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How a Sacramento ‘Hobo’ racked up millions of views with his music video

Hobo Johnson performs at Sol Collective in Sacramento on Jan. 20, 2017. Johnson, whose real name is Frank Lopes, is a rapper from the Sacramento area.
Hobo Johnson performs at Sol Collective in Sacramento on Jan. 20, 2017. Johnson, whose real name is Frank Lopes, is a rapper from the Sacramento area. Sacramento Bee file

A Sacramento area rapper is getting a lot of attention on his submission to a national video contest.

A music video by Hobo Johnson, performed with the Lovemakers, called "Peach Scone" has gone viral in less than a week. Johnson, who describes himself as more of a musician than a rapper in the video, discusses his love for a woman who is with someone else.

Posted to Facebook on Wednesday for NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest, the video has more than 2.7 million views and over 43,000 reactions as of Tuesday evening. The majority are "likes" (more than 31,000), but every success story has its detractors – eight Facebook users marked "angry" on the video.

The video, which appears to be shot in a backyard, opens with "What up, Bob?" – Capital Public Radio points out that Bob is likely NPR host Bob Boilen – and Johnson even points to a "desk" as a nod to the contest before admitting it's a table. "I don't care about rules."

The lyrics imitate a conversation with the object of his affection. In the end, Johnson just wants her to be happy.

Johnson, whose real name is Frank Lopes, is no stranger to Sacramento hip-hop. The 23-year-old has gained attention locally through what The Bee last year called a series of lovably low-budget clips titled “Hobo Johnson – Live From Oak Park.”

Should Johnson win the Tiny Desk Contest, that budget could grow significantly. He would play a concert at NPR's Washington headquarters, tour the U.S. with NPR and Lagunitas, and appear in a taping of NPR’s "Ask Me Another."

Frank Lopes, aka "Hobo Johnson," is a young up and coming rapper living in Oak Park. Hobo recently signed a recording contract.

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