The series places public and cultural figures, historical and contemporary, in each other in & # 39; rap battles & # 39; satirical. It was released in 2010 by comedians Lloyd Ahlquist and Peter Shukoff, known as EpicLLOYD and Nice Peter online.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Ahlquist explained how the ERB was launched, its viral success and how depicted figures, including Donald Trump, responded.
He commented: “The epic battles in rap history started when I was 31 years old.
“I left college in 1998 and moved to Chicago to study and do comedy. So, I was working, traveling and shredding for almost 10 or 12 years.
"I used to do a freestyle rap show and one of the segments was called a celebrity rap battle and we would ask the audience for suggestions and that was the seed that became epic rap battles in history."
Epic Rap Battles of co-creator of Lloyd Ahlquist's story (depicting Trump – right)
ERB videos usually feature two historical or cultural figures, who in turn play with each other through a beaten verse.
Highlights so far include Winston Churchill, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Sherlock Holmes, Joseph Stalin and Darth Vader.
Ahlquist noted that the channel grew rapidly after launch, stating, "We have a very different story for many YouTubers, since I wasn’t going to YouTube videos for years before and screwing it up and finally it happened. I was doing comedy , but it wasn't YouTube or videos.
"So when the second video got as big as it was, I really didn't understand it.
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Winston Churchill portrayed in an ERB video
"YouTube was a very different place at the time – there was no reference to a famous YouTuber or YouTube or anything like that, so there was nothing to compare it to. So we thought: what is These numbers can't be real – that was the thing for me – the numbers. Just those big numbers with commas. That was hard to understand for many years.
The first ERB videos were uploaded to Shukoff's personal channel, before starting a specific channel for the series, which now has over 3 billion views.
Currently, the ERB is in its sixth season and featured 80 different battles.
When the eighth episode of the first series was produced, the two co-creators managed to make their work at ERB their full-time jobs.
Before that, Ahlquist also worked at a comedy club he owns in Santa Monica.
Asked about the ERB writing process, he replied: “At best, when we do our best or when we are most focused – and this last season was one of our best essays in my opinion – we accept jokes from our writers and even of our customers on Patreon.
“We will research for weeks, read and chat, then make jokes, rhyming couplets, where if you mixed them together it would be very hectic and make sense as a joke, but it wouldn't be a very cohesive song, and we chose the best ones.
Lloyd Ahlquist portraying Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in an ERB video
“So we take all these things, then we put them into a song, then we just polish, polish and polish, then Pete [Shukoff] and I usually get together just him and me, or him and Zac [Sherwin], and just knock them out and make sure they all make sense and punch. And the lyrics keep changing until the recording process and also within the recording process. "
Videos published by ERB are meticulously researched and usually loaded with jokes for those with detailed knowledge of the period or cultural scene.
Ahlquist links this work to the series' enduring popularity.
He said: "We never employ researchers, we always research for ourselves and we really dig deeper into it. We made Jim Henson and Pete only had puppets all over the studio for weeks.
“When I played Steve Irwin, I knew how loved this character is, so I sent the lyrics to a friend who lives in Australia and I was like, you can say that because I don't want the wrong accent to be horrible.
“So research is a big part of paying tribute to this character and I think a big part of the reason why most of the people we've done and portrayed in battles have always appreciated it almost as a badge of honor. We've never had a lot of trouble with people saying & # 39; put this down & # 39; – it's kind of cool! "
Videos produced by ERB often go viral, attracting huge audiences.
The most popular video of the channels, a contest between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney before the 2012 presidential election in the USA, was seen more than 149 million times.
This success means that ERB videos sometimes catch the eye of those they parody when dealing with contemporary figures, including Donald Trump, who has extraordinarily been featured in two separate contests.
Epic Rap Battles of History co-creators Lloyd Ahlquist and Peter Shukoff
Ahlquist praised the reaction of celebrities when he commented: "No one has ever had a problem.
"People definitely say they like videos.
“Donald Trump even tweeted us!
“David Copperfield contacted us. When we made Napoleon Dynamite, the film's director contacted us – he loved it! This is always a lot of fun! "