|Epic Rap Battles of History|
The series' logo and YouTube avatar
|First released||September 26th, 2010|
|Latest release||December 18th, 2021|
|Number of episodes||85 (main series)|
Epic Rap Battles of History, officially shortened to ERB or ERBoH, is a YouTube web series created by Peter Shukoff (Nice Peter) and Lloyd Ahlquist (EpicLLOYD). The series pits notable historical and pop culture figures, real and fictional, against one another in a rap battle format. The characters portrayed are determined by suggestions from viewers in the comments sections of the channel's videos.
The ERB crew conducts meticulous research in order to glean obscure details to use as references in the lyrics and are known for having pushed the quality of digital video to new heights even in the early stages of the YouTube era. The channel currently has over 14.4 million subscribers and approximately 3 billion total video views.
ERB also has a satire spin-off parody, named Flash in the Pan Hip Hop Conflicts of Nowadays, which has a lower production cost than the original main series.
History of the series
Peter Shukoff and Lloyd Ahlquist first met freestyling on a porch in Chicago. Ahlquist recruited Shukoff to join the improv comedy group Mission IMPROVable, which he helped found at the University of Massachusetts and later expanded across the country.
The idea for historical figures rapping against each other was conceived by Ahlquist, who gave the idea to Shukoff (the two later created a demo track: Michael J. Fox vs Chucky) as an improvised show, which was titled "Check One Two", as the two worked on improvisation skits, along with Zach Sherwin. They were met with lots of difficulty at first and decided that it would fare much better as a YouTube series than an improv show.
The first three rap battles were each shot on a $50 budget. John Lennon vs Bill O'Reilly was the first official rap battle of the series, and it was uploaded on September 22nd, 2010, under the title "Bill O'Reilly Flips Out on John Lennon". The official video was released on September 26th, 2010. The series' second installment, Darth Vader vs Hitler, skyrocketed the series' popularity, as well as the viewers for Nice Peter's and EpicLLOYD's channels. Albert Einstein vs Stephen Hawking, which is the most viewed battle of Season 1, was the first one to feature recurring crew member Zach Sherwin.
After fifteen battles, the series ended its first season with "The Final Battle: Nice Peter vs EpicLLOYD", which announced that there would be a Season 2 and showed a sneak peek of the Mario Brothers, King Henry VIII (who was later scrapped), Ludwig van Beethoven (who would not be reused for the season), and Master Chief.
A preview of Adolf Hitler frozen in carbonite was uploaded on November 18th, 2011, and the first battle of Season 2, Hitler vs Vader 2, premiered on December 8th, 2011, from ERB's own dedicated YouTube channel. The season consisted of eighteen battles, released in sets of six. The first six were released a month apart, and it was then announced that the following sets of battles would come out once every two weeks. The season ended with Rasputin vs Stalin on April 22nd, 2013.
In 2015, the series went on its first tour.
On April 10th, 2019, the ERB Patreon was launched by Peter and Lloyd to support themselves for being independent. It includes exclusive content, allows fans to submit lines and suggestions directly to them, and more.
ERB returned with Season 6 on April 20th, 2019, with Freddy Krueger vs Wolverine as its premiere and, following a long break due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, ended abruptly on December 5th, 2020 with Harry Potter vs Luke Skywalker as its finale. A seventh season was confirmed that day to begin in 2021.
- Main article: List of Epic Rap Battles of History episodes
Awards and nominations
|2013||3rd Streamy Awards||Best Writing: Comedy||Nominated||Peter Shukoff, Lloyd Ahlquist|
|Best Online Musician||Won||Peter Shukoff|
|Best Original Song||Won||Peter Shukoff, Lloyd Ahlquist (Steve Jobs vs Bill Gates)|
|Best Music Series||Won||Epic Rap Battles of History|
|Best Use of Fashion & Design||Won||Mary Doodles|
|1st YouTube Music Awards||Video of the Year||Nominated||Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney|
|Artist of the Year||Nominated||Peter Shukoff, Lloyd Ahlquist|
|2014||4th Streamy Awards|
|Best Editing||Nominated||Andrew Sherman, Ryan Moulton, Daniel Turcan, and Nice Peter|
|Best Collaboration||Nominated||Nice Peter, EpicLLOYD, and Snoop Dogg|
|Best Writing||Won||Nice Peter, EpicLLOYD, Zach Sherwin, Dante Cimadamore, and Mike Betette|
|Best Music Video||Won||Goku vs Superman|
|Best Use of Costume Design||Won||Sulai Lopez|
|2015||26th Producers Guild of America Awards||Outstanding Digital Series||Nominated||Epic Rap Battles of History|
|5th Streamy Awards|
|Best Collaboration||Won||Nice Peter, EpicLLOYD, Grace Helbig, and Hannah Hart|
|Best Use of Costume Design||Won||Sulai Lopez|
|Best Editing||Won||Andrew Sherman, Ryan Moulton, Daniel Turcan, and Peter Shukoff|
|Best Writing||Nominated||Peter Shukoff, Lloyd Ahlquist, Zach Sherwin, Dante Cimadamore, and Mike Betette|
|2016||27th Producers Guild of America Awards||Outstanding Digital Series||Nominated||Epic Rap Battles of History|
|68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Short Form Variety Series||Nominated||Epic Rap Battles of History|
|6th Streamy Awards|
|Best Collaboration||Nominated||Nice Peter, EpicLLOYD, Meghan Tonjes, Mike Betette, and Zach Sherwin|
|Best Use of Costume Design||Nominated||Sulai Lopez|
|Best Editing||Nominated||Nice Peter, Andrew Sherman, Ryan Moulton, Josh Best, and Javi Sánchez-Blanco|
|Best Writing||Nominated||EpicLLOYD, Nice Peter, Zach Sherwin, Dante Cimadamore, and Mike Betette|
|2017||28th Producers Guild of America Awards||Outstanding Digital Series||Nominated||Epic Rap Battles of History (Season 5)|
|21st Annual Webby Awards||Comedy: Individual Short or Episode (Film & Video)||Nominated||Wonder Woman vs Stevie Wonder (Maker Studios, now Disney Digital)|
|69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Short Form Variety Series||Nominated||Epic Rap Battles of History|
|2019||9th Streamy Awards||Best Writing||Nominated||Nice Peter, EpicLLOYD, Zach Sherwin|
|Costume Design||Won||Morgan Christensen|
- There have been a total of 28 battles with Peter and Lloyd as the main actors and rappers.
- The series was mentioned by Walt Disney in Jim Henson vs Stan Lee, referencing the Walt Disney Company buying Maker Studios (now Disney Digital), which used to own the ERB franchise.