Fettes Brot (German pronunciation: [fts bot]) is a German hip hop group founded in 1992.
Fettes Brot is German for fat bread. "Fett" is a German slang term for "excellent" and brot is slang for "hash". The band took the name from a fan who called them "Fettes Brot" after an early gig, which was probably meant as a compliment, but the members considered it so bizarre that they took it as the name for their new group. Fettes Brot's longevity has meant that it is sometimes referred to as "Hamburg's hip-hop-dinosaurs" by its members.
Success with Nordisch by Nature and Jein
When the group Poets of Peeze disbanded in 1992, its members Dokter Renz (Martin Vandreier né Schrader) and Tobi Tobsen together with König (king) Boris (Boris Lauterbach), Schiffmeister (Björn Warns) and Mighty founded the band Fettes Brot. The Schmidt brothers (Tobi & Mighty) left the newly founded band early on, to pursue other projects, so the band released their first album, the EP Mitschnacker on Yo Mama Records, as a trio. Prior to Mitschnacker the songs Schwarzbrot- Weißbrot (Blackbread - Whitebread) and Schule der Gewalt (School of Violence) appeared on the sampler, Endzeit 93, from the Independent record label Wilde Welt Records.
Commercial success first came with the single Nordisch by Nature ("Nordic by Nature") and its album. The song begins with the sound of a foghorn and is performed in parts in "Hamburger Platt" (Hamburg Low) north German dialect, a strong Low German accent, and Danish (perhaps a paean to the Danish minority in the north German state of Schleswig-Holstein), which makes the song something of an anthem for persons from Northern Germany. The single remained in the German charts for a full month and the band was determined not to let this commercial success make them become something like a one hit wonder. The group demonstrated their technical maturity with their first LP Auf einem Auge blöd ("Stupid on one eye", a parody of the phrase Auf einem Auge blind meaning "Blind in one eye"), which boasts versatile and humorous lyrics. The narrated stories and interwoven lines of their rapping were received very well.
A year later Fettes Brot released their second biggest commercial hit and quasi-anthem Jein (a portmanteau of Ja and Nein, meaning both "Yes" and "No"). The main line of the song's chorus asks the sticky question: Soll ich's wirklich machen oder lass ich's lieber sein? ("Should I really do it or should I let it go?") and established a strong fanbase in German speaking countries. Further singles from the following album Außen Top Hits, innen Geschmack (a play on a popular commercial jingle for the aluminum foil Toppits: "Außen Toppits - innen Geschmack" (Toppits on the outside - flavor within) where the like-sounding Album title means "Top hits on the outside - flavor within") were just as successful. The rapper Dendemann (then a member of the Arme Ritter, meaning "Poor Knights" but also "French toast") had his first introduction to the mainstream in his collaboration track, Wildwechsel, also with Max Herre, Blumentopf, Spax (German) and Der Tobi & das Bo (German) which became representative of these artists. Fettes Brot were at this time very active in other areas, for instance, they created a unique radio transmission called Forellentee for Radio Fritz (German).
After the end of 1998, with the single Können diese Augen lügen? ("Can these Eyes Lie?") and its corresponding album Fettes Brot lässt grüßen ("Fettes Brot Says Hello") 1999, it was somewhat quiet for the Trio. Many purists voiced criticism as the band explored new paths, no longer focussed on pure Hip Hop music style. Viele Wege führen nach Rom ("Many Roads Lead to Rome") and Lieblingslied ("Favourite Song" (and semantically synonymous to "Darlings's Song")) were successful as a combined single which turned out to become a hit even bigger than both previous albums. With the cooperation of James Last, the three said goodbye to writing tunes in 1999, and embarked on a creative pause. This pause was relieved for their fans with the publishing of an anthology of B-sides, remixes, and some exclusive material. Beginner, and Smudo of the Fantastischen Vier (Fantastic Four) as well as Der Tobi & Das Bo made personal contributions on this anthology. Furthermore, the widely successful single Da draußen ("Out there") was released for collectors in 2000.
After three years, in 2001, the fourth regular Fettes Brot album was released. The trio marketed a small comeback with the title Demotape using new alternative pseudonyms. The hit singles Schwule Mädchen and The Grosser could not be clearly categorized into a musical style. Then against this they released a collaboration with Skunk Funk (German) the pure Hip Hop single Fast 30 ("Almost 30"). Only a year later, in early 2002 they released their Greatest Hits Compilation Amnesie ("Amnesia") and a like-named DVD with extra short films. Three more singles appeared, beginning in 2002 with Welthit ("World Hit"), found on their Greatest Hits CD. In 2003 they released the Rio Reiser cover Ich bin müde ("I Am Tired"), written by Reiser and Wolfgang Michels (German) for Michels' 1983 album Keine Probleme ("No Problems"), which received heavy rotation on television. They made the collaboration Tanzverbot ("Dancing Prohibition") available as a legal MP3 download (as well as a limited CD and Vinyl run), as part of the Hamburg Bambule (German) protest alongside Bela B. (German) against the Hamburg senator Ronald Schill.
Comeback and their own record label
In 2004, they founded their own record label, Fettes Brot Schallplatten GmbH (Fettes Brot Records).
With their Comeback! of 2005, Fettes Brot won second place in the Bundesvision Song Contest with the Song Emanuela. A few days later on Valentines day this single went up to third place on the singles charts. On May 21, 2005 their most successful album to date appeared, Am Wasser gebaut ("Built by the water", but also a term describing a very emotional person who cries easily). This was not so much a rap album like their previous ones, as it was more of a soul record.
The second single from Am Wasser gebaut was An Tagen wie diesen ("On days like this"), working with Pascal Finkenauer (German). Its video, in which Finkenauer and Dj exel. Pauly (German) appear, depicts the activities of an ordinary day. It is ordinary, except armoured tanks drive through the streets as if they were cars, and the people take little notice of them.
On October 6, 2005, the three rappers for the first time won the Comet Award (German) twice at once. They won both the category for "Best Band" and for "Best Song" (Emanuela). They were also nominated for "Best Video" and "Most Successful Download" (Emanuela).
On December 22, 2005, the Fettes Brot gave the largest concert of their careers at the Color Line Arena in Hamburg for over 13,000 people. The concert was televised by MTV and numerous radio stations (e.g. Radio Fritz) broadcast it live.
Fettes Brot has sometimes used the pseudonym D.O.C.H.! ("doch" is a German word meaning "yet", "to the contrary", and "but", amongst other things - most often, though, it means an emphatic, "damn right!" or "oh yes!") to publish songs which would not be suitable for the Hip Hop genre (compare Sascha Schmitz's alias, Dick Brave). This began with a big PR gag: in January 2006, Fettes Brot announced that they had signed the "Power pop" band D.O.C.H.! to their label. The band was to consist of three 17-year-old Berliners named Boy, Paolo, and Typ. News followed promising a first single and a Hungarian tour in April, and the release of an album in September. As the single Was in der Zeitung steht ("What's in the news") hit radio and television for the first time, a distinct similarity to the B-side of the An Tagen wie diesen single was noticed. (Doktor Renz had sung both songs.) After this, fans began to suspect the photos on the band's website were counterfeit. An announcement was made on MTV's TRL program, May 9, that the three members of D.O.C.H.! had accused Fettes Brot of having stolen their song (but the announcement was definitely made up by Fettes Brot).
"Bette Frost" and "Strom und Drang"
In 2006, Fettes Brot released a single named Fussball ist immer noch wichtig ("Soccer is still important") for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but because of the German Soccer Boom (Germany made it much farther than most Germans expected), not many people recognize this song. They also released 'Falsche Entscheidung' in 2006 for the World Cup, with a video featuring the retired footballers Boris Amadeus and Stefan Bach. Luckily they were huge fans of the band and so appeared without any fees. After extensive touring in 2005 and 2006, Fettes Brot worked in 2007 on a new Album. In December, they held several small secret concerts under the name "Bette Frost" and played the new songs. On January 1, 2008 they unveiled the new single Bettina, zieh dir bitte etwas an ("Bettina, please put on some clothes!"), but at the time, the song was known as Bettina, pack deine Brüste ein ("Bettina, tuck your boobs away"), since Fettes Brot had changed it at the last minute. The song is about the German model Bettina Ballhaus, who at this time hosted a late night quiz show, and with every question answered correctly, she took some of her clothes off. She also happened to unveil her breasts, hence the title of the song. However, before the single came out, Bettina Ballhaus left the show. Fettes Brot released this single on February 15, 2008. They also have stopped making soul music and have gone back to the "old" Fettes Brot, making Partysongs and Rap.
