Sacramento rapper Hobo Johnson had already released two albums of quirky, affable, pop-infused hip-hop when a live video for his song, “Peach Scone,” went viral in 2018 as part of NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest. Riding a wave of newfound recognition, he issued his third album, The Fall of Hobo Johnson, the following year.
Johnson was born Frank Lopes in 1996. As a teen, he was kicked out of his family home and lived in his car for a time, adopting the nickname Hobo Johnson. While working at a pizza place, sleeping in his Toyota Corolla, and showering at a nearby gym, Lopes, just 19 at the time, developed his musical persona. He crafted songs with sincere themes about chasing love and relationships and dealing with everyday trials and failures. In 2015 he relocated to Oak Park, California and released debut album 1994 Toyota Corolla, followed in 2017 with The Rise of Hobo Johnson.
In March 2018, along with a band of friends, Hobo Johnson released a video online for the song “Peach Scone,” participating in NPR’s Tiny Desk submissions contest. The video quickly went viral, collecting millions of views in a few short weeks. The online interest in the project shot The Rise of Hobo Johnson into the Billboard charts, and the album reached number 11 on the Heatseekers list. In June 2019, Johnson returned with the single “Typical Story” and embarked on an extensive North American tour that autumn in support of his third album, The Fall of Hobo Johnson. ~ Fred Thomas