Belly
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Belly
Biography

With three successful mixtapes and three chart-topping singles under his belt, and his full-length debut album on the way, Belly is ready. His debut double CD, entitled THE REVOLUTION, is set for release in Canada on CP Records in June of 2007. Belly recruited many of hip-hop and R&B's finest to work alongside him on THE REVOLUTION. Features on the album include Fabolous, the legendary Scarface, Kurupt, Nina Sky, Ginuwine (on the first single, “Pressure,” already Top 10 in Canada & #1 on MuchMusic), Mario Winans, Massari and Monique. Production was deftly handled by Beat Merchant. Da Heala, Goggs, Whosane? and Bacardy also contributed their talents to this classic.

A prolific writer, the double CD format allowed Belly to express himself as a complete person. “The People” CD tackles songs about politics, poverty, sex and the street life, no holds barred. With tracks like “Hi Haters,” “Follow Me,” “Goodbye” and “Revolutionary,” Belly states his case. Here from “Revolutionary”:

“Who cares what your religion is,
There’s people living in a world full of hate, hunger, war and missing kids,
Where we living we privileged,
Believe me, there’s no reason anyone should feel limited,
They say listen kids, rap’s a bad influence,
When we committed less than half the crime politicians did,
Now the secret’s in the safe,
They knock gangsta music when Cheney’s shooting people in the face.”

“The System” CD takes a break and throws tracks about feeling good and having a good time. And the entire double package carries Belly’s signature hard-hitting lyrics that spit the truth from a brother who’s been there. “The problems don’t stop once you get into this industry, but people should never regret anything that happens to them,” Belly emphasizes. “I don’t know where I’d be and what I’d be rapping about if I didn't live the life I lived. The pain is part of the game.”

And he should know. Belly (a.k.a Rebellyus) was born to Palestinian parents in the city of Jenin, surrounded by war, violence, and atrocities no child should ever have to see. With the dangers of living in that country, his parents left when Belly was a baby and, for the next seven years, they lived in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan. While Belly cares a great deal about Palestine and still has family there, he’s most concerned with bringing people of all races and religions together, and raps about the state of the world. In “Follow Me”: “I was known for the grimiest rappin’, but, I’ve been prayin’ a lot more since tsunami done happened. Flash back, seein’ planes fly in Manhattan, I’ve been hurt since the time that it happened - Osama bin Laden, Saddam and Iraq and, the bombs, the war, so peace is hard to imagine.”

When Belly and his family moved to Ottawa, Canada, he saw the money and wealth that was only a dream in his birthplace. Although his parents made sure there was food on the table and a roof over Belly and his siblings’ heads, the luxuries he saw at school, which his family couldn’t afford, were addictive – the flyest shoes, the new cap. Like many kids, that hunger led him to the streets. By the time he was 13, Belly was on the block hustling drugs to get his hands on a piece of the wealth that was available for the taking. Life on the streets made him strong and resilient but he needed an outlet to release his anger and aggression. It was rap music that saved his life and, ultimately, got him off the streets for good. "I always had a love for rap music, and I eventually found out that rap and my passion for it was the only way I could really express myself and talk about the things going on in my life." Belly began recording street singles on a home computer. A year later, after hearing his name throughout the ‘hood, budding business-savvy entrepreneur Tony Sal, also an Ottawa resident, drove through the South Side’s Hunt Club neighbourhood, looking for Belly. Sal wanted to start an independent record label, CP Records (Capital Prophet Records), and Belly and Canadian singer, Massari were his first signings. Belly was 15.

In 2002, CP Records and Belly began to develop and strengthen. In 2003, he and Massari recorded and released the single “Spitfire.” Local radio station, Hot 89.9 jumped on, and the track became a local anthem. Belly and Massari were dubbed “The Prophets”, stirring up controversy among different religious groups. Having grown up together and each coming from a different religious and ethnic background, The Prophets chose to ignore the racial and religious barriers others were attempting to construct, and CP released the Spitfire EP, along with a follow-up single. The second single wasn't as well received, and a frustrated Belly returned to the streets. “This period was a turning point for me. I finally got that I was addicted to hip-hop and the studio,” Belly described. “I actually got withdrawal symptoms; found myself irritated all the time. It’s where the track ‘Obsession’ ultimately came from.”

Belly returned to the studio with a newly found intensity. He emerged with three classic mixtapes - Death Before Dishonor Vol.1- Kool Kid; Vol.2- DJ Kay Slay and Vol.3- DJ Big Mike. With 2003’s Kool Kid mixtape, Belly became the first Canadian artist to create a mixtape to connect with the streets. He was 18. With the 2004 and 2006 releases of the Kay Slay and DJ Big Mike mixtapes, Belly also became the first Canadian artist to collaborate with all three legendary DJ’s. They sold over 60,000 copies, combined, in North America. Belly also wrote three singles for Massari – “Be Easy”, “Rush The Floor” and “Smile for Me.” They went Top Ten in Canada, and went on to worldwide success. He’s just wrapped a national tour of Canada with Snoop and Ice Cube. And, Belly has a vested interest in the label he helped Tony Sal start. He is now the Vice President and Head of A&R of CP Records. All this and Belly is just 22...

Belly is ready, and The Revolution begins here.