Belly (rapper)

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Belly
ETalk2008-Belly (cropped).jpg
Belly in 2008
Born
Ahmad Balshe

(1984-04-07) 7 April 1984 (age 37)
Occupation
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active2005–present
Partner(s)Dina Rabadi (engaged)
Musical career
OriginOttawa, Ontario, Canada
Genres
Labels
Associated acts

Ahmad Balshe (Arabic: أحمد بلوشي‎) (born 7 April 1984), known professionally as Belly, is a Palestinian-Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer.[1][2] Born in Jenin in the Palestinian West Bank, and raised in Ottawa,[3] Balshe embarked on a career as a musician when he was sixteen years old by playing drums in various Ottawa punk bands. At twenty-one years old, he moved on to his main love hip-hop with the release of his debut mixtape, Death Before Dishonor: Vol. 1. He then released eight additional projects in a span of six years, including his debut studio album The Revolution (2007), as well as two collaborative mixtapes, The Lost Tapes and The Greatest Dream I Never Had, with Kurupt and DJ Drama, respectively.

After a hiatus from music, Belly secured a recording contract with XO in 2015, and later an additional contract with Roc Nation, after co-writing a variety of songs for R&B artists the Weeknd and Beyoncé. Belly received a total of eleven credits across the former's latest studio albums, while also providing backing vocals and co-writing the song "6 Inch" from the latter's album, Lemonade. Belly then went on to release four mixtapes, and his second studio album Immigrant in 2018.

Belly was honoured as Songwriter of the Year at the 2016 SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) Awards for his "significant and outstanding contributions to popular music over the past year".[4] Alongside his SOCAN award, Belly has won a Juno Award, three MuchMusic Video Awards, and has twice attained a top chart position in the national Much Music Countdown.

Early life[edit]

Ahmad Balshe was born on 7 April 1984 in Jenin, Palestine.[5] He moved to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada with his family, through Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Jordan, when he was seven years old to escape violence and poverty.[6]

Career[edit]

2005–2007: Early career and The Revolution[edit]

Belly's first single, "Pressure" featuring Ginuwine, peaked at number 10 on the Canadian CHR radio charts, and number one on MuchMusic's Video chart. In April 2007, he released the video for his second single "Don't Be Shy", featuring Nina Sky, as well as the video for "History of Violence" directed by Martin Verigin and Jeffrey Hagerman. The latter remains his most controversial record to date, as he explains his views on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and the War in Iraq.[7]

During the 2007 NHL Playoffs, as the Ottawa Senators were competing, Belly released the single "Bandwagon", produced by Hussain. When the Senators made the Stanley Cup Finals, he released a second version of the song which featured goaltender Ray Emery.[8]

His debut album, The Revolution, was released on 5 June 2007. This double disc album was divided into two sections: The People and The System. The People contained more in depth songs, such as "History of Violence", "Follow Me", and "Revolutionary", where he challenges his listeners to discover the facts regarding the Middle East situation. Other songs on this disc include "People Change" and "Leave Me Alone", where he talks about his longtime friends and the memories that he kept from them. The System contained his hit singles "Ridin'", and "Pleasure".

The Revolution achieved Gold sales in Canada and won the 2008 Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year.[9] The singles from The Revolution won two MuchMusic Video Awards for Best Rap Video: "Pressure" in 2007 and "Ridin'" in 2008.

2007–2011: Additional mixtapes and hiatus[edit]

In 2011, Belly released his fifth mixtape Sleepless Nights, hosted by DJ ill Will.[10] He also released his sixth mixtape in collaboration with rapper Kurupt entitled Belly & Kurupt The Lost Tapes 2008.[11] The mixtape, also hosted by DJ ill Will, contained a compilation of songs the two had worked on some time after Belly's debut studio album was released. Some of the songs featured on the mixtape were previously unreleased. Belly then released his seventh mixtape The Greatest Dream I Never Had, hosted by DJ Drama.[12]

Belly's next project Sleepless Nights 1.5 was released in April 2012. The first single, "Hot Girl" featuring Snoop Dogg, was released on 8 September 2009.[13] Its second single, "To The Top" featuring Ava, was released in 2010. Belly's first single of 2011 was "Back Against the Wall", featuring singer Kobe Honeycutt.[14]

2015–2016: Signing to XO and Roc Nation[edit]

