Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment - Surf
Critic Score
Based on 16 reviews
2015 Ratings: #58 / 768
Year End Rank: #29
User Score
Based on 266 ratings
2015 Ratings: #143
May 29, 2015 / Release Date
LP / Format
Neo-Soul, Hip Hop / Genres
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CRITIC REVIEWS

91
A.V. Club

This is unabashedly happy, festive music about being true to yourself, and on paper that sounds downright tacky. But Surf is so vibrant, so alive with triumphant vibes and unadulterated joy, that it never leaves any room for cynicism.

91
Pretty Much Amazing
Sure, it’s balmy and comforting, a Summer Record through and through. But even at its softest and most lysergic, it’s never passive. The emotional scope is wide and true. It’s capable of destroying you in the space of a few seconds and then sweeping you to your feet moments later.
90
Complex

Surf is a boardwalk picnic with sunset views of the Ferris wheel, grassy laughter, and paper plates smeared with blueberry shortcake.

90
Exclaim!

Surf succeeds on multiple levels: as a rap album, as a soul album, as a showcase of musicianship and as proof that the industry ladder can be ascended without a label or sales.

90
PopMatters
The album comes off not as an excuse for indulgence but as a genuinely considered set of songs that are catchy and memorable, soaked in a perfect amount of optimism that never once makes a turn for the saccharine.
88
Paste

Surf is an album that further pushes modern hip hop into bold new frontiers.

85
The 405
The highly anticipated collaborative album debut, spontaneously unleashed for free on iTunes, is elevated and progressive throughout the 16-track opus, which fuses an anomaly of jazz, rap and R&B layers into a sort of audial Interstellar, free of rules or restrictions.
83
Pitchfork

It's a new sound built on lots of older ones—indie, hip-hop, funk, rock, gospel, various strains of R&B, The Lion King soundtrack—and despite bringing on a large cast and letting each person play their part, the guests all exist on the Social Experiment's terrain.

83
Consequence of Sound
It’s existential in places, sure, but it’s still a smile-widening celebration of an album rooted in bright, soulful instrumentation and refreshing optimism.
80
HipHopDX

Surf will not be for everyone, but for those seeking a sense of spiritual upliftment and a relaxing summertime soundtrack, Surf is the wave you’ve been looking for.

80
XXL
The sum of all parts make for a stupefying sonic experience.
80
NME
And so ‘Surf’ continues – infectious, light and upbeat, but never inane. It begs you to feel included, and wide-awake.
70
Billboard
Much of the album is frenetic -- full of bodies and larger-than-life. But the muted and downcast moments end up being memorable, tender and affecting.
70
Spin
With its heavy sense of community, emotional uplift and quest for righteousness, the LP is far more appropriate for the chapel than it is for the club.
70
Rolling Stone

Chance the Rapper's 2013 mixtape Acid Rap marked him as one of the brightest new voices in hip-hop. For his next move, he's swerved left, collaborating with a crew of Chicago pals led by Nico Segal (a.k.a. Donnie Trumpet) on a warm, evocative pop-soul-jazz album that comes straight from the heart.

40
The Needle Drop

Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment's long-awaited Surf capitalizes on very little of its full potential.

Apr 25, 2016
BuffaloStaple
47
didn't find much on this album to be interesting at all, just kinda cringed the whole time, Sunday Candy & Slip Slide were good tho. ('I don't wanna be cool, I just wanna be me' = eye rolls for days)
Jun 28, 2015
PSHANDY
83
もはやKendrick Lamarの新作すらも軽々と超越。もちろん安心安定のフリーダウンロード。
May 29, 2015
aaadam
85
If you judge this record a Chance the Rapper album you will be disappointed. This album is a mixture off all sorts of styles but mostly remains upbeat. It is a fun album with a ton of features that keep the vibe of the album going. Overall, well done by Donnie and the crew.
May 29, 2015
Z.Younk
91
Luckily this was widely known NOT to be a follow-up to Acid Rap, but a group project. Releasing as a Free album on iTunes was a good move, for promotion and generosity. Hearing the likes of Busta Rhymes, J Cole and Big Sean was pleasantly surprising, but extra verses from Chance would've still been favorable. The fusion of jazz and world musical styles is very welcome and appreciated, especially on cuts like "Windows", "Just Wait", "Something Came to Me" and ... read more
Jun 15, 2015
Scotty
71
Chance has a big part in this album, and I think it's the perfect amount, not too much and not too little. It's truly a collaborative group project, and there is a lot of input from artists outside of the group as well. The jazzy-Hip-Hop style is really taking hold this year, and this is one of the albums that does it very well. Best songs- Miracle, Slip Slide, Wanna Be Cool, SmthnIwnt, Go, and Sunday Candy. Great release.
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Added on: May 29, 2015