It's been an incredible year for Mayer Hawthorne. He's turned Snoop Dogg's ear. He's released a series of awesome music videos.

He'll be doing the international festival circuit into October and–perhaps most importantly–he just beat Fitz & the Tantrums to the throwback soul trough.

We're not hating–dude's got the skills to pay the bills, as is more than evidenced on his self-produced debut LP, A Strange Arrangement.

But it is exciting to see Hawthorne shake things up a bit. For a brand new limited slab of wax (remember the heart-shaped vinyl?) due out on Stones Throw August 17, the Culver City soul sensation has teamed up with Virginia rapper/producer Nottz.

While the former lays down a particularly smoove tale of classic heartbreak for their collaboration, “I Need You,” the latter laces the track with shimmery texture, bass-heavy samples and some good old chipmunk soul.

Fittingly Nottz's résumé includes work with Snoop and J Dilla, as well as Kanye West, the Game and Busta Rhymes among numerous others.

“But what about the vinyl?” you're surely screaming to the heavens. (We often wrongly assume the rest of the world like wax as much as us.) Well, it's excellent, thanks for asking.

While the A-side includes the main track and a Nottz instrumental, the flip is devoted entirely to a detailed etching by Miami illustrator Freegums, who Hawthorne made a heart-themed T-shirt with back in April.

Listen to snippets of the new song over at Stones Throw, and feast your eyes on the wax after this message from Mayer (taken from the label's site):

“I met Nottz at Nightlife's Dilla Tribute in L.A. and we just kept in contact. I had always been a fan of Nottz since the 90s. He sent me a bunch of beats and at first I had no idea what to do with any of them, but eventually it hit me. I sang a hook for him on his album as well.

The song is a cover of a cat named Otis Leville which is one of my all time fav soul sides, but relatively unknown 45. I don't think Nottz even knew it. I actually even made up some of the words because no one could make out what he said in the original. ha!

When Nottz sent me that batch – that particular beat stood out. It had the same chord progression as the Otis Leville, so I just went with it.”

Etched detail of art by Freegums

Etched detail of art by Freegums

LA Weekly