Bohan Phoenix is Bridging the East and the West through Words and Sounds
Bohan Phoenix is the ultimate definition of bridging the East and the West. The up-and-coming rapper has physically traversed the earth several times over - born in Hubei, China and then raised in Massachusetts, USA, and now based in Chengdu, China - Bohan has used this international identity to carve out his unique place in the music world.
His moniker is an ode to his being - the Phoenix being "reborn," which, in Bohan's case is being reborn in different cultures. He raps in both Chinese and English, a clear representation of who he is but also a clever way to tie two cultures together in a medium that everyone understands - music.
But as much as everyone talks about Bohan being a Chinese American rapper - it's far more than that. The adjectives are just temporary, and in his own words on his song "Overseas," "I don't want attention just because of diversity; I want my music fresh and tasty."
We got a chance to hang out with Bohan in Hong Kong, where he checked out JUICE Causeway Bay and tried on some of CLOT's Fall/Winter 2019 "CLOTOPIA" collection. Check out the interview below, and make sure you stay up-to-date with Bohan's latest through his Instagram.
On how China influenced him:
I grew up in China in a small rural place with a very narrow perspective of things. Once I got to the States, it was a whole different world. And that's what built me - we're all kind of worldly citizens. I've spent half my life here and half there, it's given me the perspective that I need to add to the conversation today.
On his return to China:
I grew up with my grandparents, and my grandpa is getting older. I wasn't there when my grandma passed so I really wanted to spend more time with my grandpa. And I've been doing many more shows in China, I can really see the potential here. I never thought I was going to leave New York, but I realized I wanted to participate in the popping Chinese scene.
On his fanbase:
Numbers-wise, I have more fans in China just because that's where I've been doing shows and the artists I work with are all in China. But a lot more western artists and fans understand what I'm trying to do with hip-hop and rap. Because it comes from western culture, there are a lot of references I make that those in China might not get. But slowly, the Chinese population is getting more educated about hip-hop and rap and you can clearly see that.
On hip-hop in China:
I think there's a lot of interest right now. One, because of social media and two, people are starting to look outside. There are many more players like 88rising who are putting a lot of investment in Asian artists in the west. But I'm not too interested in that. Unless you're at Drake's level and on a worldwide stage... I feel like until then, we're just tokens of diversification. I think we should begin the conversation even though we are a little behind the western artists because this culture just hit China. I think the scene is going to get bigger but at the same time smaller - the artists who are serious are going to stay and those who are just here for the hype will be over it.
On his connection with CLOT:
I remember seeing a talk where Edison Chen said, "lots of people are making things just 'good enough' for China, but I don't want to do that. I want to make things competitive on a world-stage level," and that's how I feel about my music. So I really respect him for what he's trying to do in fashion and culture.
On what's next for him:
I'm checking out the scene here [in Hong Kong], starting in March we are going to do an Asia tour with a full band. I'm going to release a full-length project, it's my baby! It's going to be amazing. And you know what, maybe I'm going to drop the "Phoenix" and just be "Bohan."
On Bohan: CLOT's Camo Lined Trucker Jacket