Educate Your Ears: OHYUNG

Experimental rap artist OHYUNG follows his first project Untitled (Chinese Man with Flame) with his new album PROTECTOR, an 11-song cross-genre collision course through distorted 808s, pitch-shifted rapping, frenetic pop energy and ambient loops, out now on Chinabot. Peppered with jacked-up late-night DJ laser beams and explosions, PROTECTOR shifts into new grounds with every song. The album begins with experimental noise gamelan, and moves into pitch-shifted rap to screaming distorted punk. Anime theme song and Korean pop melds with Soundcloud jungle beats; layers sampled from Italian opera and Taiwanese movies turn into hazy self-loathing incantations (“I hate myself”) and lullaby meditations on the afterlife: “Now that I close my eyes… the world I see is so beautiful.”

PROTECTOR is an often a disparaging and self-critical internal conversation. “Oh my god, you are a fraud,” repeats over a brooding trap beat, and samples anxiously repeat into infinity. But it’s also filled with self-discovery and connection with others. “Shenme Gui” is a demented Chinese New Year riot song in collaboration with Space Meow Doll (who raps in Chinese) and Qing Liberty (“Dyke boot to the neck!”) where they cathartically dance-rage at the world. “Ga ga Ee,” sung by artist and filmmaker Hye Yun Park, is a soaring K-Pop/Jungle hybrid about diasporic longing and dreaming of a home. Touching on themes of beauty, gender, body image, and diaspora, OHYUNG has produced an album that is at once riotous, gentle, anti-nostalgic, and fully charged.

Photo by dayday

OHYUNG is an experimental rap artist and film composer based in Brooklyn, New York. He has been featured in PAPER magazine, Tiny Mix Tapes, and other publications. In 2018, OHYUNG released his debut album Untitled (Chinese Man with Flame), synthesizing noise, trap, elements of traditional hip hop, as well as experimental ambient music, pop music, and tape loops. He aims to explore alternative and subversive Asian-American modalities through his art.

Feature photo by dayday