Nice Peter is the mastermind behind the hit YouTube series Epic Rap Battles of History, which, on the off chance you haven't seen it, pits famous characters rapping against each other – say, Dr. Seuss vs. Shakespeare, or Justin Bieber vs. Beethoven – with Peter himself usually playing them.
The L.A. based MC and musician born Peter Shukoff has a pretty cool life. He's made a living off of these videos, which are an absolute phenomenon; his channel has over 2 million subscribers, and the average battle gets, oh, 50 million views or so. We talked to him over the phone before the Troubadour show last night, and he didn't want to get into detail about just how hard he's balling off of that YouTube money; “I drive a nice car” is all he would say on that subject. But he added that he went from a series of shitty jobs to spending his days doing something he loves.
His Troubadour show kicked off a month-long tour, and the big question was: Would the fun of his internet clips translate to a live setting?
To open the show he'd enlisted the British band The Jackpot Golden Boys. This two-man act (they're brothers) had a '90s punk/alternative rock vibe, minus the teenage angst.
As for Nice Peter's set, it was broken into four parts, which seemed to be: songs about body parts, songs that were dedicated to interpersonal relationships, live rap battles, and a mishmash of other stuff. Highlights include a love song dedicated to boobs and “I Quit, You Fat Motherfucker.”
A guy named Dylan came up from the audience and blew everyone away (including Pete) by knowing every line and all the choreography to the Bill Gates part of the Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates Epic battle (above). At another point, Pete and his friend Joey Greer trolled the crowd, pretending to stumble around the stage drunk and singing only the phrases “Come on, stand up!” and “Come on, you know the lyrics!”.
Pete's performance was disorganized and lacked a certain flow, but, hey, it was the first night of the run, and it certainly was fun. The actually nice thing about Nice Peter is his informality; his show felt more like a late night/early morning, semi-drunk jam sesh, which was just about right.
He closed the show by running into the audience and starting his own encore chant, then running back onstage and singing to the Thundercats theme song, covering Queen's iconic “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, and tossing out a sweet original, “Sunflower Song.” Turns out he's capable of more than sweet rap battle burns.
Personal Bias: Pete and I bonded over having weird last names.
The Crowd: From pre-teen to post-50.
Set list below
Giant. Robot. Babies.
I Quit, You Fat Motherfucker
ERB: Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs
ERB: Walter White vs. Rick Grimes
ERB: Skrillex vs. Mozart
Get Low (Lil' Jon & the East Side Boyz Cover)
Like It's Quidditch
At Least There's You and Me
Shaycarl and the Shaytards
Monday Show Song
Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Queen Cover)