Published May 27, 2016After signing to the Weeknd's XO Records and Jay-Z's Roc Nation, Ottawa's Belly is riding a steadily rising wave. His third album, Another Day in Paradise, is the afterparty to his overnight success.
Just about every one of the LP's 12 tracks is somewhat fittingly rife with hedonistic boasts, from driving exclusively foreign whips ("Exotic") to "hittin' molly with a teaspoon" on the album's opener, "It's All Love." But as much as ADiP is spent flaunting what he's got, Belly is at his best when delving, however briefly, into life before the A-list co-signs, most notably on the title track and over a collage of piano and strings on "God Bless," an ode to his former (illegal) grind.
While it could be argued that ADiP's continuity in both bars and beats give it a well-executed focus, it feels adrift in a sea of 808s and run-of-the-mill braggadocio. Belly's flow is often borderline lethargic, his pen game plagued by duds like "I rap circles around these squares." The sloppy, Lil Wayne-assisted "Barely Sober" robs the album of the momentum built by its predecessor, "God Bless," and the remaining few tracks feel like little more than patchwork.
As he'll doubtlessly brag himself, Belly's stock has quickly become the stuff of envy, but it feels like he's frivolously reaping the benefits; Another Day in Paradise finds him saying little else. (XO Records/Roc Nation)