Senior Class Has “Epic Rap Battles”

In John Corbin’s American Government class CHS seniors took part January 18 in what is becoming a lyrical tradition based on historic roots. Corbin invited his students to create rap battles based on important philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero. They took their bases from the popular YouTube video series “Epic Rap Battles of History” that pits famous icons like Bill Nye and Isaac Newton, or Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill in an epic rap battle to decide who is superior. Corbin believes the raps are having a positive effect on his students.

“There’ll just be places where everyone gasps,” he explained. “Everyone has that one line that is just killer.”

Although Corbin explained that the videos are “not all appropriate,” he assures that for the raps his students make, he has “an expectation that it’s school appropriate.”

The students split into six groups for three battles and create their own raps and success criteria. To create the raps, students are expected to “research historical figures that are significant to what we’re learning,” said Corbin, “while roasting the other side.”

This is the second semester Corbin has implemented the activity into the curriculum.

“It’s far better than just droning on in front of the class,” he said, and claimed the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

The students are then allowed to perform the raps themselves or invite guest rappers to perform. Past guest rappers have included secretaries Yvonne Henry and Terri Hansen from the front office, as well as Vice Principal Beth Blatt, who according to Corbin, wanted to do right by the students’ vision and practiced for the raps on their own time.