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Three albums in, Tuxedo duo has ties that bind

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

» See more SOUND CHECK

The guys in Tuxedo can happily say they told us so now.

The duo of Mayer Hawthorne and Jake One surfaced back in 2015 as some of a curiosity. Three albums later, including this year's "Tuxedo III," the two are hoping people realize they're in it for keeps.

"When two solo artists come together and make a collaborative project, people tend to think, 'Oh, this is a temporary thing'," Hawthorne, 40, who was born Andrew Mayer Cohen in Ann Abor, explains. "Then when we came out with a second album, people were like, 'OK, maybe this has some longevity to it. Maybe they're got gonna be one and done' -- but they don't necessarily give it as much (credence), 'cause we have our own successful things going on separately.

"Now that we're on our third album, people are gonna have no choice but to be, 'This is really a thing that's here to stay. We should get behind it'."

"Tuxedo III" includes one song, "Toast 2 Us," that dates back to 2006, around the same time Hawthorne and One (nee Dutton) -- a producer and beatmaker whose credits include De La Soul, MF Doom, Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, Future, Cypress Hill, Royce Da 5'9" and many more -- first met. The set, which came out during July, features a large corps of guests, including Billy Sings is just one of a corps of guests on Tuxedo III, which comes out July 19. Gavin Turek, Parisalexa, the Daytime featuring MF DOOM, Levin Kali, Battlecat, Gabriel Garzon-Montano and DaM-FunK, the first time Tuxedo has opened itself to those kinds of collaborations.

"We got tired of hearing ourselves," Hawthorne quips. But One, 43, adds that "people who travel together in a pack seem to be more successful. We don't really have a crew of people who do what we do, so we wanted to bring in people who made sense, that make the music we like and give our stuff a different twist and expand on what we do. Everybody we put on the album we knew or we met as a fan of Tuxedo. It wasn't something you can just throw somebody on. That really wouldn't work."

Another new wrinkle for "Tuxedo III" was the launch of the duo's own label, Funk On Sight, after releasing its two predecessors on Stones Throw.

"This is us taking control of our careers for the first time, at an advanced age of our career," One says. "Most labels at this point are high interest loans, and we'd rather put that money into ourselves. It makes you feel more invested in what you're doing in general." Hawthorne adds that, "We're really thankful for everybody that got us where we are now, but it's time for us to take control of our own destiny. Really, we're making a big bet on ourselves."

Tuxedo performs Sunday, Aug. 11, at El Club, 4114 W. Vernor Highway, Detroit. Doors at 7 p.m. $20-$79. elclubdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.elclubdetroit.com

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