Bohan Phoenix is Bridging the East and the West through Words and Sounds

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

Photos by: Reeve Lee/CLOT
Words by: Helena Yeung/CLOT
Video by: Nick Berry