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They Did What?: 

Epic Rap Battles of History

Beethoven epic rap battle

What is it?

Rap battles are pretty exciting to watch – seeing two wordsmiths battle it out to tear chunks out of each other with perfect rhymes and sharp insults. The trouble is that mostly it’s all bravado from people just famous (or not) for rapping. Step forward Epic Rap Battles of History, which pairs two imagined versions of historical characters against each other who really have stuff to brag about. Stephen Hawking vs Albert Einstein, Shakespeare vs Doctor Seuss, Beethoven vs Justin Bieber: you get the idea. Suffice it to say, it takes something pretty special to become the 15th most subscribed channel in the whole of YouTube, though be warned if such things offends you the language gets occasionally colorful.

Why do we like it?

    • They’re really, really talented. The impersonations of the characters are solid right down to intonation, and no two rappers’ styles are the same, despite it being mainly the work of just two people.
    • There’s something ridiculously brilliant about hearing giants of history feeling the need to big-up their achievements. Example, Doctor Seuss to Shakespeare: “You bore people to death/you leave a classroom looking like the end of Macbeth/I entertain a child of any age/You gotta translate what you said on the opposite page”
    • It wouldn’t be a rap battle without a competition element. Every video asks you to vote on which historical figure got the upper hand. How often do you find yourself considering whether Batman out-rhymed Sherlock Holmes?

One to watch

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