I Never Like My Favorite Albums The First Time

I noticed something while talking to the homie Mike D the other day.

I almost never like classic albums the first time I listen to them. It’s like I initially hear something entirely different. I had Amy Whinehouse’s Back To Black for maybe a year before it finally sank in. I remember being at the Virgin Megastore in Union Square and hearing “Tears Dry On Their Own.” “Is that on Back To Black,” I asked to a friend of mine. I swear I absolutely didn’t remember peeping the track before that day. But it made a strong enough impression on me to dig the album back upand give it a second chance. I love that album, man. To this day, I still bump it like it first came out.

The same thing happened with Justin Timberlake’s last album. By the way, Future Sex Love Sounds > Confessions. Don’t be Justin racist now. But everybody basically kept on raving about the album. I liked it, but initially didn’t see it as anything special until I heard “Damn Girl” on a mixtape. Once again, I went back to the album and discovered how great it truly was.

As for Midnight Marauders, the story’s a little different. I actually got that album a bit late. I remember my cousin Tone and I bumping “Electric Relaxation” on repeat, so when I finally got the CD, I pretty much kept the ritual going, which is weird because I’m a long time Tribe fan. You’d think I would have played it from front to back the second I got it. Needless to say I love that album now. Something similar happened with Illmatic, my favorite rap album ever, De La Soul’s Stakes Is High and a few more classic joints. I’m not sure what it is.

What about you guys?

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  • Pierzy

    While I loved “The Chronic” the moment I heard it, it took a few listens for “Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” to really sink in. Wu’s whole persona, presence and rhyme style was so different from anything else at the time, that I didn’t appreciate it at first. I remember telling the person that recommended it to me and he said, “Give it a few listens…after that, you’ll be hooked…” and he was right.

  • http://www.justice.gov.za GO-Getta’

    D’ya listen 2 music or ya just skip thru it.

    How ya gonna rate music u can relate 2 in a press play.

    If ya all don’t like my words ya all can press fast-word, either sum1 above me is retared or the 1 below me is homo..dig me?

  • squadwildin

    ya bein that i’m from the south, it took me a while to catch on to illmatic too. The beats was just somethin i had to get used to. One classic i did like was Doggystyle off top. Maybe because I heard it after all of those singles were released.


    808′s and Heartbreaks is the same way, simply because the best songs are towards the end. I also had “amazin” and “heartless” on repeat.

    i didn’t really fall in love in REASONABLE DOUBT early on. i didn’t really dub it a classic until maybe 2001.

    that’s what they mean with they say the shit is timeless, i guess.

  • Curtis75Black

    This is an interesting topic. It’s also a hard one because I always give cd’s a good listen before judging. Another thing is I always judge on their own merit, not on what the artist did in the past. For me it’s more an artist thing, like with OutKast and Goodie Mob which I liked but didn’t feel. It wasn’t until a Die Hard Andre fan, 10 years Younger than I, noticed I didn’t have any of their music in my crazy collection. He stepped to me thinking I was just a North East head (I was raised in the Bronx until my HighSchool Years)living in Miami. He challenged me to pick up their music, which I did now owning their whole catalog. I didn’t reaize how much of their shit I knew by heart lol.

  • Kornmo

    I was disappointed in Only built 4 cuban linx because it didn’t have the sound of Tical and ODB’s record, then it grew on me for about 3 years, now it’s my favourite record of all time.
    Of course, Tical and ODBs record had to go through the same process before that, so you do have a point.

  • Teddy

    i was thinking the same thing today while trying to listen to the carter 3 and see why everyone liked it so much and considered it a classic when i didnt compared to carter2 i hated it at first but it is growing on me, i didnt like

    eminem – marshel mathers lp intitally either cos i was a big fan of the 1st one and the 2nd one was so different same thing happened with eminem show by the time that came out i was well into marhsel mathers lp and eminem show was different again so didnt like it as much at first didnt liek blue print at first or big pun endangered species i think u have to develop an ear for the particular artist and album before u can fully appericiate it


    me being from da south, my classic albums are: T.I – I’m Serious
    Lil Wayne – The Carter
    8Ball & MJG – Comin Out Hard
    Jadakiss – Kiss of Death
    & dats all i can think of rite now but, i bumped dese albums all the way thru w/out hitting da next track button.

