Posted by , Jun 1, 2015 at 06:55pm
EDITOR RATING
83%
Golden: 4Broken: 0
Unanimous
AUDIENCE RATING
79%
185 votes
Editor reviews (tap to expand)
91%
Chris Tart
Hip-hop minus the ego
The Social Experiment blend soul, jazz, hip-hop and world beats into a star-studded phenomenon.
407
86%
Patrick Lyons
Chance The Rapper On Ice
"SURF" is too gleeful to inspire outright hate, too wide-eyed in its wonder to evoke cynicism, and too cohesive to get bogged down by excessive features. Musically, it's a jazzy hodgepodge (a pretty well-executed one), and even though Chance is absent for a lot of it, "SURF" is huge for his career. It's hard to believe that hip hop could produce something that sounds straight out of Disney or Nickelodeon.
256
73%
Angus Walker
Good vibes... and little else
"SURF" is a nice collection of uplifting jazz tunes. That being said, the best songs are those with no rapping at all. Chance's preachy spoken-word ramblings grow tiresome pretty quickly.
1733
80%
Rose Lilah
A successful experiment in musicality
"SURF" is an ambitious project (for the rap times we are in) that puts live instrumentation at the forefront. It was a unique/welcoming experience to listen to it without any feature expectations whatsoever. In a world of melodic trappers, this is definitely a change of pace.
2510
User  Rating:
hottttt
79% (185)
Rate it!
audience rating
122 VERY HOTTTTT
22 HOTTTTT
8 MEH
11 NOT FEELING IT
22 MAKE IT STOP
User Rating:
79% (185)
Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment dropped the much-anticipated "SURF" for free. Did it live up to the hype?

After a long wait, SURF is finally here. The debut LP from The Social Experiment (aka SOX) is billed as Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment despite the fact that the band’s biggest star is obviously Chance The Rapper. The album features, although they aren’t listed on the iTunes version of the free album, the likes of J. Cole, Big Sean, B.o.B, Busta Rhymes, and tons more, making SURF one of the year’s most star-studded affairs.

If the album’s labeling proves one thing it’s this: The Social Experiment are more concerned with the music than their own names. The members egos are shrunk enough to allow for 16 heads to contribute writing to a track, not mention them as features, and release the whole thing for free. The Social Experiment is just that: a social experiment in the hip hop world. 

That’s the mindset that lead the collective to starting an open mic night. It’s the mindset that lead them to record a cover of the Arthur theme song. It’s the ability to write music and understand that it’s better suited for someone else’s voice. It’s a loss of ego, and it isn’t a coincidence that “ego death” is a very real thing one experiences on an acid trip, and lest we forget Chance exploded onto the scene via Acid Rap

It’s quite refreshing to have an up-and-coming hip hop personality who’s more interested in creating music with his friends and impacting his community than anything else. Chance and his gang are creating their own lane and staying the course amongst a culture that revers the opposite of everything they stand for. It’s clear that SOX isn’t really interested in exclusively making rap music for fans of rap music, but instead, do something that is completely their own. That’s why they’ll release short films and instrumental world-beat jazz cuts, but also feature King Louie and Quavo from Migos on a track. In terms of progressing hip hop, Chance and the crew have done more in their short tenure than most OGs might do with a full career.

The great moments on SURF are rooted in youthful energy. Whether it’s the angsty interlude rap by Saba or the PSA “Wanna Be Cool,” these young men are experimenting with a ton of different sounds to create something completely unique.

From the soulful kick-off of “Miracle,” it’s clear that a cinematic approach has been taken to SURF. The multidimensional track goes through as many styles as most albums can conquer, and it plays out organically, like it’s Donnie, Chance, and the rest of the SOX making music in their parents' basement. 

It’s about as dense as Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, but maintains a much more lighthearted status. Instead of suicidal thoughts via poem, you get Donnie Trumpet’s blissful horn playing. On “Nothing Came to Me,” the horn player channels his inner Miles Davis with an intro that is definitely evoking some of Davis’ Bitches Brew genius. Trumpet takes the lead on a handful of instrumental tracks that break up the 16-track LP nicely.

While the group aren’t pigeonholing themselves into the modern rap sound, the rap element of the album is not to be understated. There are bars everywhere, and the features will rival any project released in the past decade. Busta Rhymes absolutely annihilates things on “Slip Slide” over a beat that sounds ready for the festival circuit. 

