Youtube acts doing live concerts?!! If ever there was a strange ushering in of a new way it’s quite possible that Youtube acts taking their bands on the road can be a great thing as Epic Rap Battles proved at Anime Midwest 2018. After all, they keep it real based on skills and creativity unlike most the pop marketed trap, hip hop, and pop stars nowadays. I’ve been to a lot o concerts from everything new school like Kendrick Lamar to the old school Wu Tang Clan, U2, and even Bon Jovi. Epic Rap Battles was better than all on stage. They are able to combine their hip hop knowledge, video editing, and mix it together into their own creative blend. It was performance magic as they were jumping into a cipher in the middle of the crowd for an improvised epic rap battle chosen by the crowd of Prince versus David Bowie, beat boxing, or getting a fan to rap on stage with them. You never knew what they were going to do next, and their rapid costume changes were a perfect fit or Anime Midwest amongst the cosplayers. Surprisingly, Anime Midwest was Epic Rap Battles of History’s first convention they’ve ever performed at.
The gold of the group comes from hip hop battle raps. They mix their freestyle battle-esque rapping with their improv background and history. EpicLLOYD and Nice Peter came up with Epic Rap Battles of History right here in Chicago living off of Ashland. Of course the one piece missing that was possibly the hardest to do was video editing. And since Youtube was hot they needed great edited videos to match the songs they were doing, which were supplied by Dave McCary. He is listed as a creator of Epic Rap Battles, and the other two founding fathers of the group said he doesn’t get enough credit for the group. Anyone that does graphic arts and video knows how hard that art can be to learn. Dave created the logo and did most of the early videos teaching the other two members how to edit along the way before leaving to become a director for Saturday Night Live.
Of course there are the music influences that helped create the foundation for the skills used in Epic Rap Battles of History. Lloyd’s first cassette tape was Beastie Boys. His favorite rapper is the very skilled Pharoahe Monch though he listens to all types of music. Paul Simon rates up there as well to EpicLLOYD. Nice Peter learned his rap flow skills from Jurassic 5 though his top three artists include Stevie Wonder, Queen, and Weezer. With their diverse influences it’s easy to see how their passion and creativity spill over the top to create something unique!
In regards to their love of knowledge and history, Epic Rap Battles spends copious times engrossing themselves into researching the characters they use. For example, for months they researched Jim Henson for their Jim Henson vs Stan Lee battle. They watched every episode of Sesame Street, got books on him, and had about thirty hand puppets. That’s dedication! Now things are a little easier for the group since they have a team helping them do all the battles from writers to video to even someone strictly doing After Effects. That’s a great thing because their videos can take over 1,000 hours total! That’s a ridiculous amount of work, and as an example their Einstein vs Stephen Hawking video took 1,060 hours.
With their dedication and creativity Epic Rap Battles has given people some great music while teaching people about history. They have fulfilled some of their own dreams by collaborating with their heroes like Weird Al Yankovic and Snoop Dogg, and Snoop Dogg smokes as much weed as you think! He literally has a guy whose job is to light up blunts, and Snoop Dogg takes a puff then passes it along and the process continues on and on until the shooting is done. They talked about all these things in their interview panel the following day at Anime Midwest. The best part about Epic Rap Battles is they are planning more videos! Be sure to subscribe to them and get ready for the battles to begin!