Epic Rap Battles of History is a YouTube series that sees current, historical and fictional figures duke it out in rap battles. While it is mostly a silly series of videos, it has one type of battle appearing every four years that while remaining goofy, is also somewhat reflective of the current society. These are the presidential battles, where the Democratic and Republican nominees fight each other in a four minute battle of wits and rhymes.
I highly recommend giving these a watch this midterm season, not only to relive some childhood nostalgia, but also to look at modern democracy in a satirical light.
2012: Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney:
The battle has a nice beat playing throughout and the overlaying music sounds like something a politician would play before their campaign speech. I love how Romney leads with “I’m not going to let this battle be dictated by facts!,” which feels incredibly reflective of modern politics, no matter a candidate’s political leaning.
While Romney has better flow, I’m giving the win to Obama here, as his phrases like “so rich and white it’s like I’m running against a cheesecake” and “got their hands so far up your rear, call you Mitt” had me absolutely rolling.
I love the ending, as both candidates are reduced to basically squabbling toddlers (and isn’t that how many modern political debates go?). Abraham Lincoln flies in on a giant eagle and tells them to shut up and actually be politicians. Makes you wish the real Lincoln would talk some sense into our candidates. Winner: Barack Obama
2016: Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton:
Let me just say that the actors beautifully capture the essence of the candidates. Clinton’s verses have good flow and she has some truly solid burns and Trump has some solid rebuttals. Most of his phrasing is rather offensive and provoking, so it feels in line with the real Trump. Toward the end of the fight, he has the entire media cheering him on, which is weirdly reflective of how Trump’s campaign panned out. I want to point out a moment of pure gold during the battle, where Trump, who has had his eyes shut the entire time, opens them with glee when talking about building the wall.
However, I’m giving the win to Lincoln, who once again shows up on his eagle and verbally assaults both candidates. He does not pull his punches when screaming at Trump or Clinton and his comment to Trump “don’t get your fans stirred up in some sort of Twitter civil war” has got to be some of the sickest foreshadowing known to man. I am once again wishing Lincoln could have flown in on a big eagle during a presidential debate between these two, but hey, you can’t always win. Winner: Abraham Lincoln
2020: Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden:
While this fight pokes fun and has some serious burns toward both candidates, this battle just seems kind of boring compared to the other two. Trump lacks his usual pizzaz and seems more dull this time around. While Biden certainly has some killer lines, his delivery sounds a little too much like an old man and greatly affects his flow. I did find it really funny that while Biden is rapping, Trump just butts in with a single “Wrong!”
I also loved the detail of a fly landing on Biden’s head about halfway through his second verse (although in real life that happened with former vice president Mike Pence), as well as his “what is this malarkey?” line. My biggest gripe with this battle, however, is that Lincoln doesn’t show up to slap some sense into the candidates, which is what really brings out the laughs and pokes some extra fun at both sides. Sadly, I cannot declare a winner, as satirized Trump isn’t at his best, Biden’s flow is near awful and there is no Lincoln. Winner: No one
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