In May 2015, after a five-year hiatus, Belly released his eighth mixtape Up for Days.[15] It was his first project to be released under the record labels XO and Roc Nation and featured guest appearances by Travis Scott, Juelz Santana, French Montana and the Weeknd. Belly was also prominently featured on the Weeknd's sophomore album Beauty Behind the Madness in August 2015, earning writing credits on six of the fourteen songs: "Often", "The Hills", "Shameless", "Earned It", "In the Night" and "As You Are". On 24 November 2015, Belly formally signed to Roc Nation.[16]

In February 2016, Belly released the single "Zanzibar", featuring Juicy J.[17] On 27 May, he released his ninth mixtape Another Day in Paradise, which featured guest appearances by Travis Scott, Lil Wayne, Kehlani, Starrah, Waka Flocka, Juicy J and B-Real.[18] On 11 November, he released his tenth mixtape Inzombia. It featured guest appearances from Young Thug, Zack, Nav, Future, Ty Dolla $ign, Jadakiss and Ashanti. The mixtape was supported by two singles; "Consuela" and "The Day I Met You".[19] Later that month, the Weeknd released his third studio album Starboy, with Belly earning writing credits on nine of the eighteen songs: "Party Monster", "False Alarm", "Rockin'", "Six Feet Under", "Love to Lay", "A Lonely Night", "Ordinary Life", "Nothing Without You" and "All I Know".

2017–2018: Mumble Rap and Immigrant[edit]

On 23 June 2017, Belly was featured on DJ Khaled's tenth studio album Grateful on the song "Interlude". On 6 October, he released his eleventh mixtape Mumble Rap, which was executive produced by Boi-1da.[20] On 8 December, he was featured on Juicy J's fourth studio album Rubba Band Business on the song "On & On", which also featured Tory Lanez.

On 23 March 2018, Belly released the single "4 Days", featuring rapper YG and producer DJ Mustard.[21] The song's music video was released three days later.[22] He then released the single "Maintain" featuring Nav on 6 April, followed by the single "What You Want" featuring the Weeknd, which was released on 24 May. Both singles appeared on his second studio album, Immigrant, which was released on 12 October. The album also features guest appearances from Zack, French Montana, Meek Mill, Yo Gotti, and M.I.A..

2021: See You Next Wednesday[edit]

On 7 April 2021, Belly released the first single from his third studio album See You Next Wednesday, "Money on the Table" featuring Benny the Butcher.[23] He then released the second single, "Zero Love" featuring Moneybagg Yo, on 3 June.[24][25] On 22 July, he released the third single "Better Believe" featuring the Weeknd and Young Thug. The song debuted on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart at number 88.[26] On 18 August, Belly revealed the album artwork and tracklist, and announced the release date of 27 August.[27] The album also features guest appearances by Nas, Nav, Gunna, Big Sean, Lil Uzi Vert, and PnB Rock.[28]

Personal life[edit]

On 30 July 2019, Balshe filed a lawsuit against Coachella Music LLC, Goldenvoice LLC, and IPS Security Incorporated alleging assault and battery, negligence, and emotional distress in response to an incident which occurred during the 2018 Coachella Music Festival.[29] A video obtained by TMZ shows festival security staff pushing Balshe up against a security barrier and repeatedly punching him.[30]

On 31 May 2021, Balshe announced his engagement to resident doctor Dina Rabadi.[31]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Academy Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref(s)
2016 "Earned It" Best Original Song Nominated [32]

Black Reel Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref(s)
2016 "Earned It" Outstanding Original Song Nominated [33]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref(s)
2016 "Earned It" Best R&B Song Nominated [34]
Best Song Written for Visual Media Nominated

iHeartRadio Music Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref(s)
2016 "Earned It" Best Song from a Movie Nominated [35]

Juno Award[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref(s)
2008 Himself New Artist of the Year Nominated [36]
"The Revolution" Rap Recording of the Year Won
2016 Himself Songwriter of the Year Won [37]
2017 Himself Fan Choice Award Nominated [36]
"Another Day in Paradise" Rap Recording of the Year Nominated
2018 Mumble Rap Rap Recording of the Year Nominated
2019 Immigrant Rap Recording of the Year Nominated
2021 "After Hours", "Blinding Lights", "Save Your Tears" (with Abel Tesfaye and Jason "DaHeala" Quenneville) Songwriter of the Year Won [38]

