Tuffhouse Records founder Havana Green has had one particular project on his mind since celebrating his label’s 20th anniversary last year. After two years of blood, sweat and beats, Green and his associates are set to unleash Don’t Bet Against The House on Mar. 28—the first in a “thrill-ogy” of collaborative albums featuring predominately local hip-hop artists.
“I have to believe not just in my artists, but in my city,” Green says. “I know a lot of the artists because I’ve seen them perform, I’ve seen them go to work, I’ve seen them do what they love. But they still truly haven’t had the opportunity to be heard.”
The 26-track group album includes 35 feature performances, ranging from Tuffhouse signees, Alberta-based artists and added contributors from Canada and around the world.
Due to the volume of contributors, the recording of Don’t Bet Against The House was a meticulous two-year process. At one point, Green and his team had 75 songs to choose from.
“Just like anything good, it’s worth the wait and the time to develop it,” Green says of the process. “Any project that comes off the label is personal to us, and it’s close to our heart. If we were truly serious about it, we wanted to make sure we took the time—especially myself.”
A certain level of craftsmanship was expected from each artist contributing to the project—whether it was writing rhymes, singing hooks or beatmaking. Green would call in three friends he refers to as “The Committee,” to sit down and critique the album with him. This sobering process helped him maintain a high quality of performance up until the finished product.
“If we’re going to step out, we have to step out with our best foot forward,” Green explains. “We had a lot of different people giving us their input, so we wanted to make a proper gumbo with what the sound and music offered. That’s what makes success.”
Green and his crew have high expectations for Don’t Bet Against The House, but that isn’t to say there won’t be relief once it’s available to public.
“If I sell one copy, I’m happy,” Green says. “Because the music, the gospel we’re putting out, will be out. It’s not going to be hidden anymore.”
The record’s first music video “From Ours To Yours” will be released Mar. 25, featuring a outro from the Tuffhouse boss himself. In the song, Green makes clear again that his home is in Alberta and that’s where he plans to stay.
“I say at the end [of the album] ‘Alberta pride,’ and I mean Alberta pride. We’ve been overlooked and we’ve been shit on and basically, those days are now done in my book.”
Thurs., Mar. 30 (8 pm)
Don’t Bet Against The House: Album Release Party
The Needle, $25 at the door