Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment
Surf


4.5
superb

Review

by humblerodent USER (29 Reviews)
June 1st, 2015 | 29 replies


Release Date: 05/29/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 'Sit with the beat'

Before I dive into “Surf,” everyone should understand just how massive an undertaking this project is. In 51 short minutes, virtually unknown trumpeter Donnie Trumpet manages to incorporate literally dozens of featured artists, ranging from big name acts like J. Cole and Janelle Monáe, to comparatively small local Chicago musicians like Joey Purp and Eryn Allen Kane, to just scratch the surface. Luckily for Donnie, he’s not on his own, being backed by the aptly named The Social Experiment, a collaborative group composed of Chance the Rapper, Peter Cottontale, Greg Landfair Jr., and Nate Fox.

To gather such a talented cast together for a single album is a feat unto itself, but to do so successfully and coherently would be even more impressive. And yet that’s exactly what Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment do here on “Surf.” Some nitpickers may complain Chance the Rapper isn’t featured enough, there aren’t enough “summery” tracks, or the album as a whole is too meandering and slow, but those people likely come into “Surf” with too many preconceptions (understandable when one considers the amount of hype leading up to this album). However, if one listens to “Surf” with open ears and a clear mind, it’s hard to imagine they could hear anything other than a soulful, jazzy, hip-hop experience that shifts, grows, and improves with each successive listen.

The Social Experiment clearly knows this, with the first line out of Chance the Rapper’s mouth on the opening track “Miracle” being “sit with the beat.” And following that advice, here’s what I’ve discovered:

First off, there are certainly a few tracks on “Surf” that demand more attention than others and will get stuck in a listener’s head almost instantly. “Wanna Be Cool,” filled to the brim with “do-do-dos” and an infectious chorus, and “Familiar,” with a laid back piano beat and King Louie’s raspy raps, are good examples, but ultimately it’s “Slip Slide” that is poised to become this album’s biggest hit and the song of the summer. Opening with a catchy beat composed of trumpet and drums, “Slip Slide” soars on some phenomenal verses from Busta Rhymes and B.o.B as well as a foot-tapping chorus carried by Maceo of the O’My’s to create a piece of music that can only be described as a musical incarnation of sunlight on a bright poolside day.

But as good as those tracks are, part of what makes “Surf” such an experience are the more relaxed songs that fill the space in between them. Sometimes it’s purely instrumental interludes like the moody and dissonant “Nothing Came to Me” and its ebullient counter nine tracks later, “Something Came to Me,” where Donnie Trumpet gets to show off his exceptional solo skills with the trumpet. Other times it’s hazy tracks like “Warm Enough” or “Questions” that ebb and flow as they saunter along in their own unique paths. Then there are songs like “Just Wait” and “Go” that start with huge bursts of trumpet-infused energy and gradually ease up as they continue.

If it sounds like a lot to take in, that’s because it is. Stylistically, “Surf” is all over the place, with no track sounding too similar to another. Yet because of Donnie’s ever-present trumpet guiding this musical journey, all of these songs ultimately sound like they belong together despite their differences.

All these layers and musical varieties make “Surf” both accessible and restricted, simple and complex, immediate and distant, but never boring and always enjoyable with something new to be discovered. What’s more, the album is free on iTunes right now, so you have no excuse not to at least give it a spin or two. Go get your “Surf” on.

The verdict: A truly massive and dynamic soul/jazz/hip-hop project that only improves each time you give it a spin.

4.4/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
humblerodent
June 1st 2015


251 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Originally published by The Daily of the University of Washington: http://www.dailyuw.com/arts_and_leisure/article_b530643c-081c-11e5-aed8-1f77c8f3d014.html



And now that this is out the wait for Chance's solo project begins



Hurricanslash
June 1st 2015


1830 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album came out three days ago and I'm already emotionally attached to this like crazy. Not a single album this year so far has made me feel as happy as this one. I'm one hell of a corny idiot, but this album is just heaven to me at the moment.



Good review. Posd.

humblerodent
June 1st 2015


251 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks Hurricanslash! I feel the same way and keep finding new reasons to love it each time through

JonEthan
June 1st 2015


244 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damn, I never care to check out free Itunes music. This album made me change my mind.

toomuchtestosterone
June 1st 2015


87 Comments


Still need to listen to this. Good review. Pos'd

SonofSnow
June 1st 2015


1725 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Decent album. Pos'd

BroFro
June 1st 2015


485 Comments


Wanna Be Cool is so bad. Just so bad. Jeremih's parts sound awful, the plastic-y 80s pop production sounds corny, and the lyrics are dumb and repetitive as hell.

I'm digging the rest of the album though.

Digging: Oso Oso - The Yunahon Mixtape

humblerodent
June 2nd 2015


251 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks all! And I can see what you're saying BroFro, but personally I found the message uplifting and the production more catchy than corny. If anything the album's weak track is the closer, feel like this project deserved a more epic ending.

johnnyblaze
June 3rd 2015


3146 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Solid review. Really dig a lot of this. Slip slide and Sunday candy are my initial faves and nothing/ something came to me.

Agree w brofro re wanna be cool. That one verse about hafway through it is so fuckig bad



humblerodent
June 3rd 2015


251 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

To each his own I guess haha

And thanks!

BroFro
June 3rd 2015


485 Comments


@humblerodent I like the idea they were going for on the production on Wanna Be Cool, they just didn't pull it off. There's about 100 too many rick roll drums in that thing. I agree though that the closer is underwhelming

humblerodent
June 3rd 2015


251 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@brofro which track did you like best?

BroFro
June 4th 2015


485 Comments


Familiar and Sunday Candy I think are definitely the standout tracks. Slip Slide, Windows, and Something Cam To Me are all in the next tier down. All three of the sub 2:00 numbers are great too, wish they would have expanded on those

humblerodent
June 4th 2015


251 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah I concur. I wasn't crazy about Something Came to Me the first time I heard it, but now I find myself skipping to it cause it's so damn good.

Fort23
June 5th 2015


3017 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What a great album

jmh886
June 7th 2015


2157 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this wasn't that great. i'll take it for free though.

Friday13th
June 7th 2015


6576 Comments


hooray for free stuff

Digging: Eric Dolphy - Far Cry

Zifteruften
June 27th 2015


194 Comments


hardest 4 i've ever given. wish tracks 9 to 11 were slightly better. still an amazing record nontheless, has some of 2015's best jams.

PappyMason
June 27th 2015


5702 Comments


Still need to hear this.

ParanoidAndroid96
July 12th 2015


1391 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this didn't sit with me. this album sounded more like a collection of ideas than actual songs with a few exceptions of course, the biggest being "Sunday Candy" but that was released months ago



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