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German Music:

Massive Töne

Music style: Hip hop
Band members: Jean-Christoph "Showi" Ritter (vocals), João "Ju" dos Santos (vocals), Alexander "Alex" Scheffel a.k.a. DJ 5ter Ton (DJ), Wasi Ntuanoglu
Name means: "Massive sounds"

One of Germany's first hip hop groups, Massive Töne was founded in 1991 in Stuttgart. Showi, Ju, Alex, and Wasi started out rapping in the city streets -- first the texts of their idols and soon thereafter their own rap lyrics. They performed in clubs, parties, and at local concerts. They earned respect and mutual support for their work in the Stuttgart Kolchose cooperative, which they co-founded in 1993. Under the motto "Gemeinsam sind wir stärker" ("Together we are stronger"), the organization assembled rappers, graffiti artists, breakdancers, and DJs who made music together and organized their own concerts, making Stuttgart the avant-garde center of German hip hop in the mid-90s.

In the next few years, Massive Töne was making appearances at all the major German hip hop events and was working together with such musical acts as Fettes Brot, Freudeskreis, Absolute Beginner, and Afrob. Their debut album Kopfnicker, which appeared in 1996, launched the rappers into the spotlight. They made guest appearances with rappers of the likes of Missy Elliott, 50 Cent, and MC Lyte. Massive Töne's first LP is still considered a German rap classic.

The band moved to a major record label, Eastwest, in 1998 and produced the album Überfall (1999). The album was a great success. It reached the Top 10 in the German LP charts, and the music video of the song "Rapgame," produced in conjunction with US-rapper Blahzay Blahzay, could be seen on the German music TV channel Viva around the clock. The LP sold more copies than any German hip hop album before it.

Following the extraordinary success of Überfall, Wasi left the group in 2000 -- officially due to artistic differences. However, the trio continued under their own newly founded label, Kopfnicker Records. Their next album MT3 (2002) contained songs that are stylistically quite varied, from pure head-banging party music to songs tinged with social criticism. The single "Cruisin" reached Number 5 in the German singles charts, and the album also made it into the Top 10.

Nonetheless, the new blend of music left fans feeling as if the band was trying to find itself, presumably at least in part due to Wasi's departure. The title of the next album, Zurück in die Zukunft (2005), perhaps makes reference to that very process. In an explanation of the title, the band professed to recognize that sometimes it's necessary to take a step backwards in order to move two steps forward. And based on reviews of the latest album, that's exactly what the trio has done. Zurück in die Zukunft offers a continuation of the varied work done in MT3 rather than a remixing of their hip hop roots.

The group remains -- alongside Fettes Brot and Freundeskreis -- one of Germany's best-known hip hop bands.

Massive Töne CDs

Zurück in die Zukunft (2005) | LISTEN
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MT3 (2002) || LISTEN
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Überfall (1999) || LISTEN
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Kopfnicker (1996)
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Massive Töne Weblinks

Massive Töne [German] - Official webpage
"Traumreise" [German] - Streaming video of the rappers performing their song "Traumreise"

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