Mike Hat

Sanic Reviews: Alexander vs. Ivan Part 1

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Oh boy. I've been trying to figure out how to do this one for a bit. I'm still not entirely sure how to "fairly" judge this battle, but I'm going to take a stab at it anyway. Gotta do it in two parts too...

Who won?

Ivan the Terrible

Look alive, crème de la Kremlin's arriving
I think crème de la Kremlin is one of the better puns ERB has used in recent memory. I think it works here because it literally means "best of the Kremlin," so not only is it a pun referencing Ivan, it also works as a boast on multiple levels. +2
Try to serve Ivan, no surviving
Decent wordplay. +1
You're a land rover, I'm a land expander
I like the point of this line. Maybe it could've been conveyed a little better, but yeah, in the long run, Ivan's gains really have lasted longer than Alexander's. +1
Here to hand you your first loss, Alexander
Kind of odd to reference maybe the most impressive, boast-worthy thing about Alexander but it does make him sound threatening I guess. +1
I'll school you like Aristotle
Smack you harder than you hit that bottle
I don't think either of these really go as far with their references as they could, although I guess they do make enough references to Alexander's alcoholism anyway... But together they're both okay enough to add to a +1
You're nothing but an overrated lush, I'll crush ya
I'm the first Tsar of all of Russia
Uh okay buddy, nice job literally just stating your occupation. Pretty filler-y but I think the visuals here at least work well enough to stop this line from being pointless. 0
You're an asshole with an anastole
The way this line is said, it flows oddly well. There's something about it that's very pleasant to my ears. +1
I'm heaven sent, divine and holy
So don't even try to approach the God
Could have gone further with this stuff maybe. 0
Or you'll get a huge sack like Novgorod
...hehehehe. I'm immature, sorry. +2

Alexander the Great

Hey fella, swell diss
"hey man good job I liked your verse" -2
But now you got the Panhellenist from Pella hella pissed
Flow is kind of the name of Alexander's game of course. I'll go ahead and defend it here... maybe I'm looking far too much into this, but I almost think Alexander's very style-over-substance verse works BECAUSE it focuses a little too much on flow. See, one of Ivan's points in the first verse was that even though what Alexander did was very impressive at the time, as soon as he was dead, he left very little impact worldwide because of how quickly his territorial gains were reversed. I almost feel like that applies here too - Alexander's got maybe the best flow in ERB history, but his lines ultimately leave little lasting impact and have little longevity, and therefore, he's just not as impressive when all's said and done. It also makes Alexander look like he's got a very one track mind, which later helps to sell that he's gullible enough to take the very suspicious drink from Ivan. This doesn't necessarily make me LOVE Alex's verse (spoiler: he gets the lowest score of the battle) but I do think there could be a reason for it beyond "Sherwin."

And this has been, overthinking things wayy too much with Sanic
Stepping up's foolish as well as useless
Little Vasilyevich, let me spell out the list
Vasilyevich is a funny enough word to justify this line I think. +1
I brought foes to their knees in Phoenicia
I like the wordplay here. Probably no one else does as much as I do. +1
Breezed through Gaza to Giza
Had the Balkans, Persia, Syria, Iraq
and Pakistan in my expansion pack
"Expansion pack" is pretty humorous. +2
While you died in the middle of a game of chess
You got vodka bars, flavorless
Alexander's focus on drinks is kind of funny to be honest. Again, helps make it less odd that he just accepts the drink from Ivan later. +2
And what I'm about to spit will be the craziest
So go fix me a drink so I can stay refreshed
Unrelated but when I rap Alexander's part my throat does get pretty parched. 0
Kudos! Greek for the glory I got
From winning every single war that I fought
Really really straightforward lines here with no jokes. I do have to say though, I ADORE the rhyme scheme from this part of the verse onward. They manage to provide assonance for the "glory I got" thing like ten times. 0
So this will be straight forward, I'll take up this sword that I brought
And slice you in half like the Gordian knot
If this line had gone a little further, I'd have been a bigger fan, but it's still okay. +1
And I'll soar to the top like the eagle whose feather I would sport in the helmet that I wore
As I swatted my many enemies, shattered 'em like a porcelain pot
I heard someone suggest that this line was an obtuse reference to Link since Link vs. Alexander was decently popular as a suggestion, but I don't think that's the case. Still loving the rhyme scheme enough for a +1
And they'd be praying for the torture to stop
But I would leave 'em contorted and they'd be screaming and roaring
Until their vocal chords were torn up and shot
I don't really usually like lines that are just the rapper talking about how good at combat they are. 0
And I would holler Bucephalus! Hop on my horsey and trot
I win Ivan, I vanquish, I'm an immortal, you're not
I like that they fit Ivan's name in there three times. Genius says this is somehow a reference to "Vini, vidi, vici" but I don't understand how that works at all. +1

This part where both Ivan and Alex are kinda talking at the same time

Enough! I don't stand a chance against your skills
на здоровье, a drink to your victory - Yes, I will!
This is mostly advancing the story. I'm not going to take off any points for these parts solely because Ivan's facial expressions and Alex/Frederick's overacting made me laugh really hard, but I will say it brings down the rapping score some just because it makes the battle drag a bit. 0
It seems no one can defeat me
I weep, it's all so easy
What's wrong? - I feel a bit... queasy.
Ha! You've been poisoned! - Oh, the pain is unbearable!
My stomach's riddled with holes! - I'm terrible.
There's no great who could defeat this Russian
I'm not gonna give any points for this, but Genius shows a picture from a movie about Ivan that this scene from ERB absolutely looks like it's based on. I encourage everyone to check out the pic, it's cool how much they referenced with the visuals in this battle. 0
Psst, what about a flute busting Prussian?



  1. Poles's Avatar
    I thought it was pretty clear "Hey fella, swell diss" was sarcastic
  2. Mike Hat's Avatar
    Oh yeah it was definitely sarcastic. But it doesn't really serve any point and I hate it.
  3. Poles's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by SanicAtTheDisco*
    Oh yeah it was definitely sarcastic. But it doesn't really serve any point and I hate it.
    Flow and arrogance is the point mang, like a lot of his verse