“Please get to turning on the fan cause it’s warm

While I build just a little 'bout the man I was born to be

This whole planet belongs to me

We all feel the same so it belongs to we

We talkin’ all night but this is my birth right

Please can you get to bringin’ the crown to me?

Yea I know you all for it

You’ll only be deemed worthy if you stand tall for it

When you and your men were sitting, yeah, I know you all saw it!”

If you didn’t think B.o.B could follow up a verse that strong, you’re wrong. The ATLien does just fine against Busta’s tongue-twisting feature and the track is all around super strong. Listening to the album without knowing the features, how it’s intended to be heard, is exhilarating in its surprise, which is made even more apparent on the following track “Warm Enough.”

Cole comes correct with the new class of hip-hop all-stars, proving his role as a solidified member of the rap scene. Everyone from Erykah Badu to Raury also offer vocals for the collective betterment of the LP.

The messages from the album are clear and cohesive. The Social Experiment are on a mission to bring consciousness to the rap scene, as demonstrated by the back-to-back offering of “Wanna Be Cool” and then “Window.” The first is a super-positive call for you to BE YOURSELF, and although it can almost sound like it belongs in the end credits of a Nickolodean show, it’s a great message for anyone who might be dealing with high school pressure or adolescent stress. “Window” reminds you to always question everything, including Chance The Rapper, who repeats, “Don’t you look up to me, don’t trust a word I say.”

All in all, SURF is a tasty treat of progressivism and positivity within hip-hop culture. The album bounces around between modern flavors with a marching band vibe (“Slip Slide,” “Wanna Be Cool,” “Sunday Candy”), down-tempo soul offerings (“Caretaker,” “Warm Enough,” “Windows,” “Pass The Vibes”), dance beats (“Go,” “Questions”) and jazzy interludes (“Nothing Came to Me,” “Just Wait,” “Something Came to Me”). It isn’t the traditional recipe for success, but it’s 2015 and the music industry is crazy. The Social Experiment, Donnie Trumpet, Chance The Rapper, Peter Cottontale, Greg Landfair Jr., Nate Fox, and the rest of the 40-or-so writers who had a part in SURF have proven that art is best served with a dead ego.

 

Review: Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment's "SURF"

 
83%

Editor rating

Golden: 4 Broken: 0
Unanimous

Audience rating

185 votes
79 %

Editor Rating

91%
Chris Tart Hip-hop minus the ego
The Social Experiment blend soul, jazz, hip-hop and world beats into a star-studded phenomenon.
407
86%
Patrick Lyons Chance The Rapper On Ice
"SURF" is too gleeful to inspire outright hate, too wide-eyed in its wonder to evoke cynicism, and too cohesive to get bogged down by excessive features. Musically, it's a jazzy hodgepodge (a pretty well-executed one), and even though Chance is absent for a lot of it, "SURF" is huge for his career. It's hard to believe that hip hop could produce something that sounds straight out of Disney or Nickelodeon.
256
73%
Angus Walker Good vibes... and little else
"SURF" is a nice collection of uplifting jazz tunes. That being said, the best songs are those with no rapping at all. Chance's preachy spoken-word ramblings grow tiresome pretty quickly.
1733
80%
Rose Lilah A successful experiment in musicality
"SURF" is an ambitious project (for the rap times we are in) that puts live instrumentation at the forefront. It was a unique/welcoming experience to listen to it without any feature expectations whatsoever. In a world of melodic trappers, this is definitely a change of pace.
2510

Audience Rating

How do you rate this album/mixtape?
User  Rating:
audience rating
122 VERY HOTTTTT
22 HOTTTTT
8 MEH
11 NOT FEELING IT
22 MAKE IT STOP
 

Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment dropped the much-anticipated "SURF" for free. Did it live up to the hype?


After a long wait, SURF is finally here. The debut LP from The Social Experiment (aka SOX) is billed as Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment despite the fact that the band’s biggest star is obviously Chance The Rapper. The album features, although they aren’t listed on the iTunes version of the free album, the likes of J. Cole, Big Sean, B.o.B, Busta Rhymes, and tons more, making SURF one of the year’s most star-studded affairs.

If the album’s labeling proves one thing it’s this: The Social Experiment are more concerned with the music than their own names. The members egos are shrunk enough to allow for 16 heads to contribute writing to a track, not mention them as features, and release the whole thing for free. The Social Experiment is just that: a social experiment in the hip hop world. 

