Belly (rapper)

Ahmad Balshe (Arabic: أحمد بلشي‎) (born 7 April 1984), better known by his stage name Belly, is a Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer of Palestinian descent.[1][2]

Belly in 2008
Belly in 2008
Background information
Birth nameAhmad Kasem Balshe
Born (1984-04-07) 7 April 1984 (age 36)
Jenin, Palestine
OriginOttawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active2005–present
Associated acts

Born in Jenin in the Palestinian West Bank, and raised in Ottawa,[3] Balshe embarked on a career as a musician at 16 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 both Kurupt and DJ Drama, respectively.

After a hiatus from music, he secured a recording contract with XO in 2015, and later an additional contract with Roc Nation, after contributing with 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 further mixtapes, and released his second album Immigrant in 2018.

Belly was then 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.


2005–2007: Early career and The RevolutionEdit

His 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, Belly 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 video remains his most controversial record to date. In "History of Violence", Belly explains his views on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and the War in Iraq.[5]

During the 2007 NHL Playoffs, as the Ottawa Senators were competing, Belly released a single entitled "Bandwagon" (produced by Hussain). When the Senators made the Stanley Cup Finals, Belly released a second version of the song which featured goaltender Ray Emery.[6]

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", "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.[7] Singles from The Revolution won two MuchMusic Video Awards for Best Rap Video; "Pressure" in 2007 and "Ridin'" in 2008.

2007–2012: Additional mixtapes and hiatusEdit

Belly also released a body of work that was a compilation of songs he had worked on with Dogg Pound rapper Kurupt some time after his first album The Revolution. Some songs were unreleased with a few that had seen release dates on previous mixtapes. This mixtape was called Belly & Kurupt The Lost Tapes 2008 hosted yet again by DJ Ill Will. In 2011, Belly released another new mixtape titled The Greatest Dream I Never Had which he has said will have no features.[8]

His mixtape, Sleepless Nights 1.5 was released April 2012. The first single "Hot Girl",[9] featuring Snoop Dogg was released on 8 September 2009.

Second single "To The Top", featuring Ava, was released in 2010. Belly's first single of 2011 was "Back Against the Wall",[10] featuring Grammy Award-nominated singer Kobe Honeycutt.

2015: Signing to XO and Roc NationEdit

In May 2015, Belly released his newest mixtape, entitled Up for Days.[11] It featured 10 tracks, including four collaborations with Travis Scott, Juelz Santana, French Montana, XO-label head, and The Weeknd in addition to six solo tracks. On 24 November 2015, it was announced that he had signed with Jay-Z's Roc Nation label.[12]

Belly was also prominently featured on The Weeknd's album, Beauty Behind the Madness in August 2015, earning six writing credits on songs like Often, The Hills, Shameless, Earned It, In the Night and As You Are.

In February 2016, he released the lead single to his upcoming project "Zanzibar", featuring American rapper Juicy J.[13] On 27 May 2016, he released Another Day in Paradise, which featured guest appearances from Travis Scott, Lil Wayne, Kehlani, Starrah, Waka Flocka, Juicy J and B-Real. [14]

On 11 November 2016, he released his tenth mixtape, Inzombia which had 11 tracks. 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".[15] Later that month, The Weeknd released his third studio album, Starboy, with Belly having writing credits on 9 of the 18 songs, such as Party Monster, False Alarm, Rockin', Six Feet Under, "Love to Lay", "A Lonely Night", "Ordinary Life", "Nothing Without You" and All I Know.

2017: Mumble RapEdit

Belly was featured on DJ Khaled's tenth studio album, Grateful on the song titled "Interlude".

On 6 October 2017, Belly released Mumble Rap which the mixtape being executive produced by fellow Canadian producer Boi-1da.[16]

Belly was featured on American rapper Juicy J's fourth studio album Rubba Band Business on a song, "On & On", which also featured Canadian musician Tory Lanez.

