For an idea as to what we’re doing here, refer back to the introduction for more details.
Well, we’re still circling the drain with Season Two, though we’re already starting to get into tracks that are less “bad” and more “ehhhh” which says a lot about Season Two in general. We’ve got a couple of really good ones at the top, and we had a couple of really bad ones at the bottom, but the middle… twelve to fourteen, we’ll say… are just a whole lot of meh.
I honestly have nothing constructive to say here; let’s just get to it:
Frank Sinatra vs Freddie Mercury
Lloyd does a fine job as a “tail end of his career” version of Sinatra, even if it’s entirely spoken word rapping; when he takes a shot at another legendary singer later in this review he’ll have a lot better results, but this is fine enough for what it is. Peter, by comparison, looks acceptable as Mercury, and when the singing parts come up, either through raw talent or vocal effects, he performs perfectly fine. Also, Sinatra’s parts are both less racist than the Clint Eastwood battle raps and more convincing relative to the racism of the character participating. That is, Eastwood spent his whole rap being super fucking racist to a level that’s unbelievable (as in not believable), while Sinatra’s raps are only casually racist, which is something I have absolutely no trouble believing about Frank Sinatra.
Also, credit where credit’s due, the Sammy Davis line was both really obvious and pretty funny.
What in the seven hells is that accent Peter is doing? THIS is what Freddie Mercury sounded like, not… whatever Peter is doing there. Further, while I’m totally cool with the idea of Sinatra being kind of a bigot (because historically, he was kind of a bigot), I’m slightly less okay with Mercury dropping Italian slurs in his rap, even if that was the only way you could think of to reference “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Also, let’s be real here: I love Queen and Freddie was a musical God and something of a help after the fact to people taking AIDs and homosexuality seriously, but he should in no way be taking credit for that, because Freddie Mercury the actual person was notoriously unwilling to directly discuss his sexuality, and didn’t publicly state he had AIDs until the day before he died. It’s fine that we credit these things to him, but even in a comedic battle rap done for amusement, that’d be complete bullshit; the reality is that he advanced these causes because of who he was, not what he did, and that’s wrestling heel mentality. Am I… supposed to think Freddie is the bad guy in this rap? Probably not, but that’s the effect if you know anything about Mercury’s history. Magic Johnson actually did stuff to help advance AIDs knowledge and research; Mercury just made it a thing we had to deal with as a society, and while that’s admirable, it’s not the same thing.
I mean, yeah I’m probably taking that too seriously, but these are guys who worked a joke on string theory into a battle rap; they know stuff. I expect more, I guess? I don’t know.
Babe Ruth vs Lance Armstrong
Lloyd kills it as Babe Ruth here, mostly; he looks pretty authentic and affects an appropriate voice that sells the battle rap well, which helps out a lot. Peter as Armstrong also works pretty well; he’s got the look and the build for it, and since Armstrong doesn’t have any sort of appreciable voice traits, Peter just gets to rap as himself, more or less, which works out pretty well for him. Ruth gets in a couple of decent digs, also, which are worth a laugh or two.
Um… so wait. I agree with the sentiment, expressed here and by Adam Tod Brown, that there’s definitely a bit of an asterisk next to Babe Ruth’s name in the Hall of Fame because he mostly competed during a time when black athletes weren’t allowed in baseball, so we’re on the same page there, but, uh… “that’s like having a pasta contest without Italy”? I… don’t think there’s a single possible way you could take that line that isn’t racist as shit, and I’m pretty sure Lance Armstrong isn’t a giant racist. Not publicly anyway.
The bigger problem, of course, is that this is another “heel/face” confrontation; in other words, Armstrong is clearly the bad guy here (since this wasn’t too long after him being outed for doping), and Ruth is clearly the good guy. This is fine, in theory, because Armstrong is a doper, and Ruth was basically good at what he did despite being kind of slovenly, but these sorts of battle raps rarely make for good viewing. That trend continues here; Armstrong mostly just raps about being a competitor and doing what he had to when he wanted to win (and calls Oprah fat, which is… something), while Ruth raps about the love of the sport, and it’s just a lot of obvious shit being turned into raps, not anything really fun or funny.