Kang Chun-hyok says even though he cannot go back across the border to North Korea, he hopes his music will.
Among the more than 26,000 North Koreans who have fled their country for new lives in South Korea, one refugee is trying to start a career as a hip-hop artist with hopes his music will eventually make it back to his homeland.
Kang Chun-hyok, 28, is originally from North Hamgyong province in North Korea. He grew up there during the famine that is believed to have killed millions. Kang says it is that experience that influences his music.
He says he wants to criticize the North Korean government because people there have been starving to death and are desperate, but yet the system has not changed. In this rap, Kang reminds North Korea’s rulers that while they were drinking expensive, imported alcohol, people like him were eating tree bark and drinking from mud puddles.
Those are lyrics that would not go over well with the Pyongyang regime. But Kang says he hopes his music will resonate with many people back home. He says he is not so sure what people in North Korea will think about his songs, but maybe his lyrics could help start a revolution there.
There is nothing like rap in North Korea, he says, though South Korean pop music is broadcast into the North by defector run radio stations in Seoul.