Came across Complex Magazine’s feature on the 75 Greatest Tunnel Bangers, as narrated by DJ extraordinaire Cipha Sounds. It was an awesome experience, going through all 75 of these Tunnel hits.
I know for a fact that Complex, just like any other mag out, are a little bit hit-and-miss with their features, but this one’s on point. Awesome. Gave me goosebumps. I may be far from a Brooklynite, let alone an old skool hip-hop head, but I gotta tell ya: I grew up with some of these joints.
At first I was just listening to Puffy’s No Way Out album. I had to have it just cause “I’ll be Missing You” was No. 1. But it went beyond that. It got me listening to Biggie, Busta, LOX… it was my intro to rap.
It made me listen to hip-hop radio (the only local rap radio at the time was Power 108). Made me cop bootleg CD’s and back issues of The Source & XXL, which in turn made me spend my allowance on Sean John and Fubu joints (heads should remember Boboli at Glorietta 2).
And then, the Tunnel Bangers. Never knew it was called that. Heck, I never even knew the Tunnel itself. But looking at those 70-deep list, and I found some joints that I grew up listening to.
Of course, I know all the Bad Boy/Biggie stuff, even Ja Rule‘s “Holla Holla”. Memphis Bleek‘s “My Mind Right” was the joint, as I was riding Jay-Z‘s whole Roc-a-Fella thing in 1999.
Later on, as I was maturing enough to dig on much older, more obscure tracks, I came across some gems from Mobb Deep, N.O.R.E, as well as other cats on the list. I could go on and on.
Come to think of it, I never thought I’d be able to appreciate these bangers given my age (I was 14-15), location (Manila, people here think that rap is for peasants) and access to proper rap tracks (no radio, no video, no internet. Just bootlegs and pirate stations).
But I am blessed to know, at a young age, my kind of music. And while I now have a vast knowledge and taste in different genres, I always come back to these joints from time to time. Thank God there’s the internet and the iPod.