He is not a typical rapper you'd hear on the radio. It is his train of thought audibly transmitted through song that invites the listener into his 1994 Toyota Corolla, which wittingly gave Frank his artist name. He was kicked out of his parents' house at the age of 19, where he turned to his 1994 Toyota Corolla as refuge for himself and his music. Frank Lopes is the vocalist, quirky rapper, and creator of Hobo Johnson.
Again let me warn you, Hobo Johnson is not your usual rapper. He can produce great beats, but are you ready for him to interrupt the song with a beautiful piano prelude? This music is purely train of thought. Some of his biggest influences are Kendrick and Chance The Rapper – and his step brother introduced to him folk punk, like the Front Bottoms. Each influence stands out with the experimentation of his tracks, and with the colorful lyricism of his music.
Hobo Johnson started to obtain fans by uploading a YouTube playlist called "Live From Oak Park." Derek, the guitarist from Hobo Johnson's backing band called The Love Makers, came up with the idea for "Live From Oak Park" and filmed it in his backyard. On that playlist, he passionately sings "Romeo and Juliet" from his album called The Rise of Hobo Johnson. If you are not sold on his music yet, try listening to this song while watching his creatively depressing music video. "Romeo and Juliet" explores unrequited and dangerous love, touching on how his parents' relationship affected his love life.
Another song that was recorded in Derek's backyard is the now-famous song, "Peach Scones." This track went viral because fans got to see what the budding star was really like in a live setting. Hobo Johnson looks like he lost his mind, but that's what is so great about it. The Love Makers are playing with him in the back and joining in on the madness. “Peach Scone" is about the all-too-relatable topic of being friend zoned by a girl who complains about her horrid boyfriend, as Johnson tries to ignore the fact that he is in love with her and hates being alone.
On the other hand, his "3%" is a song where Hobo Johnson gives himself advice to pursue his dreams. Hobo Johnson started his career by dropping out of school, quitting his job at a pizza parlor, and performing on the street. Performing made him happy, not making pizza. Steady piano chords accompany his story-telling while ambient noise rises over the chorus. "Creve Coeur 1″ features a dialogue between a girl and boy. The girl is so destroyed by the relationships that she has seen in her family and finds herself too broken to be in a relationship herself. As a steady haunting piano melody echoes throughout, his voice becomes strained and a drum pad comes in with more instruments shadowing the haunting lyrics. Hobo Johnson is not just a uniquely depressing rapper – he also has songs like "Sex in the City" that are about Sacramento City: beautiful people, music, and relationships.
Hobo Johnson is currently touring North America, hitting every major city through July 1. Grab your tickets here!