Manda: I think rap is still great, but it’s more homogenized now. It’s on the radio all day, it’s immersed in pop culture. [During the time of the Tunnel] it was still underground. Even though Bad Boy was mainstream, the lifestyle was new.
Rosenblum: People waited all week long until Sunday to go to Mecca, to go to the Tunnel. It was something to look forward to. Hip-hop is pop music now, it’s part of mainstream culture and it’s available everywhere.
Gatien: The Tunnel had a vibe like nothing Iʼve ever seen before. It was the kind of night where almost nobody left alone. There was so much networking, whether it was business networking, or people networking, or girl-boy networking, whatever. So much talent came through, so many deals were made. What other night in New York can people still reminisce about almost 15 years later?
The Tunnel symbolized my entering into hip-hop. That was the last era of real hip-hop, when performing at a club made you official.
Flex: LIV, in Miami, is built on the Tunnel format.
Rosenblum: Mecca started hip-hop on Sundays in America—it didn’t exist before. But almost 20 years later, look at what it is—LIV on Sunday is the ultimate result of that.
Cipha: Bottle service killed the clubs in New York. It changed so much after that. I hate clubs now. I hate them with a passion. They’re tiny, and they’re fucking filled with tables and bottles.
Beck: It was a fun place to be. It was exciting, it was dangerous. As far as nightclubbing, you were part of a legacy, because I doubt there will ever be another Tunnel. Anyone who would let that happen is absolutely foolish.
Gatien: I donʼt see the possibility of ever doing a large event again, at least in Manhattan. Whatʼs developed over the years is zero tolerance for any kind of illegal activity that may occur in a nightclub. But if it happens in Madison Square Garden or almost anywhere else, thereʼs an accepted tolerance that if you get 2,000 people together, stuff happens. The standard that the powers that be—specifically police enforcement—hold clubs to is just unobtainable. Nobody is responsible for everybodyʼs behavior, except in a nightclub.
DMX: The Tunnel symbolized my entering into hip-hop. That was the last era of real hip-hop, when performing at a club made you official. I miss hip-hop.
Flex: Sometimes I like the strip-club parties, sometimes they’re boring. But that’s where the game is at now. It might change again.
Rosenblum: I miss all kinds of kinds of things from back then—I miss Biggie, I miss the people I worked with. But I don’t believe that you wallow in the past. People say, “Oh, nightlife is not like it used to be.” That’s the most boring conversation you can have. I hate when people come up to me in the club and have this conversation. I’m like, “Shoot me, because now you’re really ruining nightlife, tonight.” Wherever you are, whatever the era is, whatever the party is, make it the most fun you can.
Juvenile: I feel good knowing that I had an opportunity to rap on a stage where some of my idols did shows. When I walked in, I knew the history; I knew it was a train station turned into a club, and I knew it had a lot to do with hip-hop. It was the biggest club in hip-hop history—I don’t think you could put any club in front of the Tunnel.