Struggling to find that new artist to fall in love with? Fear not, our contributor Kess Leung is here with the latest and greatest musical recommendations each week. This edition spotlights acclaimed musical collective Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, and their colourful fusion of dance, progressive jazz, and neo-soul.
Created by trumpeter Nico Segal (formerly known as “Donnie Trumpet”), the self-professed band of bohemian musicians consisting of Segal, famed musician Chance the Rapper, Peter Cottontale, Greg Landfair Jr., and Nate Fox form the band ‘The Social Experiment’. Trumpet opted to ditch his stage moniker in 2016 to avoid any association with divisive US president-elect Donald Trump.
Marking an exciting debut, the group has only released one album to date; 2015’s Surf, a neo-soul and jazz-inflected record featuring many of the industry’s biggest – BJ The Chicago Kid, Big Sean, B.O.B and J. Cole, to name just a few. Praised by critiques and hailed for its artful style, the album saw the group’s popularity soar.
A record favourite of mine would have to be the track “Familiar” – a playful track featuring King Louie and Migos’ Quavo, alongside Chance the Rapper, that breathes new life into the age-old lyrical topic of groupies. “Cardboard cut-out, sharp teeth smart mouth/ Smile big small waist, big hips cut paste,” Chance sullies.
Delivering the verses with a somewhat comical flow, the trio bounce their dismissal of superficiality off of each other, chiming those that fit the “cookie-cutter” ideal and naively assume that their good looks will disarm the masses. The flow of each artist blend together with glorious ease, creating a story-like tale enhanced by the smooth beats of riffs and claps.
An ode to Chance’s grandmother, the gospel piece is a heartwarming tribute to family wrapped in a christmassy gift box beneath the tree
Of course, no article about ‘The Social Experiment’ is complete without the recommendation of their acclaimed track – Sunday Candy; a 2014 pre-released single featuring various uncredited singers, most notably, Jamila Woods, alongside ‘The Social Experiment’s’ own, Chance the Rapper. “I got a future so I’m singing for my grandma,” he saunters, “you singing too, but your grandma ain’t my grandma/ Mine is handmade, pan fried, sun dried, south-side, and beat the devil by a landslide.”
An ode to Chance’s grandmother, the gospel piece is a heartwarming tribute to family wrapped in a christmassy gift box beneath the tree; and topped off by Jamila Woods’ breathy soprano which feels like a warm blanket on a winter morning. Guaranteed to brighten up your day, I recommend listening to this track in the chillier festive months with a hot chocolate in hand.
While it is a shame that the collective have not released one of their renowned ‘experimental projects’ since the 2015 debut, Surf‘s critical acclaim is timelessly emblematic of their far-reaching influence on the neo-soul and jazz fusion scenes. Who knows? Maybe one day the group will decide to release another work of art, and hopefully those who weren’t there for the first, can be there for their last.
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