Bohan Phoenix was born in a rural area in China and immigrated to the U.S. at 11, unable to speak a word of English. He took a liking to hip-hop instantly and learned the language quickly by rapping along with just about anything he could get his hands on. From Eminem to Tupac, the rest is history.
Today, Bohan is located in Brooklyn and is an anomaly in music, pursuing his career in both China and the U.S. simultaneously, leading NYC performances in Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theatre or Williamsburg darling Baby’s All Right to two tours through China in 2016 alone. A fixture in both the NYC and Chinese underground scenes, Bohan strives to bridge the musical gap between East and West, touching on universally relatable topics of love, family, pride and motivation in both English and Mandarin. These sentiments are also reflected in Bohan’s longtime motto “lovelove,” which is the namesake for the tight-knit Brooklyn creative collective and label imprint, loveloveN¥C.
Bohan’s mission behind his JALA EP is best summarized in the project’s artwork, a hot red pepper in the shape of a Nike swish that is a reference to Chinese bootlegged goods -- in essence, a byproduct of import, export, and exchange between the East and West, not unlike Bohan’s music itself. What many in the West don’t know is that for the low wage Chinese workforce big Western corporations depend on, Nikes in the mainland are about twice the price. It’s a small one of many instances that runs parallel to more serious issues in race and international relations across the world where Bohan strives to remind us that cultural exchange could be more of a two way street.
Get to know Bohan in his own words:
My Sound in five words or less: JALA JALA JALA JALA JALA.
Best part of making this video: Stuffing 35 homies in a small ass East Village Beijing noodle shop and watching them suffer from the all the JALA.
What inspires your art: Family, love, and money.
Explain the concept of the song in one sentence: I'm the plug from overseas, i gotchu on that extra spicy - food and culture.
Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat? Instagram: @BohanPhoenix
What goes down in my DM's?: Everything JALA.