Fettes Brot released their new album Strom und Drang ("Electricity and Stress") in March 2008. The album's name alludes to a 19th-century epoch of German art and literature, called Sturm und Drang.
- Boris Lauterbach (aka König Boris, Kay Bee Baby, Rock'n'Roll Coseng, Long Leg Lauterbach)
- Martin Vandreier né Schrader (aka Dokter Renz, Rektor Donz, Roktor Denz, Speedy Konsalik, Rostige Pforte, Hektor Ronz)
- Björn Warns (aka Björn Beton, Schiffmeister, Flash Müller, Papa Geil)
Björn Warns took the name Schiffmeister from the classic computer game Pirates!. In that game when his pirate ship suffered a mutiny, an announcement came up starting with the English words "Shipmaster Warns: ...". The German language does not have a direct equivalent for "Shipmaster" ("Kapitän" is used instead, like the English "Captain"), but when Warns translated it he made up the word "Schiffmeister". Schiffmeister also means "pissmaster" in German.
- 1995 Auf einem Auge blöd ("Stupid in one eye") GER#29,SWI#22
- 1996 Außen Top Hits, innen Geschmack ("Top Hits Outside, Taste Within" (pun on a commercial aired in Germany)) GER#10,AUT#21,SWI#14
- 1998 Fettes Brot lässt grüßen ("Fettes Brot Send Their Regards") GER#9,AUT#30,SWI#27
- 2001 Demotape GER#9,AUT#30,SWI#27
- 2005 Am Wasser gebaut ("Built On The Water") GER#4,AUT#9,SWI#23
- 2008 - Strom und Drang ("Electricity and Stress") GER#3,AUT#9,SWI#14
- 2013 - 3 is ne Party ("3 is a Party") GER#3,AUT#20,SWI#19
- 2000 Fettes Brot für die Welt ("Fat Bread For The World") (Compiled with B-Sides, rare and unpublished pieces, and three new songs.) GER#10,AUT#32,SWI#55
- 2002 Amnesie (with the DVD, all singles up to 2002 except Gangsta Rap) GER#41
- 2007 - Strandgut (Flotsam & Jetsam)
- 2010 - Fettes GER: #4
- 2010 - Brot GER: #4
- 1994 Definition von Fett ("Definition of fat")
- 1995 Männer ("Men")
- 1995 Nordisch by Nature ("Northern by Nature") GER #17
- 1995 Gangsta Rap (only on vinyl)
- 1996 Jein (Portmanteau of "Yes" and "No") GER#10, SWI#7
- 1996 Mal sehen ("We'll see") GER#68,SWI#23
- 1997 Silberfische in meinem Bett ("Silverfish in my bed")
- 1997 Sekt oder Selters ("Sparkling wine, or seltzer") GER#81
- 1997 Lieblingslied ("Favourite song") GER#81
- 1998 Viele Wege führen nach Rom ("Many roads lead to Rome") GER#96
- 1998 Können diese Augen lügen? ("Can these eyes lie?") GER#100
- 1999 Ruf mich an ("Call me") (with James Last) GER#53,SWI#39
- 2000 Da draußen ("There, outside"/"Out there") GER#35, SWI#58
- 2001 Schwule Mädchen ("Gay girls") GER#9, AUS#11, SWI#74
- 2001 Fast 30 ("Almost 30") (with Skunk Funk)
- 2001 The Grosser ("The greater") GER#26, AUS#49, SWI#75
- 2002 Welthit ("World hit") GER#75
- 2003 Tanzverbot (Schill to Hell) ("Dance ban") (with Bela B.)