    • http://xxl ryan

      dats exactly people up north dont respect the south. where is the scarface n little brother? they actually have the capablity of makin a classic. but those fools u name talk bout the sam thing over n over again.(money, cash, n hoes)mayb not 8ball & MJG but definitely the rest.

      • Curtis75Black

        Ryan, don’t do that to homie !! I’m from The North and don’t need someone else taste in music to make me respect artists. Scarface been Classic from jump and I can honestly say I didn’t know what a Little Brother was until my lil Cousin got me to buy their 2nd cd. I still can’t find the 1st – and became instant fans of their music !!

        • http://xxl ryan

          curtis75black im sorry but those fools he named r just horrible. good luck findin the little brother albbum cuz i dont think they sell it in most stores anymore. but u can download the whole thing.

        • http://www.myspace.com/emcdlthemusicprofile EmCDL

          @ Curtis75Black

          Yeah they’ll be real hard to find…and if it wasn’t for Scratch magazine dubbing The Minstrel Show with the highest score, I wouldn’t have even checked them out. That cd is a classic hands down…been a fan of them since I got it. Bought The Listening afterwards, as well as The Chitlin Circuit 1.5, Separate But Equal, The Getback, and Justus For All. Check online Curtis75Black to find the cds I’m sure you;ll find them on Amazon or something.

        • Chris Cash

          I have their whole catalog, but the first one i heard was The Minstrel Show and i thought it was decent at best, but after I forced myself listen I realized why its a classic.

    • DV8

      Ball & G “Comin Out Hard” = Way Slept On Underground Classic

  • Penelope Rodriguez

    This happened to me with Reasonable Doubt. I was 12 when I first listened to it, and I thought it was boring, to be honest. (Don’t cut my head off lol). I didn’t know why people kept saying it was a classic. Were they listening to the same shit I was listening to?

    When I was 16 I had a discussion with a male friend of mine about Jay-Z and we both felt that Jay was really not a good performer, if you think about it, ’cause all he usually does is stand in one place onstage and rap. We also agreed that Reasonable Doubt was uninteresting. My friend said that he skipped through everything on that CD.

    So now I’m 17, last year of high school, and I decide to give Reasonable Doubt another listen. Hmmmm. I actually ended up liking it. It is certainly not my favorite, like the Marshall Mathers LP (I got addicted to that album on the first listen). But Reasonable Doubt gets consistent plays on my iPod. I love “Politics as Usual” and “D’evils” and “Coming of Age.” But Bleek is loud on that song

    • Penelope Rodriguez

      I would like to say that I’m 19, going on 20. I should have said, “So the next year, last of year of high school…”

      • OG Matt Herbz

        “Mannerisms of a young Bobby DeNiro, spit Spanish wisdoms in a whip with dinero…”

        I will admit here on XXL that I didn’t peep “Reasonable Doubt” until around 2004 or 2005. I had heard “Hard Knock Life” and “The Life And Times”, but back then, I thought they were only so-so. After I heard the “Black Album” and there was all this noise about Jay retiring, then I decided to get “Reasonable Doubt”, and by-and-by, I copped or copied all the rest of his studio albums. Reasonable Doubt is a good listen, but I think a couple of songs could have been left off, but my immediate thoughts after listening to it were that it definitely had a timeless feel to it: Classic.

        –OG Matt Herbz–

    • El Tico Loco

      Reasonable Doubt took a little time to get into, because it was like OBCL for 85ers as far as most of the subject matter is concerned is not over people’s head in comparison to OBCL but both definitely hot.

