. EpicLloyd, meanwhile, has played every Marvel character to appear on the show, as well as Marvel creator Stan Lee.
  • The show has featured all four of the Mount Rushmore presidents as rappers. (NicePeter alone plays three!note ) Theodore Roosevelt's appearance includes a shot of Rushmore transitioning into the ERB renditions as a rock band.


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