Palestinian Canadian rapper Belly started making music in his teens to vent about being a poor Muslim immigrant. Now, he’s an award-winning artist celebrated across borders.
• Born in Palestine, Belly moved with his family to Ottawa, Canada, at a young age. He learned to speak English partially by listening to The Notorious B.I.G.’s 1994 debut album, Ready to Die.
• Belly’s 2007 debut album, The Revolution, went gold in Canada and received the 2008 Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year.
• After signing to XO Records and Roc Nation, Belly released the 2015 mixtape Up for Days. The single “Might Not,” featuring The Weeknd, became Belly’s first single to make the Billboard Hot 100.
• That year, Belly also racked up multiple songwriting credits on The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind the Madness. Most notably, he cowrote “The Hills”—which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100—and the Grammy-winning “Earned it.”
• Belly won Songwriter of the Year at the 2016 SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) Awards. Shortly after, he earned another major songwriting credit on “6 Inch,” from Beyoncé’s critically acclaimed Lemonade.
• In May 2006, Belly cancelled a planned appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! because Donald Trump—then a presidential candidate prone to anti-immigrant rhetoric—was slated to be a fellow guest.
• His 2018 sophomore album, IMMIGRANT, marked his first appearance on the Billboard 200 album chart.
BORNApril 7, 1984