  • LEO

    The Blueprint…didnt really like H to the Izzo(the single) so I kinda just didnt pay attention to it…then summerjam happened…goood times

  • macdatruest

    Eightball & MJG pioneered so much shit in Southern Rap it’s crazy. When Comin’ Out Hard dropped I was nine. Up until that point most of what I heard was West Coast and East Coast cause I wasnt old enough to buy tapes without my parents with me lol (tapes right?) My older cousin had a crazy ass collection-All the X-Clan’s, Public Enemy Albums, All Fat Boys, Chubb Rock EPMDs, D-Nice, even the old school 1 hitters like Apachee (Gangsta Bitch) and all the old Ice Cube’s, Every Too Short album up out back then, E-40 shit, all NWA’s, West Coast All Stars, Spice 1, CMW all that. I wasn’t even thinking about what coast it was from back then, obviously that was when music was just music. So when I heard Comin’ Out Hard, I was stuck. I was paralyzed. I never heard beats like that or lyrics like that. Honestly by the time the tape got to the fourth song ‘Pimps’ the way they flipped the Love T.K.O. sample, one of my parents old songs…my young mind was blown and I KNEW that’s what I wanted to be-a rapper. Eightball & MJG shout out to yall niggas mane

    MJG is known to be the first to tongue twist too do the research !!!! howinthefuckdoyoufiggathatpimpinisdead, niggayouknowitsalive, pimpwasmisunderstood, by thosewhocant, thatswhytheysaiditdied and I aint from the south east or west

  • WestCoastAggie

    We all have those albums that just grow on us over time for various reasons. We also have albums that just don’t live up to that “Classic” status that many give them. An example of that kind of album for me is The College Dropout. 5 years later and it’s getting kinda rusty.

    Now believe it or not. Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth’s Mecca & The Soul Brother took a decade to grow on me. This is partly due to having young ears.

  • Curtis75Black

    Alot has to do with age. I see Penelope saying she was 12 when Reasonable Doubt dropped, I wasn’t even fucking with PE at that time. Chuck was sounding like my Father putting me on punishment with his voice. It took me a good two years before I got down with them. “Night Of the Living Baseheads” and “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” got me hooked to them overall. So I completely understand with the “Young Ears” theory put out there from Homie above.

    • Penelope Rodriguez

      :) I’m going to be 20.

      Reasonable Doubt dropped in June 1996 (wikipedia lol), so I was 7 when it came out. I first heard it at 12.

  • http://www.myspace.com/crockerishiphop Crocker

    The only joint that happened to me with was that Atmosphere record, “You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having.” Somebody told me my style reminded them of Ant and Slug, so I bought the record and hated that shit. Turned out to be one of my all-time favorites.



  • Simple like ABC, 123

    Back on the mid 90′s when I heard Three 6 Mafia “Mystic Stylez” album, honestly, I did not like. Then, after 15 years (2005), I decide to give “Mystic Styles” another listen and I changed my mind, this is a classic!!!

  • http://www.yahoo.com Dra$t-iQ Alkoholik

    interesting but i fuckin hated the “Doctor’s Advocate” at first listen but is now 1 of my top 10 of all trime same with “it was written” and “blueprint 2″

  • http://www.incilin.blogspot.com Incilin

    I would say tahts true for me and Ready To Die. But most other albums, na not really. A few for sure, but not a lot.


    Mobb Deep – Hell on earth
    Outkast – Atliens
    Ghostface – Supreme Clientelle

    those are the one that i slept on!


      oh yea, can’t forget “in a major way” by E-40!

  • geico lizard

    This happens on almost every outkast album since southernplayalistic. They all sound so different that people dont appreciate them until the second time they hear it. The singles always blow up but the albums songs are laid out in a perfect order.

  • Datgraynuccasammie

    killa season…when i heard that the first time i almost puked, that shit nice as a mofo now

    ….i never really heard criminal minded till last year…

    same thing wit’ operation doomsday

  • romil

    ATliens- OUtkast, Stankonia- OUtkast Aquemini Outkast… All those albums took about 3 plays to get used to. Then I said this ish is timeless…. I guess I was waiting for them to do the Southerplayalistic again, but noticed they stepped further away.

