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About Belly

Belly is a remarkable case study on two fronts: as an avatar for how truly global a genre hip-hop has become, and as an example of how grit and resiliency can give a career a second life. Born in the Palestinian West Bank in 1984, he moved with his family through Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, fleeing the peril of his home. They eventually settled in Ottawa, Canada, where Belly began to develop an on-record style that blends hard-edged East Coast lyricism with the moodier, more melodic elements that were emerging in rap around the mid-2000s—and would come to dominate it in the 2010s, when he started writing songs for his fellow Canadian, The Weeknd. From the outside, Belly’s solo career would seem fractured—there is a gap of more than a decade between his 2007 debut, The Revolution, and his 2018 sophomore effort, the politically charged Immigrant—but Belly spent the interceding years honing his approach on a string of increasingly polished, tantalizingly personal mixtapes.

Jenin, Palestine
April 7, 1984
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