From humble beginnings in Brooklyn warehouses to performances across the country, the internet-based rap collective is migrating out of the Lower East. The pop-punk rap group, SURF GANG, is evolving its forward-thinking sound and unique personas with each project. At Least We Tried, released on Halloween, is 15 minutes of concentrated, militant energy that serves as the blueprint for a new generation.
Evilgiane, founder and pioneer of SURF GANG, is the prolific producer responsible for bringing sonically infused 808s to the group’s recognizable sound. The “SURF GANG B*tch!” tag should sound more familiar to the mainstream listener after Evilgiane’s recent collaboration with A$AP Rocky and Playboi Carti on “OUR DE$TINY/SIGHTS.” But the collective’s influence goes far beyond Evilgiane. With producers like Harrison and Eera, the collective join forces to incorporate uplifting melodies over electronically dissonant loops.
Despite a few changes to the SURF GANG lineup- with the departure of Babyxsosa, TommyToHotty and Caspr– the group’s stamina persists in outputting the same vigor that their name is known for. At Least We Tried maintains the familiar effervescence of SGV1, yet replaces lighter, melodic overtones with hard-hitting, bass-heavy tracks- a transition that will enable SURF GANG to gain more traction in the underground. Harrison’s album cover blossoms with an infrared hydrophyte, a soft contrast to the enveloped trap music.
The postponed hi-hat clap, indicative of ‘giane’s beat, welcomes in Polo Perks’ <3 <3 <3 unbiased scrutiny to the start of “DELAY.” Moh Baretta takes the lead with a gravelly voice and somber lyricism- adding whisper-like “swwwooo” ad-libs that his listeners are well-accustomed to. Whether it’s a sample drill beat or cloud rap melody, the New York rapper reveals his “VAMP LIFE” habits that make him known as the “KING OF DOWNERS”- a persona that has been cemented in the latest project, ‘DOGMA II.’ Polo and Baretta go back-to-back, letting the track “do what it do” in a fast-paced, sentimental exchange.
Baretta’s ominous presence meets 1600j’s light-hearted flow and Pasto Flocco’s focused grind in “SUNDAY SERVICE.” ‘Giane’s ghostly beat chimes in as church bells, matching the subliminal visual shot at a vacant cathedral in upstate New York. Church walls transform to Moh’s “runway,” as the three show off their rockstar lifestyle and love for the hustle in the form of a holy trinity.
The group remains unhinged and ‘off the ropes’ in Eera produced, “HARDY BOYZ,” with a reference to WWE’s extreme tag team. Polo Perks <3 <3 <3 pops out on this solo track with a relentlessly gruesome demeanor that is true to his come-up and streetwear enthusiasm. Polo’s latest solo album, ‘PUNK GOES DRILL+**,’ alternatively spins sample drill to fit his love for early 2000s music and fashion. “HARDY BOYZ ” maintains the group’s uncaged energy while reminding its listeners of Wayne’s Carter IV and Pharell’s Ice Cream; Polo lays out his well-versed fashion sense and punk-inspired sound that continues to inspire his music- an aesthetic that helps form SURF GANG’s identity.
RealYungPhil rolls in on Harrison-produced lead single, “LA Freestyle,” incorporating a west-coast bop that is newer to the east-coast collective. RealYungPhil pays homage to the west side by “stay[ing] with my dawg, like Nate,” while Flocco reminds listeners of east-coast insomnia as a “vamp all day.” The west-coast vibe contrasts the New York hustle, with hubris that reminds listeners of the collective’s origins.
At Least We Tried is full of unforgiving bars and merciless beats — an album that stays consistent with SURF GANG’s output since 2020. From dominating the New York drill scene to the Los Angeles underground, the collective is continuing to branch out from its internet roots — and will only continue to do so with this project’s momentum.
Listen to ‘At Least We Tried’ below!