4. David Mancuso
Funkiest Jam: Manu Dibango "Soul Makossa"
It's crazy to think that the entirety of New York City club culture in the 1970s was born out of a bearded white man's apartment.
David Mancuso's parties were "by invitation only" and hosted in his Greenwich Village apartment affectionately known as "The Loft." Creating the framework of the modern dance club, Mancuso's parties came about from his love of playing records for his friends. An accomplished DJ, Mancuso rejected traditional tactics like beat matching, in favor of playing songs in full through audiophile-quality speaker systems. (Shouts to Klipsch and Mark Levinson "Class-A" Amplifiers.) As with anything fun, The Man tried to shut him down, claiming he needed a "Cabaret License." However, David didn't sell food or drinks at his parties. Since the parties were both underground and legal, many famous private Discotheques of the '70s and '80s modeled themselves off of The Loft's blueprint.
The Loft also served as headquarters for the New York Record Pool, allowing DJs from other venues to share and break records in their clubs. Ever the passionate DJ, Mancuso made a habit of taking unconventional records and breaking them, including "Soul Makossa" by Manu Dibango. Every major DJ, from Larry Levan to Frankie Knuckles, and the entire history of disco and house, owes its origin and success to The Loft. An entire aspect of hip-hop and dance culture was able to flourishâ€”all because a dude loved funky music and sharing it with his friends.