• Mike Wood

From Rags to Riches: A Conversation with Belly

It's not been a straight forward journey for Palestinian born artist Belly, who's ability to not only rap & sing, but also write and produce incredible songs, has seen his stock rising at an amazing rate. Having immigrated to Ottawa, Canada from Palestine with his family when he was just seven years old, Belly (birth name Ahmad Balshe) spent his early Canadian life living out of a motel room, trying to adapt to both the language & cultural changes. Managing to only speak broken English, his life was changed when he convinced his mother to buy him Notorious B.I.G's Ready To Die album, and from their his fascination with music took off. Since then, he has not only signed to legendary label Roc Nation, but he's written songs for some of the most sought after artists including The Weekend & Beyonce. His story is one of poverty & hard times, but it's how he's not only overcome those situations, but turned them into positive outcomes that really impresses people about this talented yet humble man.

Now, with a host of mixtapes under his belt already, Belly has released his latest offering entitled Mumble Rap, produced entirely by fellow Canadian beatsmith Bo1-da. EARMILK caught up with Belly over the phone, the day after he'd played a sold out show in London, England, where we had a chat about life as an immigrant, his friendship with Jay Z & how he goes about penning some of his hits.

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