Mixtape Review-Surf by Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment
As massive and overwhelming as Surf felt on the first listen, the more I come back the bigger it feels. I find myself listening to songs I’ve heard lots of times and grunting in awe at how sharply and warmly resonant each moment is.
The narrative you’ve heard is correct. Chance the Rapper is a top talent in hip hop and he allowed himself to be an element of the music on Surf. He pops in not to drop lazy bars but with lines that blow you back, things you wish you’d written and could take credit for(like everything Chance says on Warm Enough). Chance gives the best of his work to a project not primarily his and it makes you like him a lot more. It’s the top actor who takes a smaller part to be in the best movie. After it’s over you’re left thanking the actor in your head for having the foresight to not pull a Denzel (sorry Denzel but you ball in isolation on some bad movies). Surf is great for Chance’s brand. I cannot picture Drake or Kanye just sitting to the side bobbing their heads and waiting patiently for their song. For Chance it’s about the music being good first.
The narrative you haven’t heard is Donnie Trumpet didn’t come out of nowhere. Him and the drummer on Surf (Greg “Stix” Lanfair) were from the Chicago hip hop band Kids These Days and Kids These Days were awesome! Trumpet dominates Surf and as chaotic as Kids These Days could be the sonic temperament of Surf is bound to the loving blasts of the trumpet. It’s everywhere from Nothing Came To Me to Windows and Something Came to Me. The musical experience is a hard shot of cheerfulness that can only be given by the trumpet and everyone wants in. Big Sean raps next to Kyle, B.O.B. raps next to Busta Rhymes, Erykah Badu comes out of nowhere and it ends up cohesive. Publications have written articles explaining all the guests and what order they come in. It’s dizzying, the amount of talent on display. Everyone’s voice, no matter who it is, comes out of that trumpet. Keep in mind that large portions of it are just local Chicago kids every bit as talented as the major players. If you didn’t know any of these dudes maybe you need to type “Traphouse Rock download” into your search engine and dig in.
From the outrageous party of Slip Slide to the your-grandmother-will-dance- to-this Sunday Candy the whole project feels like a generational flag planted in music. We are talking about J. Cole, Big Sean, Chance, B.O.B., Noname Gypsy, Janelle Monae, Raury all jumping on this project and giving their best to it. No generation of hip hop previous would have come together like this (sorry but Scott La Rock had to get killed for Self-Destruction to happen). It speaks well of rap music now that so many not only answered the call but were excited to be there, not picking away at other peoples time to get more or questioning who this Donnie Trumpet kid is…they all just created this massive work everyone fits into. I have no idea if Surf is the best thing to come out this year but it’s definitely the most important, the one we will be talking about years from now; the perfect summer music. The kind of mixtape you can press play on whenever you’re sad and end up with a smile.
Stream or download Surf below: