German hip hop groups and rappers like K.I.Z. and Cro are currently gracing the top of the German language music charts. However, it was bands like Die Fantastischen Vier that paved the way. But one should not talk about the group in the past tense. These guys haven’t hung up their microphones just yet. The four member group have had big hits that are sure to catch your ear. And what better way to practice your German skills? Let’s get to know Die Fantastischen Vier better with this month’s German music feature.
The band was founded during the mid-1980s in Stuttgart. Andreas Rieke (aka And.Ypsilon) and Michael Schmidt (aka Smudo) started the group as Terminal Team. By the end of the decade the pair were joined by Michi Beck and Thomas D. And so Die Fantastischen Vier were born.
The quartet released their debut Jetzt geht’s ab in 1991. The record peaked at 22 in the German charts. But the following year, the band exploded with 4 gewinnt. The album’s first single was “Die da!?!” The track is shamelessly catchy and cheeky. As a result, it flew to the top of the German, Austrian and Swiss charts. In total, Die Fantastischen Vier have released nine full-length studio albums and seven live albums. Their music as well as their videos have a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor while still making a larger point. Take, for example, the track “Mfg” (short for Mit freundlichen Grüßen or “with friendly greetings”) from 1999’s 4:99. The track is almost completely abbreviations from the German soccer federation (DFB) to German TV channel AFD to clothing brand H&M.
Fans of The Voice of Germany may already be familiar with the group. Beck and Smudo are coaches on the show, having served for two seasons. Plus they will return for the next round of the show this year. Last year, the band released Vier und Jetzt: Best Of 1990-2015, a greatest hits album. The group’s last studio album was 2014’s Rekord.
Get to know Die Fanta Vier, as they’re called, better and give their music a spin. Practice your German skills, too! Check out the band’s hit singles “Die da!?!,” “Sie ist weg,” “Mfg.”
Looking for another Ohrwurm to help you learn German? Check out previously featured musicians and bands!
Photo by Robert Grischek, from the band’s official Facebook page.