Track-by-Track Review: Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment’s “Surf”

Expanding the way musicians interact with their fans, Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment have produced something that is absolutely magical and absolutely FREE (because that’s the one thing that catches ANY college student’s attention, am I right?).

The Social Experiment composes of Chance The Rapper, Nico Segal (known as Donnie Trumpet), Peter Cottontale, Nate Fox, and Stix. Together they combined their musical talents to create the experimental, jazzy album also known as “Surf,” which has been long awaited by all Chance The Rapper fa despite it being more concentrated as a Donnie Trumpet project with help of The Social Experiment.

surf-artwork1
Surf Album Artwork

At 14 songs, “Surf” gives its listeners a plateful of features as well as sounds and instruments. It’s certainly more than just an album and almost serves as an album telling an intricate story. So without further ado, let’s dive into each and every song on the album!

1. Miracle
It’s a miracle Chance has finally released “Surf!” Just kidding, “Miracle” is really about how it’s a miracle that we are all living healthy with loved ones. Smooth instrumentals and the positive verses and harmonies kick off “Surf” blissfully.

2. Slip Slide
This fun track will have you dancing like

An array of verses include Busta Rhymes, B.o.B., BJ The Chicago Kid, and Janelle Monáe cashing in on what seems to be the bounciest and most fun track on “Surf.”

3. Warm Enough
This is a personal song that hits home to those who have been treated with “tough love” in a relationship. Chance exposes his vulnerable side while giving the spotlight to Noname Gypsy’s entrancing chorus and J. Cole’s hard hitting verse that closes out the song.

4. Nothing Came to Me
It’s completely instrumental song that showcases Donnie Trumpet’s “trumpetry.” It was also the track used early January 2015 in a silent film starring the famous model Cara Delevigne.

5. Wanna Be Cool
One of my favorites! This bouncy track features Chance, Big Sean, Jeremih and Kyle preaching self-love. It’s about not wanting to “be cool” and just wanting to be themselves. A honest and great message to anyone needing a lift up in life.

6. Windows
By repeating the words, “don’t trust a word I say, careful,” Chance The Rapper displays an offer of protection as well as a warning to be “careful” when placing trust in him. It’s very strong instrumental track with soulful back up vocals as well as an outro with Chance, Raury, and BJ the Chicago Kid.

7. Caretaker
This track features a short, sincere verse from D.R.A.M. along a sample of Jaheim’s “Find My Way Back.” As the shortest song on the album it can be easy to overlook, but it’s both instrumentally and lyrically soothing to the soul.

8. Just Wait
Like the title, the song delivers a notion of being patient in order to receive good things. I mean, we have all heard that one at some point in our lives, right? Strong instrumentals paired with Donnie Trumpet’s trumpet and a catchy hook make this track something good worth waiting for.

9. Familiar
Surprise surprise! Quavo of the Migos is featured on this anthem to those basic people who act “familiar” in your presence despite being a complete stranger to you. We’ve all been there, Chano. A surprisingly enjoyable collaboration (which I didn’t think I would ever hear … like, ever) with an impressive horn section!

10. SmthnthtIwnt
If you haven’t figured it out, the track is “something that I want” without the vowels, which is the hook of the track and is repeated twice before rapper Saba (of Pivot Gang) goes in with the only verse on the song.

11. Go
“Go” is a song completely about reasons why people leave their relationships. Mike Golden and Joey Purp present different scenarios in their verses back-to-back that are interrupted by the catchy hook of “please don’t go, don’t go, don’t go” which sounds like it would be annoying but it is certainly anything but.

12. Questions
Jamila Woods sings both the chorus and verse, which composes of questions about death as seen from the perspective of a child asking their parents. An interesting insight that it also explores includes the line “pigs want [to] take black mama’s kids” highlighting the injustices seen in our world today from police killing innocent black children.

13. Something Came to Me
Another instrumental song done by Donnie Trumpet that could be seen as a following to the fourth track, “Nothing Came to Me.”

14. Rememory
This is a powerful track where Chance puts himself in the shoes of a man who divorces his wife. The chorus sung by Ady Suleiman and a second verse by Erykah Badu contrast Chance’s tense verse with an alleviating tone.

15. Sunday Candy
This song was released in late 2014 as the first single from “Surf” dedicated to who we can all guess is Chance’s grandmother’s vibrant and caring personality. Jamila Woods is featured again, providing the soulful hook and bridge. A previous post about this song has been made as well as a music video. Watch it below.

16. Pass the Vibes
The Social Experiment closes out “Surf” with a message of how powerful and contagious kindness can be. In this song, Eric Butler describes how he “had no vibes” for a girl but she “had some vibes for [him],” which then led to him having some vibes back. Hopefully this wondrous track persuades you to emit kind vibes yourself!

TL;DR: Both Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment have proved and explored the ranges of musicality and the features they impressively pull off in “Surf.” This album may not impress everyone, but if you can enjoy a good experimentation of jazzy atmospheres, strong horn and trumpet sections, and lyrical stories, you will enjoy “Surf” thoroughly and keep it as a go-to album on your summer playlist.

Listen to: Go, Sunday Candy, Wanna Be Cool, Slip Slide, Just Wait, Familiar, Pass the Vibes, Warm Enough

Skip over: Nothing Came to Me, Something Came to Me, Miracle

Rating: 4.7/5

Shout out to Rap Genius for the lyrics to the songs on “Surf.”

Let us know what you thought of “Surf” in the comments below!

1 thought on “Track-by-Track Review: Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment’s “Surf”

  1. I am really digging this music by Chance the Rapper & Social Experiment. This pure talent and genius. This is really fresh and dope.

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