A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Epic Rap Battles of History is a video site that features historic and fictional characters facing off against each other in lyrical duels. Swearing is definitely not off-limits, and words such as "bitch" and "f--k" are used in varying degrees to insult rival characters. There are mentions of violence and some violent images, such as people getting shot, but these are done in humorous ways to amuse viewers. Characters sometimes reference sexual acts and sexual diseases, but nothing graphic is shown. Smoking marijuana and drinking are referenced as well but not focused upon. CDs, T-shirts, and other merchandise is sold on the site, and some videos are preceded by ads. Kids don't have to register to watch the site's videos but can be exposed to stranger's comments via social media through the site's About and Forum pages.
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What's it about?
EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORY is based on a YouTube series created by Peter Shukoff (who also refers to himself as Nice Peter) and Lloyd Ahlquist in 2010. Short videos feature rap-based fights, often between historical figures and modern-day or fictional characters. Many of the videos feature prominent YouTube stars; celebrities such as Snoop Dogg, who played Moses in a rap battle against Santa Claus, also have made appearances.
Is it any good?
The videos on Epic Rap Battles of History aren't exclusively about the past -- some modern-day characters, such as Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, along with literary characters, pop up fairly frequently. However, kids will see plenty of famous figures they may be familiar with, ranging from Bonnie and Clyde to George Washington and Edgar Allen Poe.
They'll also, unfortunately, see some things parents may not be crazy about, including shooting, suicide (thanks to Romeo and Juliet), swearing, and some in-jest (yet still potentially offensive) cracks about race, culture, and sexual orientation. The epic rap battles are likely to be a hit with kids; many are funny, and they often feature interesting character combinations. However, parents who are considering using the battles to supplement learning may want to watch videos with their kids -- or beforehand -- to mitigate some of the questionable content.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how much time you should spend watching TV and videos online, even if you're viewing something educational. What limits can your family set to ensure your child also is enjoying other activities?
The site features fictionalized conversations and songs involving some real-life historical characters. Talk about which aspects of a video are real and which are made up. How can you tell the difference?
Videos on the site show characters arguing. It's all done in jest, but are there other ways they could express their views? Talk to your child about constructive criticism and expressing yourself in a positive way.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.