The Triangle is home to a ton of local acts, and if you're new to the scene, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start digging into it. But some folks at N.C. State's student-run radio station, WKNC 88.1 FM, have assembled a collection of songs that makes for an excellent entry point into local music.
Seamlessly shifting between some of WKNC's favorite hip-hop, electronic, and indie rock acts, First Semester is a diverse but cohesive mixtape of twenty-three North Carolina artists that serves as a primer on area performers as well as a fundraiser for the radio station. Available via Bandcamp on a pay-what-you-want basis, the mixtape is the work of N.C. State grad student Carl Wilkins, who partnered with recent Wolfpack graduate Jeremy Cothren in curating the compilation. As Cruise One and DJ Sundae respectively, the duo cohosted a Saturday night hip-hop block on WKNC for the past year while assembling the collection, which includes previously released material from heavyhitters like Boulevards and Kooley High. Wilkins cites sl0wgl0w as one of the collection's best-kept secrets, comparing the Raleigh electronic duo to fellow mixtape act Sylvan Esso.
Dubbing the mixtape First Semester is a nod to Wilkins's hope to turn this project into a series of annual releases, a run that will continue after he leaves N.C. State next year.
"I'm hoping I've established a nice tradition that will continue to raise awareness for the North Carolina music scene while also serving as a fundraiser for the station," he says. The possibility of a mixtape release party later this summer suggests he may not be done yet. —Spencer Griffith