    • Chris Cash

      Im still waiting to like ATLiens after the first 5 songs the Album dies to me

  • Curtis75Black

    It took 10 years after the fact to finally check out LL’s “Walking with a Panther”. I was just following suite with the Bullshit “sellout” talk everyone was spittin’ at him at the time and never checked it. I never really liked “Im that Type of Guy” and couldn’t STAND “Going Back to Cali”. Well I got it as a B-Day gift from one of my homies to add on to the catalog and was highly impressed with the shit he dropped on that cd. L’s cd are always different from the last and you just got to follow the vibe of the music – Not what you’re expecting.

  • Chris Cash

    I thought college drop out was a wack album, because i just skimed thru it but once I heard “Spaceship” I actually listened to the album, and its been my favorite since. I miss that Ye (Pause).

  • sealsaa

    The Blueprint. Just like with LEO, Izzo and girls girls girls turned me off, but then I gave it a few more listens.

    The low end Theory. I got stuck on that song where the leaders of the new school were on.

  • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

    i will admit, after southernplayalistic… ATLiens had to grow on me.

    as much as i enjoyed it, reasonable doubt didn’t sink in immediately either. i was on some WSHH shit.


    these are my confessions…

  • http://www.theorionkids.com ok

    i will admit, after southernplayalistic… ATLiens had to grow on me.

    as much as i enjoyed it, reasonable doubt didn’t sink in immediately either. i was on some WSHH shit.


    Ron Mexico That was classic! lol

  • http://www.theorionkids.com prez



    i had to take time to listen to these streets a mutha to realize that kurupt was under rated like a motherfucker. also the d.o.c No One Can Do It Better that shit was crazy. also i slept on little brother i was like fuck these e niggas then i heard the minstrel show. that shit was funny had good lyrics good beats. then i got all there shit even the mixtapes little brother i wish they would get the shine they deserve.

  • Chris S

    same goes for pretty much every album i consider classics

    Illmatic-about 2 years

    Eminem Show, immortal technique rev vol 2, and The Cool i liked right away

    College Dropout-about a year cuz somehow i missed listening to last call, two words, and family business the first time

    Food & Liquor-about 5 months

    36 Chambers-a long fucking time

    reasonable doubt-until i saw the feature on classic album about 5 months ago

    note, i’m 19 and i heard a lot of this stuff when i was probably around 14-16 so i can understand it taking awhile to sink in

  • TheRefriedMexican


  • Grassisgreener

    While we’re talking about classic albums—has anyone heard Scarface’s Emeritus? The shit is outta here. I’m a stone cold West Philly nigga and we listen to anything that bangs, and Scarface’s new shit is wild nice. Is it a classic? I don’t know, but I could make an argument. All my Dirty South cousins don’t believe that we up here sleepin’ on y’all niggas. I still bump that Big Mike shit on occassion. Remember “Havin’ Thangs”? I love all the East Coast “classics” and I fucks with other regions too. Everybody needs to go cop Facemob’s last three albums and let tham shits lay on your brain. Oh yeah, Blu and Pcific Division from Cali are also dope. Being the intra-national and international playa that I am I get to hear and develop an appreciation for all that fly shit. West West Philly Philly.

  • DV8

    Randomly thinking

    Busta Rhymes- When Disaster Strikes and Anarchy
    CRU- CRU

  • Smel

    I loved “The Carnival” from first listen


  • 206

    The Click-Game Related
    DJ Quik-Safe & Sound
    Wu Tang-Forever

  • oskamadison

    Gang Starr’s Daily Operation

  • matty21

    can relate to this big time with t.i.’s urban legend….i remember i got it when it first came out n kinda felt let down, only liked maybe 2 songs n just wasnt feeling it at all…over time i just fell more in love with more songs n now i like almost the entire album, i listen to it to this day, n love almost the entire album…songs i didnt recognize the least bit at first… t.i. songs in particular grow on me, i dont feel them as much at first but then they become my favorite songs…i guess greatness in most cases takes a few listens…its special