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© Four Music Productions / Photo: Olaf Heine, Upfront

German Music:

Die Fantastischen Vier

Music style: Rap / Hip Hop
Band members: Michael B. "Smudo" Schmidt, Andreas "And.Ypsilon" Rieke, Michael "DeeJot Hausmarke" Beck, Thomas D.
Name means: "The Fantastic Four"

The band from Stuttgart started out in 1988 as the "Terminal Team". Under the influence of hip hop pioneers like Run DMC, the Beastie Boys, and Public Enemy, the "Terminal Team" sought to bring the new sound to Germany. Wearing baseball caps and penning lyrics in English, they were part of the early underground movement. Only during a trip to the US did Smudo and Thomas D. start rhyming in their mother tongue. When they returned home in the summer of 1989, they joined up with AnD.y and Hausmarke and took on the new identity of Die fantastischen Vier, a group that was ripe for adapting hip hop for a native audience.

It was the 1992 hit "Die da!?!" - widely recognized as the first German hip hop hit -- that sealed the group's fame. Their success was suspect to the underground hip hop movement, however, who found the group's music too pop-influenced to be true hip hop sound; in the USA where rap sound had had more time to mature, musicians rapped about racism, politics, and violence. Die Fanta 4 answered this criticism in 1993 with Die vierte Dimension, which demonstrated both the group's creativity and musical talent, and laid the rumors of them as the "sell-out" rap group to rest. By 1995, the hip hop scene had become more diversified and the quartet had established a firm place in it.

For a time, the solo projects of Thomas D. and Hausmarke and the band's creation of their own music label, FourMusic, kept them too occupied to focus on putting together new albums. After a four-year pause, in 1999 they put out 4:99. The LP was soon at number 1 in the German, Austrian, and Swiss charts, and the single "MfG" jumped to number two only two weeks after its release. A year later, on the occasion of their 10th anniversary, Die Fantas were invited to pay an Unplugged concert for MTV. They gathered in a stalactite cave in Sauerland with 22 musicians and created new arrangements of their songs to be played by a large orchestra. The Unplugged album went platinum in 2004.

The successful German hip hop band continues to put out hit after hit. Though group members have continued their work on outside projects, they have by no means have given up working together. 2004 witnessed the release of their sixth joint album, Viel. The prereleased single "Troy" made it into the top 10.

Die Fantastischen Vier CDs

Fornika (2007) | LISTEN
Buy CD at AMAZON  
Best of 1990-2005 (2005) | 2 CDs | LISTEN
Buy CD at AMAZON  

Viel (2004) || LISTEN
TRACKS: 1.Auf geht's | 2.Bring it Back | 3.Geboren | 4.Jede Generation | 5.Pipis und Popos | 6.Leben zu zweit | 7.Sommerregen | 8.Ewig | 9.Keine Lösung | 10.Hey! | 11.Mein Schwert | 12.Ruf die Polizei | 13.Troy | 14.Viel
Buy CD at AMAZON  

Live in Stuttgart (2003) || LISTEN
Buy CD at AMAZON  

Unplugged (2000) || LISTEN
Buy CD at AMAZON  

4:99 (1999) || LISTEN | SINGLE: MfG - The song entered the singles charts at #2 and stayed there for five weeks.
Buy CD at AMAZON  

Live und direkt (1996) || LISTEN
Buy CD at AMAZON  

Lauschgift (1995)|| LISTEN | SINGLE: Sie ist weg - Reached #1 in the singles charts and remained in the top 10 for 11 weeks.
Buy CD at AMAZON  

MegaVier (1994) || LISTEN
Buy CD at AMAZON  

Die vierte Dimension (1993) | LISTEN
Buy CD at AMAZON  

Vier gewinnt (1992) || LISTEN | SINGLE: Die da!?! - Breakthrough hit for the Fanta 4. The song made it to #2 in the German singles charts and remained in the top 10 for 15 weeks.
Buy CD at AMAZON  

Jetzt geht's ab (1991) || LISTEN
Buy CD at AMAZON  


Interesting Facts About Die Fantastischen Vier
• Die Fantastischen Vier were the first successful German hip hop band.

• The Fanta 4 were the second ever German musicians to give an MTV-Unplugged concert.

• They taped 26 episodes of an anarchistic clip show for TV that shared the title of their album Die vierte Dimension. The show ran weekly on the Premiere channel in 1993/94.

• In 1996, they started their own label called Four Music that specializes in producing soul, hip hop, and electronic music. The label now puts out all of Fanta 4's albums and also promotes such artists as Gentleman and Freundeskreis.

Books About Die Fantastischen Vier

Die letzte Besatzermusik, by Ralf Niemczyk (1999) [in German] | 2 sample chapters are available free online from Smudo's website, the chapters Smudo: Gerlingen und GIs and Bär: Das fünfte Bandmitglied. | Search for book at AMAZON | Find book at alibris

Die Fantastischen Vier Weblinks

Die Fantastischen Vier [German] - Official band webpage
Die Fantastischen Vier Quiz [German] - How much do you know about the Fanta 4? Even if you don't know any German, you might be able to make sense of this quiz, especially if you're a fan ... Give it a try!
Smudo's Seiten [German] - Band member Smudo's own webpage.
Thomas [German] - Thomas D.'s fan webpage.

BACK to INDEX of Contemporary German Music Artists


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