That’s the mindset that lead the collective to starting an open mic night. It’s the mindset that lead them to record a cover of the Arthur theme song. It’s the ability to write music and understand that it’s better suited for someone else’s voice. It’s a loss of ego, and it isn’t a coincidence that “ego death” is a very real thing one experiences on an acid trip, and lest we forget Chance exploded onto the scene via Acid Rap

It’s quite refreshing to have an up-and-coming hip hop personality who’s more interested in creating music with his friends and impacting his community than anything else. Chance and his gang are creating their own lane and staying the course amongst a culture that revers the opposite of everything they stand for. It’s clear that SOX isn’t really interested in exclusively making rap music for fans of rap music, but instead, do something that is completely their own. That’s why they’ll release short films and instrumental world-beat jazz cuts, but also feature King Louie and Quavo from Migos on a track. In terms of progressing hip hop, Chance and the crew have done more in their short tenure than most OGs might do with a full career.

The great moments on SURF are rooted in youthful energy. Whether it’s the angsty interlude rap by Saba or the PSA “Wanna Be Cool,” these young men are experimenting with a ton of different sounds to create something completely unique.

From the soulful kick-off of “Miracle,” it’s clear that a cinematic approach has been taken to SURF. The multidimensional track goes through as many styles as most albums can conquer, and it plays out organically, like it’s Donnie, Chance, and the rest of the SOX making music in their parents' basement. 

It’s about as dense as Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, but maintains a much more lighthearted status. Instead of suicidal thoughts via poem, you get Donnie Trumpet’s blissful horn playing. On “Nothing Came to Me,” the horn player channels his inner Miles Davis with an intro that is definitely evoking some of Davis’ Bitches Brew genius. Trumpet takes the lead on a handful of instrumental tracks that break up the 16-track LP nicely.

While the group aren’t pigeonholing themselves into the modern rap sound, the rap element of the album is not to be understated. There are bars everywhere, and the features will rival any project released in the past decade. Busta Rhymes absolutely annihilates things on “Slip Slide” over a beat that sounds ready for the festival circuit. 

“Please get to turning on the fan cause it’s warm

While I build just a little 'bout the man I was born to be

This whole planet belongs to me

We all feel the same so it belongs to we

We talkin’ all night but this is my birth right

Please can you get to bringin’ the crown to me?

Yea I know you all for it

You’ll only be deemed worthy if you stand tall for it

When you and your men were sitting, yeah, I know you all saw it!”

If you didn’t think B.o.B could follow up a verse that strong, you’re wrong. The ATLien does just fine against Busta’s tongue-twisting feature and the track is all around super strong. Listening to the album without knowing the features, how it’s intended to be heard, is exhilarating in its surprise, which is made even more apparent on the following track “Warm Enough.”

Cole comes correct with the new class of hip-hop all-stars, proving his role as a solidified member of the rap scene. Everyone from Erykah Badu to Raury also offer vocals for the collective betterment of the LP.

The messages from the album are clear and cohesive. The Social Experiment are on a mission to bring consciousness to the rap scene, as demonstrated by the back-to-back offering of “Wanna Be Cool” and then “Window.” The first is a super-positive call for you to BE YOURSELF, and although it can almost sound like it belongs in the end credits of a Nickolodean show, it’s a great message for anyone who might be dealing with high school pressure or adolescent stress. “Window” reminds you to always question everything, including Chance The Rapper, who repeats, “Don’t you look up to me, don’t trust a word I say.”

All in all, SURF is a tasty treat of progressivism and positivity within hip-hop culture. The album bounces around between modern flavors with a marching band vibe (“Slip Slide,” “Wanna Be Cool,” “Sunday Candy”), down-tempo soul offerings (“Caretaker,” “Warm Enough,” “Windows,” “Pass The Vibes”), dance beats (“Go,” “Questions”) and jazzy interludes (“Nothing Came to Me,” “Just Wait,” “Something Came to Me”). It isn’t the traditional recipe for success, but it’s 2015 and the music industry is crazy. The Social Experiment, Donnie Trumpet, Chance The Rapper, Peter Cottontale, Greg Landfair Jr., Nate Fox, and the rest of the 40-or-so writers who had a part in SURF have proven that art is best served with a dead ego.

 

Comments

68
ADD COMMENTView Comment Thread