Belly lit up the stage on Tuesday night for a special edition of the HOT 97 monthly series of Who’s Next – the XO Special at SOBs in NYC – his first headline performance in the city that never sleeps. The energy was out of this world as Belly performed songs off his album Mumble Rap, not to mention, having The Weeknd and Jadakiss take the stage alongside with him for two super surprised performances. The Toronto native, by way of Palestine, has a strong following in New York City and his connection to the crowd was exceptional as he talked with them and shared his experiences growing up within a close-knit immigrant family in Canada.
At one point, Bob Marley’s ‘Jammin’ came on the speakers with Belly’s hype man proceeding to deliver what looked like a cigar at which Belly immediately lit up. The thickness of the smoke he exhaled moved across the room like a phantom and excited the crowd further. If the success of a musical artist is measured by how many fans sing along to the lyrics of your song, then Belly is clearly a force to be reckoned with and is on his way to become one of the most talented artists in the music industry to date.
His performance of ‘Immigration to the Trap’ began with an interlude highlighting the issues immigrant families face, where Belly also pointed out that there were many immigrants in the audience and that if they themselves weren’t their parents might be, with another track off of Mumble Rap “Lullaby” touching on the themes of community and family. He also performed crowd favorites like ‘P.O.P’ and ‘Ballerina’ on the SOB stage.
Belly may just be the conscious and globally diverse artist the hip hop world needs right now. He delivered each song with precision, meaning, and with a supernatural connection to the energy in the room.
With a stage backdrop that read “Came From Nothing”, from nothing a star is born.