SAN FRANCISCO — During the first of two Epic Rap Battles of History‘s shows at the Great America Music Hall, the first SF Sketchfest shows ever held at the venue, series creators and stars Nice Peter and EpicLLOYD held an improvised rap battle in the middle of the crowd. Based on audience suggestions Peter was Andrew Jackson and Lloyd was O.J. Simpson. To say the least, they crushed it. Some of the lines would have been among the best in one of their YouTube videos.
Inspired by this, on my way back from the show I decided to do this review lyrically. As you can guess from this sentence’s decided lack of meter or rhymes or beat of any kind it did not go well. I made it two lines before giving up in shame.
Aside from being evidence of my overall inadequacy, it’s a testament to exactly how good they are at what they do. It’s one thing to come up with a novel premise like rap battles between people from history and pop culture, it’s another to have the talent to execute it.
What really shone through in their hour-long set was that talent. Without green screens and editing and all the ways a studio can fix mistakes, their rhymes were every bit as good as the polished final product on their show. Peter’s Bob Ross impression was just as spot on, Lloyd’s Leonidis growl flowed just as well, and guest performer Zach Sherwin’s Stephen King rhymes were just as impossibly fast.
(Speaking of talent, a special shoutout to the guy from the audience who performed the Goku part of the Superman vs Goku battle as well as if not better than the original despite having no preparation. If you’re reading this: Respect. That was amazing).
The opening act was comedian and live-looping beatboxer Drennon Davis, who did some funny songs and a bit with a puppet who said nothing but “Yeah!” over and over. It was great, but the funniest part was his realization that the audience was full of kids and most of his act was dirty. There was visible hesitation before he did an entire song about how average his genitals are. And that was hilarious, because apparently I’m a terrible person.
Follow editor Daniel J. Willis at Twitter.com/BayAreaData.