Artists Who Were Born There: Blind Boy Fuller, Doc Watson, George Clinton, John Coltrane, Ski, Thelonious Monk
Bands Formed There: Archers of Loaf, Corrosion of Conformity, Double Negative, Flat Duo Jets, Superchunk
While it's mostly known for storied college basketball rivalries, NASCAR, tobacco and its recent slide into regressive politics, North Carolina is a very musical state. Going back to the early 20th century, N.C. served as a center for the foundations of country music, bluegrass and blues. In the late 1960s and '70s, as brilliantly captured on the compilation Carolina Funk: First In Funk, regional soul, funk and R&B outfits had tar heels stepping from Murphy to Manteo.
In the late '80s, guitarist and singer Mac McCaughan formed the pop-punk band Superchunk in Chapel Hill. Then he and his pogo-dancing bassist Laura Ballance started a independent record label, Merge Records, that has since gone on to extraordinary success (the label was home to Arcade Fire). From this base, North Carolina has given rise to a raft of top-shelf underground rock—including the two-bass attack of Regraped, the stream-of-consciousness song structures of Polvo and the big guitar classicism of The Cherry Valence.
On A Tribe Called Quest's 1991 posse cut "Scenario," Leaders Of The New School's Charlie Brown shouted out "North Cackalacka," effectively putting N.C. on the rap map. The state responded in kind by producing two groups that spoke in Native Tongues; Yaggfu Front and Lords Of The Underground—the latter of which saw its 1993 single "Chief Rocka" quoted by Kanye West on his recent album Yeezus. And then there's Petey Pablo, who in 2001 released the N.C.-boosting hit "Raise Up." On a post-9/11 remix of the track he rapped, "And could somebody tell Mr. Bin Laden he got a lot of people lookin' for him?" Ironically, on Sept. 11, 2010, Pablo tried to board a flight out of Raleigh with a gun and was sentenced to three years in jail.