For an idea as to what we’re doing here, refer back to the introduction for more details.
We’re starting to get into the winning battle raps from this season, and with only two more postings to go in the second season, the quality of raps is going to ramp up a bit from here on. This entry features a guest appearance that was surprising and also incredibly welcome, as it happens, as well as the aforementioned “Lloyd mimics a singer better” bit I mentioned earlier in this season’s rankings. Let’s get to it:
Gandhi vs Martin Luther King Jr
It’s motherfucking Key and Peele battle rapping against each other, do I REALLY need to say anything else? Okay, fine. Key plays an absolutely stellar Ghandi, and Peele does a great job as MLK, such that this is one of those rare battle raps where both people going into the battle are basically spot on at what they’re doing from the moment the battle starts. I have to say, it’s also really surprising that both of them are as good at this as they are, given that we’ve seen a whole lot of people fucking bomb at this during this season, so good on them for being spot-on at it from jump. There are also some sick burns in the battle raps themselves, and for the most part this one is basically pretty solid throughout.
The major issue here is that when there are some flat raps, they are super flat. For example, the entire “tech support/no-bell prize” joke is multi-layered, but it’s multiple layers of suck; yes, MLK has a Nobel Prize, and the joke also calls out that Ghandi is a brown person and therefore works in tech support, as well as the fact that telephones were commonly associated with Bell. Ha ha, but the Bell part of the joke is a weak feeder, and the setup (that Ghandi is from India, basically) was yucky considering Ghandi doesn’t go there. On the other hand Ghandi calls MLK fat, which is… sigh. Yeah, the point is there are some real flat lines here, and it’s a shame, because a couple stronger lines would’ve propelled this into the top three, easily.
Michael Jackson vs Elvis Presley
There’s a lot of good going on here, honestly, from Peter’s pitch perfect portrayal of adult Jackson, Bentley Green’s solid performance as young Jackson, and Lloyd’s generally solid portrayal of Elvis across the board, to the shift from “young” to “old” versions of the characters, featuring both stylistic and visual changes that really make this one feel important. There are also a lot of really good lines delivered here that are intelligent and fun (“beat gold records out of you like alchemy,” is a favorite), and both sides get nasty with the shots at points, which is honestly how it should be. Jackson kind of was a weird dude, and Elvis kind of did steal a lot of his stuff from black culture; this isn’t the place to be ignoring that, it’s the place to be using it as ammo, which Peter and Lloyd do well.
Also, considering how this could’ve gone, this one remains mostly focused on Jackson being a weirdo and mostly doesn’t get into race too much, outside of implying Jackson was a white person twice, which was a lot better than it could’ve been, so kudos for focusing on all of the other crazy shit surrounding Jackson’s life.
So Elvis makes the comment that Jackson grabs his dick a lot (which is obviously an exaggeration), and how does Jackson respond? By grabbing his dick for like ten seconds straight. I mean come the fuck on Peter, what the fuck was THAT? Also, while a lot of the jokes are complex and multi-layered, others are just cheap shots that don’t go anywhere and don’t really mean anything. Also, maybe this is just me, but how does Michael Jackson both look like a sad white woman and Tootie?
Perhaps he meant Tootie from Fairly Odd Parents? (He obviously didn’t, since a Kim Fields lookalike popped up two seconds later.)
Also, don’t Google image search “Tootie”. Deviant Art images show up there and holy fuck that is some scary shit.