There’s a video that made its way to YouTube in late 2007, called Iron Mic: Eli Porter vs. Envy, it quickly became a viral sensation garnering  to this day a total of 3.3 million hits. It’s a crude public access production quality video which features a group of black high school kids hosting a freestyle battle. One of the battle-rappers is Eli Porter, a kid with a gnarled posture, a cockeyed gaze and harboring some form of mental disability. The viral video has Eli dropping some circular profane rhymes. It is a prototypical example of unintentional comedy and something you feel guilty for laughing (at?). You know, there’s a definite sense that we are collectively laughing like he’s the butt of the joke, something like William Hung horribly covering She Bangs.

But Eli Porter has become somewhat of a folk hero. He’s been referenced by many a performer and has even made it into a Kanye West  lyric. He’s even had a documentary made about him. Trent Babbington and Walker Warren have went Behind the Music on the viral sensation and did some investigating. They have made a film that starts out as a tongue-in-cheek mockumentary which eventually morphs into something earnest. It becomes a somewhat heartfelt story, warts and all, about an underdog. It becomes pretty charming at times.

The documentarians are trying to raise money for this project, help them out at Kickstarter. Buy a DVD and help them get it produced.

From the Directors:

If the footage of the duel that surfaced on YouTube in 2008 ever made you the least bit curious or intrigued, the above documentary is no doubt meant for you.

Upon meeting up with Eli & the rest of the ‘Iron Mic’ cast in Atlanta a year ago, it was quickly apparent that there are two distinct stories to be told that stem from the ‘Iron Mic’ freestyle. The first should naturally break down & dissect the YouTube classic – do the best job possible in making sense of the perfect storm that is ‘Eli vs. Envy.’

The second however, is simply the story of one Eli Porter. Who is Eli? What was his life like leading up to this fateful high-school broadcast? How deeply has Internet-fame altered the course of his life? As one with personal experience, what’s Eli’s take on the viral-video phenomenon we currently find ourselves experiencing?

If after viewing People’s Champion: Behind the Battle you also find yourself interested in what’s next for Eli, help us cover a portion of the travel/production costs we recently incurred seeking out the answers to these questions. Subsequently, the second installment of the ‘People’s Champion’ documentary will then be released on Vimeo for all those looking to better get to know Atlanta, GA’s very own Eli Porter to do just that.