For an idea as to what we’re doing here, refer back to the introduction for more details.
We’re about at the point in ranking Season Two where the positive aspects of the battle raps outweigh the negative aspects, so expect the comments on the videos to be leaning more positive from here onward… more or less, anyway. Today’s videos are right on the cusp of that, as they’re only slightly more good than bad, though even non-fans have almost certainly seen one of the two before. Let’s jump right in and take a look.
Mozart vs Skrillex
Again, by this point the ERB crew has more or less mastered the art of getting the look of the characters down, so from here on let it be assumed that “everyone looks appropriate” is an inherent compliment of all videos; unless someone looks very convincing (or very bad) we won’t touch on it again. Aside from that, the backing beat does a decent job of incorporating the musical styles of both rappers, and both rappers have decent battle raps to bring to the table. Skrillex hits a lot of fun in-joke references to his own music, while Mozart gets in a lot of powerful blows in his second round especially (though the shot about Deadmau5 in the first round was clever as well).
The biggest problem here is that, aside from some cute self-referential comments, Skrillex has the exact same problem Justin Bieber had in Season One: all he can really say is “I’m awesome,” and “No one gives a shit about you anymore.” Skrillex does get in a dig about Mozart’s dad being overbearing and about how he probably fucked his cousin, though the latter probably wasn’t as big a deal then as it is now so I doubt Mozart would care so much. He also points out that Mozart liked poop jokes, which… I mean, who doesn’t? Meanwhile, Mozart absolutely trucks Skrillex, criticizing his look, his music, his lack of technical chops, his perceived position as a leader in a fad genre, his (possible) ripping off of Deadmau5… the list goes on and on. That said, this battle rap doesn’t seem like it’s meant to be a good guy versus bad guy battle rap; it’s just a case of Skrillex not… having a lot he can really work with, given his target is a two hundred years dead genius and half the stuff he can make fun of isn’t that bad.
Though the Falco joke was probably uncalled for.
Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney
Of all of the Epic Rap Battles of History one would expect complete parity from, this is not the one I’d have expected, so the fact that both sides hit some surprisingly decent points and come across fairly is pretty surprising, and welcome. Both sides make decent points about the political issues their opponent has while also getting in some strong battle rap digs, and despite the obviously politically tinged subtext, it’s still a pretty decent battle overall, even if you’re not invested in the context. Also, the guy tasked with playing Obama, Alphacat, does a surprisingly good job of both emulating Obama and also rapping in a way that isn’t embarrassing, so kudos to him for that. Finally, Peter reprising his role as Lincoln was a fun surprise, and it’s actually a pretty good wrap-up to the battle rap, as it makes a fairly good final point, and also points out that both guys kind of didn’t win here, which… was probably for the best, lest ERB start becoming a political battle.
Well, the biggest issue that comes to mind is, you got Key and Peele to perform a battle rap not six episodes later, but you couldn’t get THEM to be Obama and Luther for this battle rap? If THAT had been the battle rap, I can guarantee you things would’ve gone a whole lot differently.
Beyond that, the battle rap is fine enough, but one gets the impression that the ERB crew didn’t really have anywhere to go with it, and did it as much because it was election season as anything else. It wasn’t a particularly close race or anything; Obama was always going to win, and outside of taking potshots at specific gaffes in discussion or campaign promises that weren’t fulfilled, this wasn’t as satisfying as some of the more vitriolic ERB’s out there. It’s also the highest hitting ERB ever, but that’s due to its subject matter and timing as much as anything; given that the average hits for the rest of the season were less than half what this battle rap saw, well, it’s not hard to see that this one benefited from timing a bit. That’s not a bad thing, but it bears noting that the high hit count was because of context, not because anything going on here was really amazing, so to say.