The Tunnel, as you’ll recall (?), was a famously wild Manhattan nightclub that played host to raucous, dangerous, and thus permanently legendary Sunday-night hip-hop parties, hosted primarily by the shy, retiring Funkmaster Flex and generating practically their own personal cache of hit songs, as warm-up DJ Cipha Sounds now fondly recalls:
The crowd? “The thugs, the drug dealers, the fucking jail dudes. Even the security guards were hustlers,” says Ciph. The mood? “It wasn’t a ‘dance’ club, people weren’t really dancing,” he says. “But records would just make people go crazy, hands in the sky, jumping.” And the music? “The records you would not hear at any other club because they were too hard,” says Ciph. “Street records, which would usually just be album cuts, became their own genre.”
Thus goes the intro to Complex‘s rundown of the 75 Best Tunnel Bangers, all 75 streaming (though each on its own individual page, in classic click-bait style). Thus far Canibus’ “2nd Round K.O.,” a remnant of his epic clash with L.L. Cool J, has given me particular pause. For the record, when Diddy was asked to name his personal favorite Tunnel Banger during his 92Y Tribeca chat last week, his immediate answer was the Jungle Brothers’ “J. Beez Comin’ Through.” Not sure if that even makes this list, as I’ve still got a lotta clickin’ to do.