How Chad Kirton went from a kid in Saskatchewan to a rapper in Korea

Recording my podcast Notebook on Cities and Culture's Korea Tour last summer, I had some of the most fun hanging out with Chad Kirton, also known as DJ Chad, also known — when in the hip-hop game — as Fusion. Originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Chad has lived in Korea for more than a decade now, most of that time in Busan, Korea's second-largest city down on its southeastern coast. He originally came to pay off his student loans by earning money teaching English, as many Westerners do, but somewhere along the way he became a bona fide Busan celebrity.

You can learn more about how this kid from Canada became a bilingual broadcaster, rapper (yes, he can freestyle in Korean), and television star from the podcast interview I recorded with him, or from the short documentary at the top produced by the people at Korean pop-culture fan site Hallyuback. As if those duties didn't give him enough to fill his 16-hour workday (a sure sign of his Koreanization), he still teaches English at a local university, too.

I do wonder what his students must think of having one of the city's famous faces for an English teacher. Some surely know him from the television program 통통통 ("Tong Tong Tong"), on the second half of whose episodes he takes on a mission in some part of Busan (often to seek out free food). In the shows below, Chad's segments begin at 13:25 and 13:56:

And when they needed to market a new laptop, no less a respected and feared Korean conglomerate than Samsung selected Chad as the official rapper to represent it:

Pretty good for a guy whose hometown, back when he was growing up, lacked so much as a Korean restaurant. It's got one now, but something tells me that won't lure him back from Busan anytime soon.