The "Epic Rap Battles of History," a YouTube video series co-created by comedians Peter Shukoff (aka Nice Peter) and Lloys Ahlquist (aka epicLLOYD), is the 13th most subscribed channel on the video-sharing website, according to Social Blade as of 22 July, with 10,535,528 subscribers and over 1,157,542,409 total views. The series has been housed on its own YouTube channel since December 2011 and features comedic rap battles between historical figures and/or current celebrities.
The musician-comedian Peter and actor-comedian and emcee EpicLLOYD first met while freestyling on a porch in Chicago, after which the latter recruited the former to join the improve comedy group IMPROVable, which he helped found at the University of Massachusetts, according to the ERB website. In 2009, the duo reconnected while performing at M.i Westside Comedy Theatre that was initiated by IMPROVable in Santa Monica CS.
In 2010, Peter, who was already a well-established YouTube personality with Maker Studios, announced during one of his live segments that he, EpicLLOYD and MC Mr. Napkins (Zach Sherwin) would perform an improv rap show featuring comedic, poignant altercations between two characters suggested by the audience, that would work better in a digital format.
The first "Epic Rap Battles of History" that premiered on Peter's YouTube channel on 26 September 2010 was an instant hit, and currently has over 31,245,800 hits.
The second video, which featured a hilarious battle of words between Darth Vader and Adolf Hitler, began with an excited Hitler rapping in a German accent: "I am Adolf Hitler/ Commander of the Third Reich/Little known fact: Also dope on the mic/". It became a viral sensation in a matter of days and now has over 84,243,795 views.
"Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney," uploaded on 15 October 2012 to the official ERB channel became so popular that it became the first YouTube video to be certified as a gold single by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Although earlier episodes featured only Peter and EpicLLOYD, lately, many Internet celebrities such as Lisa Donovan, Timothy DeLaGhetto, George Watsky, DeStorm Power, Jesse Wellens, Jenna Marbles, Rhett and Link, Smosh, and PewDiePie made special appearances. Media celebrities like rapper Snoop Dogg, parody artist "Weird Al" Yankovic, and the comedian duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele were also featured.
The reactions of the fans over the years have also been reaffirming the fact that these comedians are doing everything right.
Epic Rap Battles of History are probably some of my favorite YouTube videos
— bookworm princessa (@bookwrmprincess) July 22, 2014
Why am I just now getting into Epic Rap Battles of History? These videos are PHENOMENAL. — Anna Huntsman (@anna_the_duck) July 22, 2014
So I've been seeing these ads for Epic Rap Battles of History so I wanted to check it out. Some really cool... http://t.co/kJ4r65vBP7
— Kwang-Jin Oh (@Wolfe359) July 16, 2014
On 14 July 2014, ERB posted their last video for Season 3 titled "Artists vs TMNT. Epic Rap Battles of History Season 3 Finale", which received over 11,997,022 hits. The fans, however, need not be disappointed, because according to their official Twitter page, it is promised that they would be back with Season 3.5 on 5 May, with new battles to be uploaded on 5 May, 19 May, 2 June, 16 June, 30 June, and 14 July.
Check out Season 3 finale video here: