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#Feature: Album Review: Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment – Surf

Chicago native Chance the Rapper quickly rose to the spotlight after his sophomore project Acid Rap. Logically, the release of his newest endeavor, Surf, was much anticipated. As time went on, we learned that Surf would not be an album from Chance at all; instead it would be led by Donnie Trumpet, (formerly of Kids These Days). Chance joins Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment for a project that transcends the idea of genres and focuses on the aspect of collaboration.

Much to everyone’s surprise, Surf was released late on a Thursday night for free on iTunes; something that very rarely happens. The way that Donnie Trumpet composed Surf is something to speak of. With the inclusion of perfectly timed and well fitting samples via live instrumentation, Surf feels like every song you’ve ever loved with a young and vibrant twist.  Surf is ahead of its time, ironically due to the use of past influences.

The Social Experiment itself is Chance the Rapper’s touring band and consists of Donnie Trumpet, Peter Cottontale, Nate Fox, Stix and Macie Stewart; names that may not be familiar but have been working and creating great music for years. Aside from the Social Experiment members, Surf features an array of artists from Quavo of the Migos to Busta Rhymes to Erykah Badu. Everything about Surf is unique, “Caretaker” features crooning from D.R.A.M. over an instrumental sample of Jaheim’s “Finding My Way Back”, “Familiar” brings Atlanta into the mix as King Louie and Quavo join Chance with a soulful sample of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back”. There is a Trick Daddy sample on “Slip and Slide”, a Bone Thugs in Harmony sample on “Just Wait” and a Lion King sample on “Windows”. There is a little nostalgia in every moment of Surf and part of the excitement is identifying the inspiration from track to track.


While every element is completely different, the cohesive nature of Surf is amazing. Even with the inclusion of artists with sounds from opposite ends of the musical spectrum, nothing feels disconnected.  Surf is what happens when creative minds come together with total creative freedom. Aside from the ingenuity on the production side, every featured artist on the project provides nuance and substance that is one of a kind. Fellow Chicagoan Saba is the sole voice heard on “Smthnthtiwnt”, a haunting, introspective track that is polar opposite of Chicago artist BJ The Chicago Kid’s features as well as Noname Gypsy, another Chicago artist, and her appearance on the whimsical love song “Warm Enough” alongside J. Cole and Chance the Rapper. Wanna Be Cool features Big Sean, Jeremih and Kyle for a ridiculously fun confirmation of self love to balance the internal confusion that comes with “Questions”, featuring the soulful singing of Jamila Woods. Artists that have been flying below the radar such as Ady Suleiman who is featured on “Rememory” with Erykah Badu got a chance to soar as part of Surf. The previously released “Sunday Candy” offers the perfect ode to family, love and feeling good. Surf, as a whole, lacks nothing.

Chance the Rapper is arguably the catalyst for the success of Surf and his presence on the project is apparent without being overbearing. “Windows” and “Just Wait” both feature Chance’s emotional crooning and his lyrical ability is once again showcased on every track he appears on. Surf has every element of great music. There is a message in every track and everyone who had a hand in its creation lends a powerful and unique aspect. Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment incorporated the sounds of music we all hold in high regards with an experimental, youthful newness. Listen after listen, Surf just gets better and you can find different elements to appreciate with every track. If Surf is a look into what is to come from Chance the Rapper, Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment or any of the other artists featured, the future is looking brighter than ever.

Download Surf for free here or stream below.


KelseyFeaturePic_n_Fotor Kelsey is a Houstonian with a passion for writing, music and ranting. She spends most of  her  free time perusing soundcloud or trying to takeover the world. You can find her on  Twitter @JustKels88 and more material from her at and other  publications, or wherever good music and good people are.