On the Beat

Wild Man Chris keeps on keepin’ on, fueled by Doritos

Wild Man Chris in his Doritos commercial entry
Wild Man Chris in his Doritos commercial entry Wild Man Chris

Today is the final day of voting in the latest round of the Doritos Super Bowl commercial contest, and Kinston’s Christopher Clayborne hopes to make the cut with this submission. Quite frankly, he could use a break. Clayborne, an outsider-art rapper who performs under the name Wild Man Chris, suffered an apparent mini-stroke on Thanksgiving day, according to Los Angeles writer Mark Blackwell (who is working on a documentary film about him).

“I was just on the phone with him and he does sound better,” Blackwell said on Monday. “We’re still trying to figure out what happened. He’s struggling with his speech. It sounds like he’ll recover, but it will be hard.”

Blackwell discovered Clayborne a few years back via one of the rapper’s YouTube channels (be warned, the language at that link as well as his current channel is rather blue). Clayborne, who has Asperger’s, has made hundreds of videos in which he holds forth about various thoughts and obsessions, most notably the length of his arms. In fact, Clayborne would like to have his arms surgically lengthened.

“I asked him if he’d rather be a rap artist selling at Eminem’s level with his arms the same length they are now, or never be heard but have his arms longer,” Blackwell said. “Without hesitation, he said he’d rather have his arms be longer. He’d like both, of course. But there’s no doubt what he thinks is more important.”

Between Daniel Johnston and Wesley Willis, there’s a long and not completely savory history of films documenting deeply troubled artists. Blackwell is aware of the potential overtones of his project but insists he is determined to avoid exploitation in the film, which he hopes to finish in 2014.

In the meantime, there’s this Dorito’s contest. Vote early, vote often.