Throwback funk duo Tuxedo is a collaboration between Los Angeles-based neo-soul singer/songwriter Mayer Hawthorne and Seattle-based hip-hop producer Jake One. Influenced by the classic disco-funk of '70s and early-'80s acts like Chic, Shalamar, and Zapp, the two friends dialed in the all the hallmark sounds of their vintage inspirations on their party-starting eponymous 2015 debut.
Hawthorne and One began trading mixtapes as far back as 2006, though the Tuxedo project wouldn't officially surface for another six years. The two busy musicians shared a love of Reagan-era funk and disco, and in 2013 they modeled the rubbery synths and falsetto vocal hooks of their first single, "Do It," after those nostalgic sounds. A three-song EP based around the single prompted immediate interest in the duo. While juggling their individual projects with the growing body of Tuxedo work, they finally delivered an LP's worth of tunes in the form of their self-titled debut, which was released by Stones Throw Records in early 2015.
After the album, Hawthorne and One went their separate ways, with Hawthorne releasing his fourth solo album, Man About Town, in early 2016 and One staying busy producing a wide range of acts from Wale and Rick Ross to the Weeknd. They got back together to record another album of robo-funk and smooth R&B, this time featuring guest appearances by Snoop Dogg and singer Gavin Turek. Tuxedo II was released by Stones Throw in March 2017. Two years later, Tuxedo III joined the duo's catalog, boasting a huge cast of guest appearances including MF Doom, Benny Sings, and Dâm-Funk, among others. ~ Timothy Monger