By Jack Barnes
Effortlessly spitting fire in both English and Mandarin, Bohan Phoenix builds bridges and breaks boundaries with his multicultural flex. Stepping up with a seven-track treatise on his binational experience, Bohan serves OVERSEAS, a personal and party-starting new project. Featuring an appearance from MaSiWei of China’s breakthrough rap group Higher Brothers, OVERSEAS finds the rapper digging deep into his personal life, relaying stories about his childhood in China and as a young immigrant, while opening up about the challenges of being an independent musician in China’s highly commercial music industry. Buttressed with crisp drums, deep bass, infectious piano lines, and the occasional traditional Asian instrument, OVERSEAS is an addictive and compelling soundscape, with production from the likes of Ryan Hemsworth, Yllis, and others with instrumentals ranging from doomy trap, to spritely piano, to wavy electronics. Enjoy this audio stream below after the jump.
Arriving amidst a Chinese government crackdown on hip-hop culture, including a ban on rappers and tattooed artists performing on television, the mere existence of OVERSEAS is an act of protest, re-establishing hip-hop as a vehicle for positivity and social change while challenging prevailing American notions about rappers of Asian descent. Distributed by EMPIRE, OVERSEAS furthers Bohan’s unifying mission while satisfying listeners with a wide array of borderless bangers.
Born in China’s Hubei province, Bohan immigrated to the United States at the age of 11. Though he did not speak a word of English, Bohan quickly gravitated to hip-hop culture, learning the language by rapping along to all the hip-hop he could find. A rare independent artist in a challenging Chinese music environment, Bohan took his largest steps forward as an artist in 2017, partnering with Beats By Dre, teaming up with notable Chinese streetwear companies, and releasing the JALA EP, with videos premiered by The FADER and 88Rising, and touring all primary and secondary markets in China on the JALA Tour. JALA catapulted Bohan into recognition in the broader hip-hop community, earning a placement on Spotifyʼs Fresh Finds and Apple Musicʼs Hot Tracks, garnered a spotlight on REVOLT, interviews on Bandcamp Daily, Magnetic Mag and a Boiler Room and Fendi performance during New York Fashion Week alongside Migos, 21 Savage and Metro Boomin. Earlier this month, DAZED hailed Bohan as one of four “Chinese Rap Stars About to Go Global,” alongside Vava and frequent collaborators Higher Brothers and Howie Lee. In January, Highsnobiety premiere
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