2018-present: ImmigrantEdit

Belly was featured in Nipsey Hussle's single, "Double Up" which also featured Dom Kennedy. The song is featured on Nipsey's debut album Victory Lap, as part of the bonus tracks, which was released 16 February 2018.

Belly released "4 Days", on 22 March 2018, in promoting his upcoming second album. The song features American rapper YG, and production from Mustard. The music video was released 26 March 2018.

Belly served as a co-writer on The Weeknd's EP, My Dear Melancholy, on 30 March 2018, on the song "Try Me".

Belly released the lead single to his second upcoming studio album Immigrant on 5 April 2018, titled "Maintain", which featured Nav. The music video was released 11 May 2018. The second single "What You Want" was released 24 May 2018. The music video was released 30 May 2018. It features guest vocals from Canadian musician, The Weeknd. Immigrant was officially released 12 October 2018. The album also features guest appearances from Zack, French Montana, Meek Mill, Yo Gotti and M.I.A..

The album debuted on the Billboard 200 at 169.

Personal lifeEdit

On 30 July 2019, Belly 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.[17] A video obtained by TMZ shows festival security staff pushing Belly up against a security barrier and repeatedly punching him.[18]


Studio albumsEdit

Awards and nominationsEdit

Academy AwardsEdit

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref(s)
2016 "Earned It" Best Original Song Nominated [20]

Black Reel AwardsEdit

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref(s)
2016 "Earned It" Outstanding Original Song Nominated [21]

Grammy AwardsEdit

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref(s)
2016 "Earned It" Best R&B Song Nominated [22]
Best Song Written for Visual Media Nominated

iHeartRadio Music AwardsEdit

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref(s)
2016 "Earned It" Best Song from a Movie Nominated [23]

Juno AwardEdit

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref(s)
2008 Himself New Artist of the Year Nominated [24]
"The Revolution" Rap Recording of the Year Won
2016 Himself Songwriter of the Year Won [25]
2017 Himself Fan Choice Award Nominated [24]
"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

SOCAN Songwriting PrizeEdit

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref(s)
2015 "Wanderlust" Urban/Independent Music Won [26]
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


  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. ^ "Belly shoots from the gut". Archived from the original on 10 June 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2007.
  6. ^ "Champions, baby". Retrieved 18 May 2007.
  7. ^ CP Records Releases New Belly and Keshia Chante single "Get To Know You" Archived 6 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "BELLY on Twitter". Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  9. ^ "YouTube". Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  10. ^ "YouTube". Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  11. ^ "Belly – Up For Days – NoDJ". Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  12. ^ "Belly Signs with Roc Nation for New LP". Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Zanzibar". Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  14. ^ "Belly releases follow up to Up for Days". Rapup. 10 June 2019. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  15. ^ Goddard, Kevin (11 November 2016). "Belly releases follow up to Another Day In Paradise". Hotnewhiphop. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  16. ^ "Stream Belly's New Album "Mumble Rap"". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  17. ^ Blueskye, Brian (30 July 2019). "Rapper Belly sues Coachella producer, security company alleging assault at 2018 festival". Palm Springs Desert Sun. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  18. ^ "Rapper Belly Punched Repeatedly by Coachella Security During The Weeknd's Set". YouTube. Indio, California, USA: TMZ. 21 April 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  19. ^ "Belly Announces 'IMMIGRANT' Album". Complex. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  20. ^ "Oscars 2016: The complete list of winners and nominees". Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  21. ^ "Black Reel Awards '16 – Winners & Nominees". 20 February 2016.
  22. ^ "2016 Grammy Awards: Complete list of winners and nominees". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  23. ^ "iHeartRadio Music Awards 2016: See the Full Winners List". Billboard. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  24. ^ a b "Belly". Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  25. ^ "Search Awards". Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  26. ^ "SOCAN - Society Of Composers, Authors And Music Publishers Of Canada". Retrieved 8 February 2019.

External linksEdit