Palestinian rapper Belly goes deep about his war-torn homeland in “History of Violence”

Belly (aka Rebellyus), the Palestinian-born rapper who spent his first seven years living in war-torn areas of the Middle East, goes deep for his and all people in his new track and video for “History of Violence.”

The song is a powerful and vivid look at the hypocrisy and devastation of the war in Iraq and other Middle Eastern territories. Shot in the ‘hoods of Ottawa’s southside and West Montreal, “History of Violence” drew hip-hop heads from cultures around the world to participate, including Palestinians, Lebanese, Iraqis, Ghanaians, Haitians, Jamaicans, Somalis, Canadians, French Canadians and Americans, some bringing flags from their mother countries.

The video has the look and feel of an evening news piece, highlighting the atrocities of war with graphic footage from Palestine and Iraq, interspersed with footage from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a tragedy about which Belly feels very strongly. To him, both demonstrate, in different ways, the war on poverty and ignorance and the blatant disregard the government has had for a people.

The lyrics to “History Of Violence” urges all people to take a stark look at the fallout from war on families and children, and what we’re teaching the children of the world from going to war. In a passage, he raps:

“A war aimed at civilian life, buildings get shot down, children go fight,
Millions watch but they keep on killin’ despite
I’m watchin daughters cry’ over fathers that died
They hit the power plants, no power no water supply
Forget the lies this is where the truth comes in
They hit airports and ports so no food comes in
Mind spinnin’ as the world’s revolvin’
Right now, we teachin’ our kids if there’s problems, only war can solve ‘em.”

Tapping the vein of hip-hop truth is evident in many of Belly’s songs. Known as an ambassador of peace in his home territory of Ottawa, Canada, Belly focuses his rhymes on bringing people of all races and religions together and exposing the hypocrisy of the powers that be.

His upcoming CP Records debut double CD, ‘The Revolution,’ is chock full of songs on politics, poverty, sex and the streets. His overriding message in his music, he says is, “LET’S TALK. Enough bloodshed, for real. I come from one of the most dangerous places in the world, Jenin, Palestine. In North America, believe it or not, we’re blessed. The world needs to relax and stop the warring, and in the ‘hood, we need to stop killing each other. There’s enough room for everybody to get money.”

As someone of Arab descent, since 9/11 Belly has experienced his share of discrimination and that palpable feeling of ostracism comes through in “History Of Violence.”

While the clip and lyrics are very pointed, Belly stands with his message. “If this puts me in the line of fire, then so be it,” he emphasizes. “I felt I had to do this. I represent Arabs who don’t want war, who are just like everybody else and that is 99% of us. I want people to see and hear that perspective.”

He goes on to say, “Countries in the Middle East are systematically being occupied. The general public is being lied to about what’s really going on. With wars of this magnitude, millions of people are affected, thousands lose their lives over decisions their leaders make. Terrorists kill innocent people. When the army does the same, how can we justify their actions? Fighting fire with fire is, obviously, not an idea that’s been effective, so far.”

The first single released in Canada on June 5, “Pressure” from The Revolution went Top 10 and hit #1 on Much Music, Canada’s version of MTV. The album also has drawn some of hip-hop’s finest to lend a hand – Fabolous, Scarface, Kurupt, Ginuwine, Nina Sky and Mario Winans. The U.S. release of The Revolution will be in the fall.

As someone of Arab descent, since 9/11 Belly has experienced his share of discrimination and that palpable feeling of ostracism comes through in “History Of Violence.”

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