By Emily Brown
When Billy Sugarfix, 39, and his roommate Brian Risk, 31, sat down one day in their Carrboro apartment, they didn’t plan on writing a song that would become a local hit.
But by the end of the day, Risk, a software developer for Rho, Inc. and Sugarfix, a musician and local substitute teacher, had produced a rap song titled, “It’s Carrboro.” The song made its debut on WCOM radio later that evening.
“It was a total fluke,” Risk said, who bartends part-time at Cat’s Cradle in addition to his day job at Rho.
He mentioned that he and Sugarfix had been joking about living in Carrboro versus Chapel Hill when suddenly they started coming up with all sorts of lyrics.
“Every once in a while I’d help out with a song,” said Risk, who had been working on a beat for a while.
“When we got to the part about ‘droppin’ Plenty,’ that’s when I knew we had to write an entire song,” Risk said.
For any Carrboro newcomers, a PLENTY (Piedmont Local EcoNomy Tender) is a kind of local currency. When local businesses in Carrboro join the NCPlenty non-profit group, they pledge to accept PLENTY’s as a form of payment.
Despite growing up in Chapel Hill, Risk considers Carrboro his home. He feels more comfortable with his surroundings in Carrboro than in Chapel Hill. Risk described Chapel Hill as “the city” and doesn’t often venture outside of Carrboro unless it’s to play a game of pool at Zogs.
So where do Risk and Sugarfix like to hang out in Carrboro?
Risk does not have much time in between working at Rho, bartending at Cat’s Cradle and managing two personal web sites, but he does enjoy jogging and hanging out at Padgett Station, an organic bistro located on East Main Street.
Sugarfix is a member of the band Evil Wiener, which is currently getting ready for their upcoming Christmas Show at The Cave. The show is on December 22, 2006 and will beging around 10:30pm. He also runs his own custom song-writing business, customserenade.com in which he creates theme songs for blogs and podcasts.
Some of Risk and Sugarfix’s lyrics make light of Carrboro stereotypes and refer to individuals, like Ron Jeremy, who have nothing to do with Carrboro but were added for humor. However, the local businesses and people mentioned throughout the rap embody what Carrboro provides for so many: a sense of community.
The song got so much attention in Carrboro that Risk and Sugarfix decided to create a music video. With the help of Jason Meeks and Catherine Devine the “It’s Carrboro” music video made its debut at the end of the Flicker Festival at Cat’s Cradle on May 8th, 2006.
Risk said that his favorite part about creating the music festival was having the dance party in the alley by the Kentucky Fried Chicken.
For Sugarfix, the most thrilling and adrenaline rushing part of filming the music video came when he and Risk were rapping on top of the train tracks.
“All of the sudden a train actually did come down the tracks,” said Sugarfix. While they were both able to escape in time, Sugarfix said that he would never forget that moment.
He laughed and exclaimed, “In hindsight it was pretty comical.”
At one point the lyrics go as follows:
“If it’s locally owned: It’s Carrboro!
Organically grown: It’s Carrboro!
Your heart will warm: It’s Carrboro!
Got that hometown charm: It’s Carrboro!”
Carrboro’s hometown charm is alive and well. It’s local economy is thriving due to support residents give to local shops, businesses, and arts venues. Whether it is shopping at Weaver Street Market or sipping a warm cup of freshly brew coffee at Open Eye Café, your heart will warm simply because, “It’s Carrboro.”
To view the lyrics and the music video to “It’s Carrboro” please visit http://itscarrboro.com/