Mixtape Review: Belly — Inzombia

Monday, November 21, 2016

Belly released his brooding new mixtape Inzombia this month, further proving his status as one to watch. 

Track one from Inzombia, 'Die Alone', opens up with a vampire/vintage horror-like monologue that falls right into the theme of the mixtape. There is an eerie aura to the track and the broodiness of the instrumental assists in creating this energy. Right from the beginning, we see him make the juxtaposition between a zombie and his life. This mixtape isn't centred around gory zombies and all that is scary; it acts as a metaphor for his current lifestyle and the way he lives his life. He feels like a zombie as the many drugs and substances give him no emotional at all. He sings lyrics such as "I don't have a heart at all", almost as a warning to those who want to become part of his life.

The eeriness continues on 'The Day That I Met You', with its catchy hook containing the fiery words "fuck the day that I met you", it's obvious that he's pissed at someone and you better hope it isn't you. 

'Trap Phone' is a solid track, that's in some ways bouncy, but still maintains the grimy/trap vibe he's going for — the production of this track is stellar.

Belly can transition between rapping and singing with ease and 'Frozen Water' (ft. Future) is the perfect example of this. Just like his XO boss The Weeknd, he's able to portray a drug-hazed melodic story throughout a track. Though Future makes me feel indifferent (I don't dislike the guy's music, sometimes his sound can be a little repetitive), he does suit the track — we all know how much Future loves codeine and syrup, so this is his domain. Though I do believe that the song would still work without Future in it, his part isn't essential. 'Frozen Water' is one of the standout tracks from the release — he's able to mention trap things, but he does it in a way that evokes a degree of dark imagery.

'Re Up' (ft. NAV) follows the same path as the previous track. The downtempo track has that XO-vibe, where the lyrics discuss emotional effects of prescription drug abuse, but in a way that's almost poetic. There isn't any rapping, and that's okay. Though many people argue that artists glorify prescription drugs too much in today's music, this track doesn't do that. It's bleak, especially with words like "all my demons keep waking me up" and NAV's lyrics "born alone, die alone, I let the drugs take my soul".

I'm not sure how 'Consuela' fits into the theme of insomnia and zombies, but it's intriguing. The South American-inspired track infuses both English and a slice of Spanish. Young Thug was still in 'Harambe' mode from his Jeffery album when he recorded his verse for his song; it works well, though. Thug's verse is lively, animated and brings texture to the song. The Spanish words are confusing (only because I don't know Spanish), but it does compliment the song.

'Outcast' (ft. Ty Dolla $ign) is a monster track. It has the potential to become a mega-hit, and if pushed correctly, it will get Belly some commercial success. The choice to get Ty Dolla $ign on the hook is always a smart decision. Just like Jeremih or Quavo, Ty Dolla $ign can make any song good. A catchy and smooth hook is what turns songs into hits, and I can't find a single flaw with 'Outcast''s hook. Belly is also beastly on this track, and his flow his insane. This song is going to be massive.

The hazy 'Hollywood Interlude' sees Belly sing about the fakeness of Hollywood. I hate mentioning it, but I feel like adding the Weeknd to this track would have taken it to another level. 

90s princess Ashanti features as a guest vocalist on 'Seven Day Love'. Her lush vocals give the track another dimension and soften the grim words Belly is rapping, especially with lyrics such as "if these drugs don't kill me, these bitches will". 'Seven Day Love' closes fittingly with Ashanti's crooning.

'Actin Different' stars his best verses from the entire mixtape. Not many hip hop artists can spit fire, and then jump on the hook and kill it there also. 

Though 'Can't Feel a Thing' is a great track that capsulizes the overall message he is going for — prescription drugs are dangerous but also necessary to get him through — the mixtape ends up on a sombre note. In a way, it leaves you uneasy, still with many questions about his life and his current state of mind. Perhaps the point of closing the mixtape like this was to show that the emotional bluntness is still an ongoing issue for him.

Inzombia takes you on a journey through the perils of prescription drugs and emotional paralysis. Belly's words are overcast with degrees of bleakness and gloom. Overall, it's a solid project that further proves that Belly is on his way to great things.

Written by Amy Smolcic

Belly  Inzombia
Release date: November 11th 2016
Rating: 7.5