Chance the Rapper has revealed his first full-length record since last year’s smash mixtape Acid Rap. Due out later this year as a free download if everything goes according to plan, Surf is the first of several planned solo LPs from his band the Social Experiment. All of which will feature production and vocals from the entire outfit. According to an exclusive Billboard interview, trumpet player Nico Segal (a.k.a. Donnie Trumpet) will step up to the plate on Surf, and other recent group sessions have included collaborations with Migos and J. Cole. Frank Ocean and Rick Rubin stopped by the studio recently as well.
“It’s a big step for all of us all putting our heads together and letting Nico hold the reigns and carry it,” Chance explained. “There’s a lot of great instrumentation. A lot of input from cool writers. I’m already saying too much.”
Elsewhere in the interview, he explained why he’s been slowly releasing new tracks through SoundCloud (including last week’s “No Better Blues” single) rather than focusing on a proper mixtape follow-up to Acid Rap. “That’s the cool thing: I can do whatever I want,” Chance said. “And I’ve got to really flex that unlimited capability of an independent artist. I can do whatever videos I want, I can play whatever shows I want, I can release when I want, talk how I want, freely about any subject. I have a certain responsibility and I feel like conforming to the mixtape to mixtape to album rule would just defeat the whole purpose of not signing [with a major label].”
As for what Chance plans on doing with the Social Experiment’s live show moving forward, he promised a carefully designed, prop-enhanced experience inspired by such major Broadway musicals as The Lion King.
“You could probably tell if you listen to ‘Arthur’,” he said of the theatre’s looming influence. “We’ve been trying to take in all these cool, different outside cultural experiences and make that into a free listenable project. That’s the new thing.”