Tuxedo was one of my favorite surprises to come out of 2015. I’ve always been a fan of Jake One’s work and although I didn’t know all that much about Mayer Hawthorne, I generally liked the little music I did hear of his. So when I saw they were teaming up I was curious to hear what that might sound like. Needless to say, what I heard was a pleasant surprise and really a breath of fresh air. It was even more of a surprise to see them returning for a second go around with Tuxedo II. But hey I’m not complaining, I’ll take all the grooves I can get.
They were almost ahead of their time their first go around because before them I can’t remember any modern artists really embracing funk and disco like they had. Ever since then however, funk has started regaining more and more of it’s mainstream appeal. I’ve been getting more and more into funk over the years and have a real appreciation for the genre now, so I couldn’t be happier with this trend. While more artists are embracing the funk, there’s probably nobody better at it than Tuxedo. They’re a real throwback to those disco golden days and they pull it off without sounding like a simple rehash, but instead something new and original. I dare you to listen to “2nd Time Around”, “Take A Picture”, and “Back In Town” and not want to get up and dance. Jake One really did his thing on this one and somehow improved on the first album’s in almost every way. The grooves are heavy, the instrumentation noticeably sharp and crisp, yet still adequately funky, and those little pops of synths throughout really set things off.
“You know me very well
It ain’t too hard to tell
We’ve got that magic formula so rare
You keep me feeling strong
You hold me all night long
And when you need me
Baby I’ll there”
Just like the first go around, Mayer Hawthorne handles 99% of the vocals on the project and he sounds as good as ever. His voice is really strong, yet smooth, and really melds with the production. I honestly think he sounds better on this kind of music than he does on his own modern stuff. Lyrically he doesn’t reinvent the wheel and really sticks to the simpler themes you’d hear from the music of the era. If this was any other genre that could be a shortcoming but it’s exactly what I want to hear from my funk music. Tuxedo II makes me want to just throw the record on and groove out from front to back and that’s the sign of a very good funk album indeed. Here’s to hoping they come back around for a third time.
Have you heard Tuxedo II? What’d you think about it? Do you think they improved on the formula even more this go around like I did? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your own ratings and reactions for the album.