Epic Rap Battles of History, created by Peter Shukoff and Lloyd Ahlquist, imagines what would happen if some of the biggest historical, political and cultural names verbally sparred for supremacy. Most of the time, the pairings are whimsical fabrications—a “what-if” of sorts that reimagines the past through a musical-comedy lens—but sometimes they include pertinent political or cultural commentary about the current state of affairs. Donald Trump has already battled Ebenezer Scrooge, but one wonders what it would look like if he squared off against Hillary Clinton or, even better, Bernie Sanders.
Over the series’ four seasons, the episodes have increased in post-production value and the various rap styles they feature, so what makes each one work differs every time. Whether it’s for their sharp rhymes, clever references, hilarious impersonations or special effects, here are the 10 best episodes.
10. Lewis & Clark vs. Bill and Ted
The rap itself isn’t one of the series’ stronger ones, but what makes this episode such a standout is what takes place in the background. Once Bill and Ted slam Lewis and Clark for relying so heavily on Sacagawea’s help, she develops her own storyline. Shukoff explained, “I believe it was Lloyd’s wife Josie who was whispering in my ear that there needed to be more Sacagawea.” From there, the idea spiraled and more Sacagawea is what viewers got.
9. Mozart vs. Skrillex
Epic Rap Battles has focused on a few different musical pairings over the course of its existence. (Beethoven and Justin Bieber, anyone?) But when Mozart takes on Skrillex, it hits all the right notes both musically and comedically. Whether it’s Mozart’s gentlemanly rap, or Skrillex’s hyped up production, this episode is easily one of the series’ most memorable music showdowns.
8. Adam and Eve
It’s the ultimate battle of the sexes between the two who supposedly started it all. Rather than a complacent Adam or a wistful Eve, what viewers get is a hardcore couple who’s had it up to here with one another. Throw YouTube star Jenna Marbles into the mix and Eve will never look the same again. “Jenna was perfect for it,” Shukoff said, “this kind of raunchy Eve.”
7. Gandhi vs. Martin Luther King Jr.
What happens when two of the most infamous proprietors for non-violence square off in a battle for rap supremacy? The gloves come off. Not only do Key & Peele lend their strong impersonation skills and comedic timing to this rap, but with lines like “yoga fire” and “naan violence,” there’s also a clever wit brewing beneath the surface.
6. Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney
Many Epic Rap Battles pairings are whimsical “what-ifs” that would never happen in real life. Obama and Romney squaring off, on the other hand, seemed totally plausible during the 2012 presidential campaign. Its take on Obama and Romney—starring YouTube star and Obama impersonator Alphacat—quickly became an Internet sensation, and it’s still sitting pretty with over 100 million views on YouTube alone.