The album features numerous guest appearances, though the iTunes track list does not name any features. According to MissInfo, Big Sean, J. Cole, Busta Rhymes, Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu are a few of the big-name collaborators who appear on the album.
Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment is a musical collective led by Chance's friend Nico Segal (AKA Donnie Trumpet). While many have anticipated Surf to be the follow-up to Chance's 2013 mixtape Acid Rap, it is primarily Segal's group and fuses hip-hop with free jazz and R&B. "Surf is Nico's project," Chance told the Fader earlier this year. "He was working on it when we decided to be The Social Experiment, so we decided that his project should be first."
The Social Experiment previewed their sound with the reworking of the children's television show Arthur's theme song titled "Wonderful Everyday," which Chance has performed during his solo shows over the past year. The official track features Wyclef Jean and Jessie Ware. The group also debuted a short film for Surf's closing song "Sunday Candy" in April. The dance-heavy film was directed by Austin Vesely and choreographed by Ian Eastwood, who are also both close friends of Chance and Chicagoans.