SOCAN Songwriting Prize[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref(s)
2015 "Wanderlust" Urban/Independent Music Won [39]
2016 Himself Songwriter of the Year Won
"The Hills" International Song Won
Pop/Rock Music Won
"Earned It" Won
2017 "Might Not" Urban Music Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kalouti, Noor (15 July 2017). "6 Arabs who are quietly dominating the music industry". StepFeed. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  2. ^ "The Weeknd's success has a strong Ottawa connection". Ottawa Citizen. 16 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Rapper's lyrics anger some at Toronto's Canada 150 show". CTV News. 4 July 2017.
  4. ^ "SOCAN Awards 2016 celebrate great Canadian songwriters, composers, film scorers, music publishers". Archived from the original on 27 June 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  5. ^ K, Disha (22 July 2021). "Who is Belly? Meet the rapper behind song Better Believe feat. The Weeknd". HITC. Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  6. ^ "Belly: "Music is my therapy, my situation would be much worse without it"". JOE.co.uk. Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  7. ^ "Belly shoots from the gut". Archived from the original on 10 June 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2007.
  8. ^ "Champions, baby". Retrieved 18 May 2007.
  9. ^ CP Records Releases New Belly and Keshia Chante single "Get To Know You" Archived 6 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Belly - Sleepless Nights (Hosted by DJ ill Will)". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  11. ^ "Belly & Kurupt - The Lost Tapes (Hosted by DJ ill Will)". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  12. ^ "The Greatest Dream I Never Had Mixtape by Belly Hosted by DJ Drama". www.datpiff.com. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  13. ^ "YouTube". Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  14. ^ "YouTube". Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  15. ^ "Belly – Up For Days – NoDJ". Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  16. ^ "Belly Signs with Roc Nation for New LP". Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  17. ^ "Zanzibar". Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  18. ^ "Belly releases follow up to Up for Days". Rapup. 10 June 2019. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  19. ^ Goddard, Kevin (11 November 2016). "Belly releases follow up to Another Day In Paradise". Hotnewhiphop. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  20. ^ "Stream Belly's New Album "Mumble Rap"". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  21. ^ "Belly Talks Crafting '4 Days' With YG & DJ Mustard, JAY-Z Studio Sessions & Friendship With Kevin Durant". Billboard. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  22. ^ Saponara, Michael (27 March 2018). "Belly Turns Up With YG and DJ Mustard For New 4 Days Video - XXL". XXL Mag. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  23. ^ "Belly Drops "Money on the Table" Video f/ Benny The Butcher and 'IYKYK'". Complex. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  24. ^ "Belly on Taking a Stand and Teaming With Moneybagg Yo". SPIN. 3 June 2021. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  25. ^ "Belly Recruits Moneybagg Yo for New Single 'Zero Love'". Complex. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  26. ^ "Belly - Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  27. ^ "Belly Details 'See You Next Wednesday' with Nas, the Weeknd, Young Thug | Exclaim!". exclaim.ca. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  28. ^ "Belly Shares Release Date, Tracklist, and Features for New Album 'See You Next Wednesday'". Complex. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  29. ^ Blueskye, Brian (30 July 2019). "Rapper Belly sues Coachella producer, security company alleging assault at 2018 festival". desertsun.com. Palm Springs Desert Sun. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  30. ^ "Rapper Belly Punched Repeatedly by Coachella Security During The Weeknd's Set". YouTube. Indio, California, USA: TMZ. 21 April 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  31. ^ "Rapper Belly Proposed to Dina Rabadi in Big Sur, California". www.insideweddings.com. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  32. ^ "Oscars 2016: The complete list of winners and nominees". Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  33. ^ "Black Reel Awards '16 – Winners & Nominees". 20 February 2016.
  34. ^ "2016 Grammy Awards: Complete list of winners and nominees". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  35. ^ "iHeartRadio Music Awards 2016: See the Full Winners List". Billboard. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  36. ^ a b "Belly". Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  37. ^ "Search Awards". Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  38. ^ Holly Gordon and Andrea Warner, "Here are the 2021 Juno Award winners". CBC Music, June 4, 2021.
  39. ^ "SOCAN - Society Of Composers, Authors And Music Publishers Of Canada". www.socan.com. Retrieved 8 February 2019.

External links[edit]