Surf by The Social Experiment
In 2014, up and coming hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper declared to his fans that his newest album, Surf, would be coming out by the end of the year. Besides the occasional singles he would release with his newest band, the Social Experiment, there has been nothing from Chance the Rapper lately. While many fans of Chance the Rapper were expecting and hoping for a third solo album, after 10 Day and Acid Rap, Chance has revealed the true core of Surf, and what it means. Through a cover page article in the magazine The Fader, the rapper from Chicago has revealed that Surf isn’t a solo album, but a collective album from the band the Social Experiment, in which Chance is but another member of the band.
The Social Experiment formed how most bands formed, except they aren’t exactly a band. Better described as a music “group”, Social Experiment consists of Chance on vocals, Donnie Trumpet playing the trumpet, and a few other members. Originally starting out as a tour for Chance and his friends, the Social Experiment developed into a group of friends recording music that they love, and it has evolved into a full-blown group that they nicknamed SoX. They have put out a total of 12 singles so far, and it has sculpted the group in a much different direction than the previous Acid Rap of Chance the Rapper. The group seems to be more focused on complex, deep songs infusing the jazz style of Donnie’s trumpet.
The group has put out two videos so far, both showing a little more insight on the inner workings of the Social Experiment. Their first video, SoX Day, shows what a normal day in the life of a Social Experiment member would be like. Filmed by aspiring young filmmaker Austin Vehery, the film does an outstanding job of documenting Social Experiment. While this video was fairly straightforward, the second video, Nothing Came to Me, is much more confusing. It came out of nowhere, with Chance releasing it via Twitter. It features famous model Cara Delevingne, which further confused fans of the Social Experiment. The video seems to make no sense, and being an experience unable to be conveyed in words, it shows the true skill of Chance and his friends.
In an interview with the Breakfast Club, a popular radio talk show, Donnie and Chance explain the meaning of the name Surf. “Surf started off as a play on the surf culture of California, and how we wanted that growing up in Chicago” Donnie explained. “I guess we were also making a lot of wavy music at the time, so it made the name even more fitting”. Minutes later, Chance explained that the Social Experiment started out as a play on the fact that there will be so many “guest appearances” on the album, without the artist’s name in the title. This provides for an immersive listening experience, that the entirety of the band is hoping for.
After all of the buildup, on May 28th, Chance the Rapper and the Social Experiment released Surf as the first completely free album on the iTunes store. While many are skeptical of the strange styles presented in Surf, others, including myself, accept the style with open arms. The album itself is described beautifully by Chance, when he says that “it’s the kind of album you have to listen to all the way through, and not just pick out a few songs.” This kind of immersion is exactly what the group was hoping for. However, some fan favorites include the songs Windows, Slip Slide, and Sunday Candy. The album has a multitude of different artists who appear on the album, including Busta Rhymes, Big Sean, and J Cole. The album, while meeting all of the standards and expectations of the Social Experiment itself, many fans were disappointed with the drastic change in style that Surf is. This has caused many listeners to be reluctant when listening to Surf. Most fans of Chance the Rapper were expecting a third solo album, which Surf is very far from.
In total, Surf is an extremely different and unique album. It is unlike one that has ever been seen before, let alone from the Social Experiment. I can personally reccomend the album to everyone, as it will not be a disappointment.