Die Fantastischen Vier
Die Fantastischen Vier (aka Fanta 4) pretty much started the German hip-hop scene about 18 years ago in Stuttgart. Rapping in German they steer clear of all the cliches of US ‘gangstas’ such as guns n’ hos.
After starting off in the late eighties in what was then West Germany they built up a following and gained enough confidence to appear on an early compilation of emerging Kraut-hop called ‘krauts with attitude’. Around this time, according to the band’s official website, they even got a mention in a 1993 UK Guardian article about German hip-hop.
They now concentrate on German-speaking, feel-good tunes with some very Brit-like observational asides dotted about. Even when they’re self-indulgent as on ‘Hausmeister Thomas D’ (a tribute to one of the band) or FrÃ¼hstÃ¼ck (Breakfast) they can be quite inventive.
Best Of 1990 – 2005
Home-grown German hip-hop of the highest quality. Standout tracks: ‘Die Da’, ‘Lass Die Sonne Rein’, ‘Hausmeister Thomas D’, ‘sie ist weg’ (She’s gone), ‘Nur In Deinem Kopf’ (Only In your Head).
The fabled German lack of humour is lacking on the album I’ve shown on the right too: my special edition of the album comes with — shock — a cassette helpfully labelled ‘Alter Scheiss’. It contains discarded tracks from the late eighties (incl. early stuff in English) and I’ve been unable to listen to it as I no longer posess the technology. Still it may come in handy for those annoying moments when you rent a van from some dodgy small-ad and instead of a CD player there’s an ageing, music-destroying, tape-deck in it.
I’ve come to them late but the best-of on the right is a double album and a pretty comprehensive intro to one of Germany’s best-loved bands.