Raleigh, the capital city of North Carolina, has inspired many musicians to write songs about its culture, history, and people.
From country to hip-hop, here are the best songs about Raleigh.
1. “Apollo Kids” by Ghostface Killah
Song Year: 1999
Ghostface Killah, a member of the Wu-Tang Clan, pays tribute to his hometown in “Apollo Kids.” Released in 2000, the song is a gritty and nostalgic ode to the streets of New York and New Jersey.
In the lyrics, he mentions his friend from Raleigh Durham, who recognizes Kojak, a local rapper. The song's beat is a classic hip-hop sound that complements Ghostface's flow, and its success in the charts reflects its popularity among rap fans.
2. “Raised Up Family” by James Taylor
Song Year: 2002
“Raised Up Family” is a charming ode to James Taylor's childhood in Raleigh, North Carolina. The song features Taylor's signature fingerpicking style and soft vocals.
The lyrics showcase Taylor's love for Raleigh and his sense of belonging there. The song's nostalgic vibe and warm acoustic sound make it a perfect addition to any James Taylor fan's playlist.
3. “Midnight in Raleigh” by Lane Bates
Song Year: 2020
Lane Bates' “Midnight in Raleigh” is a modern chill hip-hop track that speaks to the heartbreak and longing that comes with lost love.
The song's lyrics convey the sense of emptiness and sadness that can come from being alone in a bustling city. Despite the pain, Bates' vocals are filled with hope as he sings about his desire for his ex to call him back.
4. “Night Train” by James Brown
Song Year: 1962
With its iconic intro, Jame Brown announces “All aboard” as the song begins. The third stop on the route is Raleigh before the train heads on to the next stop.
The song's driving beat and energetic vocals have made it a timeless favorite among music lovers. “Night Train” showcases Brown's unparalleled ability to blend soul, funk, and blues into a sound that's uniquely his own.
5. “Groundhog Day” by Wale
Song Year: 2016
“Groundhog Day” is a contemplative track by rapper Wale that deals with the struggles of success and fame. The final lyrics of the song mention Raleigh, North Carolina.
The city's vibrant music scene and rich history have impacted the artist, who looks forward to catching a game there.
With its introspective lyrics and smooth beat, “Groundhog Day” is a standout track that showcases Wale's ability to blend personal reflection with catchy hooks.
6. “Glenwood Raleigh” by Stetson Clark
Song Year: 2021
If you prefer your hip hop chilled out, Stetson Clark has you covered. “Glenwood Raleigh” is a feel-good anthem about heading out to Glenwood, Raleigh, and partying all night.
While recorded in 2021, the song evokes a feeling of nostalgia and sounds more like a 90s gangster rap song than modern trap music.
7. “Feelin' Better” by Hank Williams Jr.
Song Year: 1977
“Feelin' Better” by Hank Williams Jr. is a classic country rock track that features the artist's signature twang and upbeat tempo. Williams Jr. talks about traveling and playing music around the southern United States.
As he plays Raleigh, he’s excited that he rocked the city with his guitar playing, and the crowd went wild. He’s “feelin’ better” after every show since the shows are all successful, and he knows he did an amazing job on stage.
8. “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker
Song Year: 2013
“Wagon Wheel” is a modern classic by Darius Rucker, initially written by Bob Dylan and later finished by Old Crow Medicine Show. Rucker’s version became a major hit, peaking at number one on the Hot Country Songs chart in 2013.
The lyrics talk about the singer heading to Raleigh to sing and reunite with a past lover. The song is an infectious tune, and even if you don’t like country music, you’ll find yourself singing along to “Wagon Wheel.”
9. “One-Eyed Shooters” by Waka Flocka Flame
Song Year: 2016
“One Eyed Shooters” is a trap song by Waka Flocka Flame featuring Young Sizzle. During the track, the rapper boasts about his luxurious lifestyle and successful drug business while living in North Carolina.
During the song, Waka Flocka Flame mentions he owns trap houses in both Durham and Raleigh. Its intense beat and hard-hitting lyrics make this song popular among trap music fans.
10. “Too Many Times” by Wan Gray
Song Year: 2019
“Too Many Times” is a rap song by Wan Gray, which tells the story of the artist's journey through life, struggles, and victories.
Wan Gray talks about his upbringing in Raleigh and the hardships he endured. The song showcases Wan Gray's introspective side, with him sharing his personal experiences.
11. “Toxic” by Tezo Ali
Song Year: 2020
“Toxic” is a dark and somber trap song by upcoming North Carolina rapper Tezo Ali. The song follows the rapper as he sells drugs and deals with gangsters.
The song is about the hardships of this life, even if you’re successful. During the track, Ali mentions his boys in Raleigh who don't mess around and can handle any illegal business.
12. “Promised Land” by Chuck Berry
Song Year: 1964
“Promised Land” tells the story of a journey from Norfolk, Virginia, to California. Berry takes a Greyhound bus and stops in many U.S. cities along the way, including Raleigh, during the song.
Berry uses his signature upbeat style and catchy melody to deliver a timeless classic as he sings about searching for new adventures.
13. “Don’t Do It!” by N.E.R.D. & Kendrick Lamar
Song Year: 2017
“Don’t Do It” was inspired by the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in North Carolina. The song's chorus features the lyrics “Don’t do it,” which is taken directly from the video footage of the shooting.
During Pharell Williams’ final verse, he runs through many cities with similar violence, including Raleigh, North Carolina. N.E.R.D. delivers a haunting reminder that many social problems are unresolved in the United States.
14. “Attack on Titan” by Tay the Don
Song Year: 2022
“Attack on Titak” is a dark, mumble rap song by Tay the Don. The song features distorted basslines and a haunting looped sample from a local church chorus.
During the track, Tay the Don speaks about his life and how great and tough he is. He mentions Raleigh midway through the song as he sings about youngins from Raleigh that are looking for a fight. Always a fighter, Tay the Don isn’t one to back down from any rapper or battle.
15. “DAWG” by Mac Critter & Gucci Mane
Song Year: 2022
The song “DAWG” by Mac Critter and Gucci Mane is a trap song about being a dog, a ladies' man, and a street hustler. The song is a celebration of street life, and it is a warning to those who would dare to cross the artist.
During the track, Mac Critter uses part of his verse to talk about speeding around Raleigh looking for girls. If you like your trap beats deep and your verses vulgar, “DAWG” is the perfect song for you.
Top Songs About Raleigh, Final Thoughts
These songs about Raleigh, North Carolina, showcase the diverse range of genres and artists inspired by the city.
From massive country hits to dark underground hip hop, Raleigh was featured in countless songs over the years.
Did we miss your favorite song about Raleigh? Let us know, and we’ll give it a listen!