Chance the Rapper, Donnie Trumpet, and the Social Experiment courted some big names to collaborate on Surf: Busta Rhymes, Big Sean, J. Cole, Erykah Badu, Jeremih. But the bulk of the liner notes, which lists dozens of names, seems to be friends and fellow Chicago acts. Untangling them all will take some time, but here are a few standout names you should keep in mind while you soak in Surf.
Contributed to: "Warm Enough"
Perhaps most familiar to Chance fans for her poetic turn on Acid Rap's "Lost," Chicago's Noname Gypsy has described herself as such: “I’m an artist and I create hip-hop music, poetry. I’m black. I define my identity in being black. I’m weird, I’m awkward.” Plus, she's got Donnie Trumpet working with her on her upcoming EP, Telefone.
Contributed to: "Slip Slide"
Contributed to: "Slip Slide," "Rememory"
Hailing from Nottingham, UK, singer-songwriter and Sony-signee Ady Suleiman draws influence from a holy trifecta of R&B, hip-hop, and reggae—"A lot of Erykah Badu from that kind of R'n'B era and J Dilla; beatwise I take a lot of inspiration from him. There's a bit of Bob Marley in there as well in terms of the instrumentation I use," as he told a local paper last year. Which is serendipitous, as Suleiman is featured alongside Badu herself on Surf track "Rememory."
Eryn Allen Kane
Contributed to: "Miracle," "Warm Enough," "Wanna Be Cool," "Windows," "Go," "Sunday Candy"
Featured heavily on Surf, Eryn Allen Kane is a Chicago singer who recently got a big break when Prince flew her up to Paisley Park to sing back up on his tribute "Baltimore." Kane recently released her first official single as a solo artist, "Have Mercy," which you can hear above; her debut, Aviary, is coming soon.
Contributed to: "Wanna Be Cool"
Feel-good SoCal singer KYLE scooped the last verse on "Wanna Be Cool," where he shrugs off the idea that "Likes" online count toward IRL cred—If you don’t get retweets, it don’t mean you say less, OK?/ So I’m gonna post that shitty ass selfie on IG/ I don’t care if anybody likes it or likes me, it’s cool. This is familiar territory for KYLE, who made a similar declaration with his Kehlani-collab "Just A Picture."
Contributed to: "Go"
Contributed to: "SmthnthtIwnt"
Like so many of the above, Saba has been working closely with SOX and Chance from since their early days performing at YouMedia open mic nights. The young Chicago rapper, who was featured on Acid Rap's "Everybody’s Something," released an excellent mixtape called ComfortZone last year—and of course it features the homies, specifically Eryn Allen Kane and Jamila.
Contributed to: "Warm Enough," "Windows"
Contributed to: "Windows," "Questions," "Sunday Candy"
The so-sweet background vocals on "Sunday Candy" is Jamila Woods, a singer, poet, and a Chicago native (of course). Woods works with Young Chicago Authors, a local arts organization that promotes youth literacy, leadership, and storytelling, where she helps organize the annual Louder Than Bomb poetry festival—which has hosted a number of Surf contributors over the years, including Noname Gypsy, Saba, and Chance himself.
Contributed to: "Windows," "Just Wait," "Something Came To Me"
Chance hit Francis Starlite, whose project Francis and the Lights was once featured as a GEN F, on Twitter a few years back. He was in the mix for Chance and the Social Experiment's delightful Author theme song cover, "Wonderful Everyday," and has stayed close with the guys ever since. "I feel I'm in the '2nd ring' of the Social Experiment," Starlite told The FADER in an email.
This post has been updated to include more contributors.