Belly is a Canadian rapper with Palestinian-Jordanian ancestry. Hoping to escape violence and poverty, his family immigrated to Ottawa, Canada when he was a boy. It was during this phase of his life that he learned how to sell drugs, and live with the challenges of being a Muslim in a primarily non-Muslim country. On IMMIGRANT, Belly tells this story with the help of some top-rated producers, such as TRAKGIRL, Ben Billions, Metroboomin, and Southside who deliver the catchy beats as he captivates listeners with his thought-provoking lyrics.
From the first track to the last, the beats on this album form a vortex that attracts listeners into his world of intriguing stories. Some tracks with divine sounds in the production are: “Another Note,” produced by Ben Billions, “Maintain” produced by TRAKGIRL, and the stellar production by Southside and Metroboomin on “All For Me.” Also, on the downtempo track, “What Does It Mean?” whenever the sound of the trumpet pops up, a delightful tingle can be felt in the soul. The 34-year-old rapper builds on the foundation set by the producers with his lyrical dexterity. This approach is what makes his stories more appealing, and easy to understand. On the wordplay filled “Who Hurt You?,” he raps: “Bitch, you ripped my heart out just to ask me why I’m heartless/She shootin’ for the stars, and I guess I ain’t a target.”
For people of color or immigrants, every line on “Immigrant” will hit home. Belly and Meek Mill rap about the reality of being a young person of color in America. He begins his verse with another wordplay as he raps: “This ain’t a tan, my skin the same color as sand/From the motherland, look down and see the world in my hands.” When it isn’t wordplays, he adds other special ingredients like double entendres and rhymes to make his story engaging.
It’s been more than a decade since Belly released his debut album, The Revolution, on which he focused on religion and the struggles of growing up in the Middle East. On IMMIGRANT, his roots continue to reflect in the content of his music, except this time he makes the production the bedrock of attraction to this content. It is very easy to create a political record about things going on in society, but it’s not always easy to develop hits while doing that. Belly succeeds at doing both; Creating hits and lashing out at the government. The beats on this project will have you bobbing your head while thinking about the importance of his lyrics. IMMIGRANT is what you hear when an artist invests in artful producers, and backs it up with great lyrical content.