For an idea as to what we’re doing here, refer back to the introduction for more details.
We’re at the end of the line for the second season; I’ll be taking a week off before launching into the third season to recharge a bit, but we’ve still got one more entry to go in this season, and it’s a good one. These are easily the two best entries in the second season of ERB, and they’d also rank fairly high on an “all time” list if we put together such a list at any point; they’re technically sound, well produced, and entertaining as all get out. Let’s get down to business…
Hitler vs Vader 2
This is easily one of the most popular pairings in ERB history, so it makes sense that Lloyd and Peter would revisit this battle, and they have an entire first season’s worth of tricks learned to spice it up from the first time around. We’re given new costumes, a lot more build-up, and a general indication that this is more epic than ever before right from jump, which helps a lot, not just for this battle, but for the season (and subsequent ones) overall.
Also, because the two have already battled once before, they have the benefit of opponent familiarity, and go immediately into full battle mode, which makes this a more streamlined, directed battle. There’s a lot less feeling out, and it’s just a precision rap battle that ends… more or less the way the first one ended, but still. It’s better produced, better assembled and just an excellent midpoint in the feud overall.
Well Hitler, according to the ERB website, won this rap battle, which he almost certainly did, which necessitated a rubber match in season three, and while Lloyd did an excellent job, Hitler won, so that’s… wow. Beyond that, though, this battle falls into an odd trap of being more about its pageantry than its battle rap, which is fine to a point, but it diminishes the experience a bit. Had a battle of this scope and design been combined with the flows of the first battle it probably would’ve taken the top spot for the season, but it wasn’t, so it didn’t. Second place twice in a row isn’t a bad deal, of course, but the third time won’t be the charm for this trilogy, unfortunately…
Rasputin vs Stalin
This battle showed exactly what ERB could be with the right amount of time and dedication, and it was absolutely amazing structurally and conceptually. For one thing, featuring five of the most prominent people involved in the shaping of Russia’s current existence was an excellent idea, and pairing them off in such a battle was clearly a hell of a task, one that was absolutely worth it. The sheer visual spectacle and work involved alone make this one an easy battle to like, but on top of that, the battle raps themselves are awesome. Each battle rap is layered with awesome historical references and slick put-downs that are just a lot of fun to listen to. With Russia’s growing prominence in political discussions, it’s also a surprisingly relevant ERB, and one that really highlights why Russia is the way it is, especially if you don’t know.
Well if you don’t care about world history, this one could be boring, but frankly, if that’s your opinion of this battle, fuck you, why are you even watching ERB in the first place? Douche.
The more obvious issue, though, is that this battle ended up inspiring the ERB crew to attempt the same battles at the middle and end of each season going forward, and the promise of these battles wouldn’t be paid off until just recently with the season four mid-season battle between Spielberg and Hitchcock. This means we’ll have to go through two of these battles next season that in no way pay off how cool this one is, and while we can’t blame this battle for that, it’s still disappointing in context.