So today has been mostly about singer/songwriters and I just have a desperate need to change things up a little bit. Now, if you’ve been following JOVM since the beginning, you may remember that I’ve written about Mayer Hawthorne, one of this era’s best and sadly unheralded soul vocalists; in fact, his Impressions: The Covers EP, which featured the singer/songwriter covering some truly underrated songs landed at number 1 on this site’s Best of 2011 List, as it hit a deeply personal chord during a particularly difficult period of my life. The Grammy nominated artist released several other things in the years since, but Hawthorne has teamed up with another Grammy nominated artist and producer, Jake One for a project that the duo have dubbed, Tuxedo.
The collaboration can trace its origins back to 2006 when the duo started to exchange mixtapes which revealed that Jake One and Hawthorne shared a mutual appreciation of all things funk and soul. And as a result, the duo quickly worked on and released three singles while both were working on separate solo projects — and those singles wound up turning into Tuxedo’s forthcoming self-titled debut album, slated for a March 3 release.
The album’s first single, the aptly titled “The One” owes a debt to one of my favorite Snoop Dogg songs “Ain’t No Fun.” As the duo admitted in an interview, “We always wondered what the original sample was for ‘Ain’t No Fun.’ Since we couldn’t figure it out, we decided we would make it.” And interestingly enough, the track is an extremely time-specific and loving homage to funky 80s synth pop and soul. Personally, I’m reminded of the Whispers, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Patrice Rushen and of doing that ol’ two step while making mixtapes.