Die Fantastischen Vier

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Die Fantastischen Vier
Origin Stuttgart, Germany
Genres German hip hop, Pop rap
Years active 1986 (1989) – present
Labels Four Music, Sony BMG
Website Official website
Members Michael Beck
Thomas Dürr
Michael B. Schmidt
Andreas Rieke

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.[1]

History[edit]

Die Fantastischen Vier at their "Heimspiel" ("Home Match") gig in 2009.

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.

Thomas D, Smudo and And.Ypsilon at the IAA interviewed by Janin Reinhardt.

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," [1] 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.[2]

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.

At the 1996 Popkomm in Cologne, Die Fantastischen Vier announced the establishment of their label, Four Music. Headquarters were in Stuttgart, but were later moved to Berlin-Kreuzberg.

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.

Michael Beck (2010)

On April 7, 2007, Fornika was released, preceded by the single "Ernten was wir säen" (Reap what we sow).

Their song "Ernten was wir säen" was released as a download for Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock in December 2007 and was recently covered by Oomph!.

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.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Title Chart positions
Germany Austria Switzerland
1991 Jetzt geht's ab! 22
1992 4 Gewinnt 3 3 3
1993 Die 4. Dimension 14 23 27
1994 Megavier 21
1995 Lauschgift 2 10 5
1996 Live und direkt 17 30
1999 4:99 1 1 1
2000 MTV Unplugged 6 7 18
2003 Live in Stuttgart 81 50
2004 Viel 2 2 4
2005 Viel live 46
Best of 1990-2005 26 32 29
2007 Fornika 1 4 2
2009 Heimspiel 12 54 64
2010 Für Dich Immer Noch Fanta Sie 1 2 1
2014 Rekord 1 4 2

Singles[edit]

Year Title Chart positions
Germany Austria Switzerland
1991 "Mikrofonprofessor"1
"Hausmeister Thomas D."2
1992 "Die da"3 2 1 1
"Frohes Fest"4 15 20
"Hausmeister Thomas D. '92"2
1993 "Saft"5 19 38
"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
1996 "Populär"10 41 39
"Nur in deinem Kopf"11 81
"Raus"12 56 38
1997 "Der Picknicker"13 42
1999 "MfG"14 2 2 2
"Le Smou"15 68
"Buenos Dias Messias"16 87
"Michi Beck in Hell"
2000 "Tag am Meer (Unplugged)"8 67
2001 "Sie ist weg (Unplugged)"9 81 50
2004 "Troy"17 9 11 22
"Sommerregen"18 44 66 74
"Geboren"19 48 48
2007 "Ernten was wir säen"20 12 35 25
"Einfach sein"21 11 13 22
"Ichisichisichisich"22 45 - -
2008 "Yeah Yeah Yeah" 86 - -
2010 "Gebt uns ruhig die Schuld (den Rest könnt ihr behalten)"23 10 22 10
"Danke"24 36 [3] 57 56
2014 "25" 15 53 -
"Und los"25 53 71
Title translations:
  1. "Microphone Professor"
  1. "Janitor Thomas D." (Thomas D.'s "title" of Hausmeister is also something of a play on words, as the literal meaning of the fragments Haus("house") and Meister("master") (alluding to house music) is also implied)
  1. "Her" or "This one over there" ("Die" describing a feminine grammatical gender implies the fact that the group is talking about a female person.)
  1. "Merry Celebration" (literally); "Merry Christmas" (actual meaning)
  1. "Juice"
  1. "Let the Sun come in" (literally); "Let the sunshine in" (actual meaning)
  1. "Too Horny for this World" (literally); "Too Hot for this World" (actual slang meaning)
  1. "Day at the ocean" or "Day at the seaside"
  1. "She Is Gone"
  1. "Popular"
  1. "Only in your Head"
  1. "Get Out"
  1. "The Picnicker"
  1. ("MfG" is the official German abbreviation for "Mit freundlichen Grüßen" which means "With Best Regards")
  1. ("Le" is a masculine grammatical gender in French language and implies the fact that "Smou" is a male person.)
  1. "Buenos Dias Messiah!" ("¡Buenos Días!" is the Spanish expression for "Good Morning!")
  1. (Though being spelled "Troy", the song's lyrics make clear that the word (even in just the sentence where it is used) is meant to be a homophone to German "treu" which means "loyal" and "faithful". They, however, pronounce it rather like the English word.)
  1. "Summer Rain"
  1. "Born"
  1. "Reap What We Sow"
  1. "Be Easy" or "Just Be" (literally); The chorus of the song is "Everything could be so simple"
  1. "IisIisIisI" (read as "I is I is I is I"; "is" is the nonstandard term for the 3. person form of the German verb "sein", which means "to be". Connected to "Ich" = "I" there is a volitional grammatical incorrectness)
  1. "Just put the blame on us (but keep the rest for yourselves)"
  1. "Thank you"
  1. "And go"

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b 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
  2. ^ Die Fantastischen Vier - Music on FoxyTunes Planet
  3. ^ http://www.gfk-entertainment.com/news/platz-eins-der-charts-linkin-park-sind-zurueck.html

External links[edit]