Die Fantastischen Vier, also known as Fanta 4, is a German hip hop group from Stuttgart, Germany, named after the German title of Marvel's Fantastic Four. The members are Smudo (Michael Bernd Schmidt), And.Ypsilon (Andreas Rieke), Thomas D (Thomas Dürr), also dubbed "Hausmeister" (janitor), and Dee Jot Hausmarke (Michi Beck). They were, together with Advanced Chemistry, among the first groups to rap in the German language.
n 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 (literally: "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 United States 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 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.
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 band's early days, when they were still called "Terminal Team" and rapped in English.
On 7 April 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.
1991 Jetzt geht's ab!
1992 4 Gewinnt
1993 Die 4. Dimension
1996 Live und direkt
2000 MTV Unplugged
2003 Live in Stuttgart
2005 Viel live
2005 Best of 1990-2005
2010 Für Dich Immer Noch Fanta Sie
2015 Vier und Jetzt: Best Of 1990-2015
Sources: Last.fm, Wikipedia
Die Fantastischen Vier in the news
|Songs by Die Fantastischen Vier|