The Fall of Hobo Johnson
It’s pretty cool that rap’s umbrella is currently broad enough to cover just about anything, though that means it allows for rappers transplanted straight from that hallway in your high school where all the musical theater kids hung out. The Fall of Hobo Johnson is the California native’s second album, though it’s his first release after his big break, when his outsized entrance into NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest went viral. Johnson describes the record as “alternative-hip-hop-rock-folk,” which really only paints half the picture: Think Hamilton meets Beck meets Chance the Rapper meets your local slam-poetry open mic. There’s satirical paeans to evolution (“You & the Cockroach”), ruminations on fame (“Ode to Justin Bieber”), and spoken-word tributes to simple domesticity that erupt into screams. You’re either going to love it or hate it, but you’ve got to give him points for originality.