Die Fantastischen Vier
|Die Fantastischen Vier|
|Genres||German hip hop, Pop rap|
|Years active||1986 (1989) – present|
|Labels||Four Music, Sony BMG|
Michael B. Schmidt
Die Fantastischen Vier (German pronunciation: [diː fanˈtastɪʃən ˈfiːɐ̯]), also known as Fanta 4, is a German hip hop group from Stuttgart, Germany. The members are Michael Bernd Schmidt alias Smudo, Andreas Rieke alias And.Ypsilon, Thomas Dürr alias Hausmeister (super/building manager) Thomas D and Michael 'Michi' Beck alias Dee Jot Hausmarke. They were among the first groups to rap in the German language.
In the middle of the 1980s, Rieke and Schmidt formed the "Terminal Team", Dürr and Beck joined in 1989. Under the new name Die Fantastischen Vier (The Fantastic Four), they made German hip hop, or Deutschen Sprechgesang (German spoken-song) as they called it, popular in Germany. Although there were German hip-hop artists prior to them (such as Advanced Chemistry from Heidelberg) it was Die Fantastischen Vier who registered the first chart hit with their 1992 single "Die da?!" from the album 4 Gewinnt, hitting #2 in Germany and #1 in Austria and Switzerland.
After traveling to Los Angeles in the late 1980s, the group realized the lack of connection between the struggles of "the poor Blacks in the U.S. and middle-class Whites in Germany,"  and made a conscious effort to move away from the typical and cliché American gangster rap. The group never got involved with US-American gangsta rap clichés, reacting with tongue-in-cheek humor to verbal attacks of alleged German gangsta rappers. In the albums following 4 Gewinnt, the band matured and progressed to a more serious and philosophic style.
The band was extremely successful in the 1990s, when they released their hit single Die Da?! (Her?! The One Over There?!) in 1992. It was arguably the first German hip hop hit and also the breakthrough for the Fanta 4.
In addition to the group's works, Thomas D, Hausmarke and Ypsilon also produced successful solo albums and the four had their own weekly show Die 4. Dimension, named after their third album, which aired on the German pay TV channel Premiere in 1993/1994.
Three years later, the group's 7th album 4:99 was released on their own label, with 4 singles from the album following. After the #2 hit "MfG", three singles were released at the same time, a first in German music business. Each one can be associated with one of the rappers: "Le Smou" (The Smou; Smudo), "Michi Beck in Hell" (Michi Beck) and "Buenos Dias Messias" (Good day, Messiah; Thomas D).
In late September 2004, Die Fantastischen Vier released the album Viel, the following tour being their most successful and best-attended to date.
In 2005, Fanta 4's first greatest hits album was published. It includes all singles, as well as several other songs and rare footage from the bands early days, when they were still called "Terminal Team" and rapped in English.
On April 7, 2007, Fornika was released, preceded by the single "Ernten was wir säen" (Reap what we sow).
They are also the German voices of the Penguins (Michael Beck as Skipper, Thomas D. as Kowalski, Andreas Rieke as Rico and Michael Bernd Schmidt as Private) in the Madagascar film series.
|1991||Jetzt geht's ab!||22||—||—|
|1993||Die 4. Dimension||14||23||27|
|1996||Live und direkt||17||—||30|
|2003||Live in Stuttgart||81||50||—|
|Best of 1990-2005||26||32||29|
|2010||Für Dich Immer Noch Fanta Sie||1||2||1|
|"Hausmeister Thomas D."2||–||–||–|
|"Hausmeister Thomas D. '92"2||–||–||–|
|"Lass die Sonne rein"6||92||–||–|
|"Zu geil für diese Welt"7 (as Megavier)||22||–||20|
|1994||"Tag am Meer"8||–||–||–|
|1995||"Sie ist weg"9||1||16||2|
|"Nur in deinem Kopf"11||81||–||–|
|"Buenos Dias Messias"16||87||–||–|
|"Michi Beck in Hell"||–||–||–|
|2000||"Tag am Meer (Unplugged)"8||67||–||–|
|2001||"Sie ist weg (Unplugged)"9||81||50||–|
|2007||"Ernten was wir säen"20||12||35||25|
|2008||"Yeah Yeah Yeah"||86||-||-|
|2010||"Gebt uns ruhig die Schuld (den Rest könnt ihr behalten)"23||10||22||10|
- Brown, Timothy S. “‘Keeping it Real’ in a Different ‘Hood: (African-) Americanization and Hip-hop in Germany.” In The Vinyl Ain’t Final: Hip Hop and the Globalization of Black Popular Culture, ed. by Dipannita Basu and Sidney J. Lemelle, 137-50. London
- Die Fantastischen Vier - Music on FoxyTunes Planet