Pass The AUX is a series by Francesco Lupinacci that works towards presenting a critical analysis of a variation of music artists & albums that lay beneath the polluted mainstream sound, to widen your playlists and give you a fire AUX selection.
Soul-searching backpacking phenomenon Chance The Rapper combines with instrumental mastermind Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment to make Surf a one of a kind, morality driven, feel good journey through the soft sounds of faraway beaches to deliver a fantastic experience to any audience.
Returning from his critically acclaimed mixtape Acid Rap and prior to the music industry-changing mixtape Coloring Book; Chancellor Bennett or better known by his rap alias Chance The Rapper, has his lyrical genius tested dramatically for the first time on The Social Experiment’s complex jazz and neo-soul production to make an album filled with incredible artful musical style, Chance’s showcase of talent, and dynamic charismatic guest feature surprises.
As the first official album for both Chicago native artists Chance and Donnie, and the rest of Social Experiment, the two planned on releasing a powerful summer anthem free of charge on iTunes. The 2015 release saw the album receive 10 million individual track downloads and gain popularity rapidly.
This is Chance The Rapper’s third album, first official studio album, and his potential as an artist is highlighted in this piece due to his responsibility as both singer and rapper. Chance is returning from a mixtape written strictly under the influence, but Surf broadens his horizon as a musician.
Chance provides this album a unique voice, combining a singular singing talent to pacey and often even multi-syllable rhyme packed raps. What he accomplishes on opening track, “Miracle”, as he raps nearly acapella and later jumps on a soul driven beat makes the album dynamic and unpredictable in nature.
The Social Experiment’s Surf also tests the young rapper’s voice on melodic piano fueled hit-single “Sunday Candy”, as Chance hits notes no other rapper would dare to attempt. The unique sound of Bennett’s voice is later portrayed in the slowly preached “Warm Enough”.
Surf is a musical masterpiece for many reasons, and the fine production and uniqueness in sound is one outstanding factor. The Social Experiment astounds the listener with tracks such as “Questions” and “Pass The Vibes” that serve as soft instrumental interludes between more energetic tracks.
This album bounces all over the places, but it is songs such as “Warm Enough” and “Windows” that forces critics to fail labeling the album in a particular genre. The unique narrative of “Warm Enough” and the deep sounds of “Windows” amaze, and lack categorization as they are pure fusions of multiple genres.
Surf does not list its guests, and this makes the album more intriguing and much more surprising, as artists featured make unexpected appearances to fulfill a song’s purpose. Songs such as “Warm Enough” would fail to provide the same delivery without the wrap up of the song done by guest, J. Cole.
Busta Rhymes, B.o.B, Big Sean, NoName Gypsy, J. and Cole are just some of the many appearances this free-flowing album holds. These guests make the album more dynamic than it already is in every way, but it also makes Surf the anthem it is.
Surf has earned plenty of attention through its hit single, "Sunday Candy", but with its numerous mood swings, guest artists, and production tone it makes itself a versatile option for any sort of occasion to wow any listener. If you haven't heard this masterpiece in its entirety but have always wanted to escape to paradise, go ahead and Pass The AUX.