Artist Showcase: Hobo Johnson

Once again, YouTube’s baffling recommendation algorithm has delivered a musical gem into my lap for me to share.

Frank Lopes— better known as Hobo Johnson— is a Sacramento based hip-hop artist. In his own words, he makes “‘nice’ hip-hop.” But hip-hop is not the first thing that comes to mind when I listen to Hobo Johnson. Though Lopes raps his lyrics and his backing music is worthy of any Soundcloud rapper, the feeling of his songs is more reminiscent of folk-punk acts such as the Front Bottoms, or Field Medic. Lopes’ lyrics are quirky and his entirely unique vocal delivery gives you a feeling that the awkward, slightly neurotic-ness of his music is a genuine reflection of himself.

The best description I can give of Hobo Johnson as an artist is that he’s the perfect combination of Lil Peep’s emo-tinged Soundcloud rap and Hotel Books’ spoken-word emo. But I’ll leave a few of my favorite songs so you can hear for yourself.

The video that first caught my attention was for the song “for the people who drank themselves to sleep last night.” I was drawn in by the long, emo-esque title and the awkward dude holding a guitar. Immediately I knew that this was right up my alley— from the whiny, sporadic vocals and the emotional delivery of the lyrics to the simple, arpeggiated chords.

Though the lyrics to “Sex in the City” are both beautiful and clever, this song is a perfect example of where Frank Johnson’s unique, powerful delivery stands out— adding a layer to the story told in the lyrics.

“Romeo and Juliet” is one of a few of Hobo Johnson’s songs that has an official music video, but I find the song much more powerful in its live version. I find the lyrics on this one particularly thought provoking.

Finally, I leave you with “Creve Coeur 1.” This song is great for the same reasons I’ve already mentioned, but I include it because it gives you a taste of what Hobo Johnson sounds like in a studio.

You can find Hobo Johnson’s debut album, The Rise of Hobo Johnson on Spotify or purchase a physical copy on Hobo Johnson’s official website.

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