- 2003 Ich bin müde ("I'm tired") (Cover of Wolfgang Michels and Rio Reiser) GER#87
- 2005 Emanuela GER#3, AUS#1, SWI#20
- 2005 An Tagen wie diesen("On days like these") (with Pascal Finkenauer) GER#9, AUS#10, SWI#69
- 2006 Soll das alles sein ("Is this supposed to be it") GER#40, AUS#54
- 2006 Was in der Zeitung Steht ("What The Newspaper Reads") (under the nickname "D.O.C.H")
- 2006 Fußball ist immer noch wichtig ("Soccer is still important") (with Bela B., Marcus Wiebusch of Kettcar and Carsten Friedrichs of Superpunk) GER#61
- 2008 Bettina, zieh dir bitte etwas an! ("Bettina, please put on some clothes!") GER#3, AUS#14, SWI#43
- 2008 Erdbeben ("Earthquake/s") GER#28, AUS#65
- 2008 Ich Lass Dich Nicht Los (I won't let you go) GER#55
- 2008 - Das allererste Mal (The very first time)
- 2010 - Jein (2010 live) (Portmanteau of "Yes" and "No") GER#36
- 2010 - Kontrolle (live) GER#90
- 2010 - Falsche Entscheidung(live)
- 2010 - Amsterdam GER#51
- 2013 - Kuss Kuss Kuss (Kiss Kiss Kiss) GER#35
- 2013 - Echo GER#12
- 2014 - Für immer immer (Forever always) GER#36
- 1994 Mitschnacker (Northern German slang for "Kidnapper", but also "chatting guy")
- 2002 Amnesie (Archive DVD with music videos and other Material, supplementary CD with all singles except Gangsta Rap.)
- 1993 - Endzeit 93 ("Final hour 93") (two songs)
- ECHO 1996 als "Erfolgreichste deutsche Nachwuchsband" (most successful new German band)
- Comet 2005 for "Beste Band" (Best Band) and for "Besten Song" (Best Song) ("Emanuela")
- GQ Man of the Year 2005 as "Beste Musiker" (Best Musician)
- Eins Live Krone 2005 for "Beste Single" (Best Single) ("Emanuela")
- Gold Record for "Am Wasser gebaut" (Germany) and "Emanuela" (Germany and Austria)
- ECHO 2006 for best "Hip-Hop/R&B national" Act
- Bravo Otto Gold 2006 for best "Hip-Hop national" Act
- MTV Europe Music Awards 2008 Best German Act
- 1995 Klasse von '95 (Class of '95) with Main Concept, Massive Töne, ZM Jay, MC René, F.A.B., Der Tobi & Das Bo
- 1996 Sven, Sven & Sven live Inkognito-Club-Tour, November
- 1996/97 Spiel mir das Lied vom Brot (Play for me the song of bread) with Blumentopf, Massive Töne
- 1998 Harte Tour '98 (Hard Tour '98) with Eins Zwo und DJ I.L.L. Will
- 2001 Schlechtwetterfront (Bad Weather Front) with DJ Pauly & Skunk Funk
- 2003 Gute Laune Hölle (Good Mood Hell) (only in Theaters) with Die Herren
- 2003 Jenseits der Grenze des Zumutbaren (Beyond The Reasonable Limit) support for Die Ärzte with Die Herren
- 2005 Am Wasser gebaut Part 1 with Pascal Finkenauer, Emel & J-Luv, Opener: Fiva MC & DJ Radrum
- 2005 Am Wasser gebaut Part 2 with Pascal Finkenauer, Emel & Patrick Gwada, no opener
- 2008 - Strom und Drang Part 1 - with eight musicians (drums, bass, 2 guitars, keys, DJ, tp, tb)
Opener: Superpunk, Die Türen, 1000 Robota, Johanna Zeul, Bernadettte La Hengst
- 2008 - Strom und Drang Part 2 - with eight musicians (drums, bass, 2 guitars, keys, DJ, tp, tb)
Opener: Johanna Zeul, Vincent Van Gogo
- 2010 - "Fettes/Brot Tour - with band (drums, bass, 2 guitars, keys, DJ, tp, tb)
Opener: Die Orsons, Kraftklub, Jarle Bernhoft
- Fettes Brot Biography
- Fettes Brot homepage (German)
- DieFalschenLeute.de Fettes Brot Community
- Nuscheltiere.de - Fettes Brot fanpage (German)
- Definition-von-Fett.de - Fettes Brot fanpage (German)
- Fettes Brot ist doof - Fettes Brot Fanpage (German)
- This article incorporates information from the revision as of July 30, 2006 of the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.