BLOG: Acquired Taste

I try not to rush my judgment whenever discovering new artists.

If I don’t like the first song, I try giving the artist another shot. If I’m still not convinced after listening to a few more samples, I typically reach a verdict, but it can always be overturned. The thing is, most of us are pretty much set in our musical ways and aren’t as open minded as we’d like to think. Once an artist has already left a bad taste in your ears, it becomes difficult to acknowledge that his next effort could be better than what you’ve already heard. In my case, I’ve dismissed a good amount of MCs for whatever reason only to become a fan later down to line. Here are a few examples. —Jackpot

Noreaga: I must have been deaf when The War Report first came out. Then again, you’re always bound to miss something. There was a whole lot of dope music coming out in 1996-97. I was still bumping Nas’s It Was Written, De La Soul’s Stakes Is High, The Fugees’ The Score and Busta Rhymes’ The Coming, among others, when Capone and Nore first dropped so it just went over my head. But then, I think it may have been early 98, I heard “Body in the Trunk” with Nas on a DJ Clue tape. Several months later I copped N.O.R.E. and later went back to The War Report.

DMX: I don’t have a good reason, but I didn’t like DMX when he first came out. I didn’t care much for his appearances on Mase’s records or any of this other features. Plus, I was too busy being a Canibus stan, so I pretty much overlooked Dark Man X. My cousins were all raving about X during the summer of 98, but it wasn’t until Hot 97 began spinning “Ruff Ryder’s Anthem” in regular rotation that I took notice. My cousin Tone had the LP all along and I never bothered dubbing it. I ended up buying my own copy around September or October and loved it.

Ludacris: With Cris, it may have been a regional thing. At the time Back for the First Time came out, Ja Rule was doing his thing, Jay was doing his thing, X was doing his thing, Nas was around. There was still an abundance of dope East Coast music coming out, so it just felt like there was no need to listen to some dude from Atlanta (despite liking OutKast). Little did we know, Luda was one of many releases that helped the game shift Down South. Soon enough, these cats were inescapable. I remember watching BET one day and seeing the video for “Southern Hospitality.” WOW! I thought I had heard every flow possible up to that point, but this kid Cris was just spitting so different and ill, I just couldn’t deny it. I never did like Back for the First Time, but then “Area Codes” came out, followed by “Roll Out (My Business)” and later “Saturday (Oooh Oooh)”. That’s all I needed. As it turns out, the guy didn’t only have incredible flows, but lyrics to go.

Alicia Keys: I fronted on Ms. Keys for pretty niggorant reasons. You see, I liked “Fallin,” but I just didn’t like her look. She had a pretty face, but those damn Brandy ass microbraids turned me off, man. But then I saw the “You Don’t Know My Name” video and she was looking right with them big curls. As far as Alicia, the music was always there and I always dug it, it just took me longer to come around because of her image. Stupid, I know.

I know there’s more, but that’s all I got off the top. What about you guys? Who are some of the artists you fronted on at first and later loved?

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  • Ace

    I judged quickly on a couple MC’s:

    Joe Budden- I liked Pump It Up but the album was weak but after Mood Muzik 2 I been a fan

    Nelly- I thought he was gonna be a one hit wonder til I bought Country Grammar and I was satisfied

    Freeway- His voice always got and my nerves and kinda still does, plus Cassidy killed him in that battle, but after listening to his albums and listening to the words rather than the voice I realized that Freeway was and still is dope

    • jburg

      I thought Budden’s first album was pretty nice. That cut with 112 and Stand up nicca still get some play. Not hatin though. I thought Nelly was destined for a VH1 special for real!! Country Grammar was that shit!!

  • Doogy

    I had the same reaction to Alicia when she dropped. But dammit if she didn’t change my mind with that “You Don’t Know My Name”… that song is incredible! Suffice to say I’m a fan now. And that song on Jay’s new album is great too.

    Another artist I initially overlooked was Lupe. That “Kick, Push” left a bad taste. But “The Cool” was dope

    Oh Yeah, Pierzy!!

    • Pierzy

      Good looks, dude.

      I was late on some of the younger artists – Kid Cudi, Wale, Skyzoo, etc… Then again, maybe it’s because I didn’t hear them often (like Fashawn).

      • Pierzy

        Also, I agree on Luda but he also got much better over his career so does that count? I mean, if someone gets better over time, are you really late?

      • Doogy

        Yea it took me a while to catch up to Cudi, (whose music is great but whose attitude is also an acquired taste) and Wale. But its hard with these new cats because there are so many of them its hard to digest it all.

  • Jerm

    Co-Sign the Alicia Keys statement about the braids LOL

    Joe Budden: I loved this lyrics, on Mood Muzik, Slaughterhouse and Padded Room/Halfway House – but Im so used to hearing guys switch things up, in terms of their voice, flow, etc. Maybe its just me, but im still havin a hard time gettin used to him, but he is lyrical.

    Lupe Fiasco: One reason he took a bit for me to get into, was when I heard Kick Push, maybe this happened to alot of people. However after hearing Kick Push, I thought he was just gona be one of those skater MCs. Then The Cool came out and everyone was saying Lupe would be like the next Nas or something, so I had to check him out and now bump both his albums all the time – especially that Dumb It Down.

    • Chris S

      i too overlooked Lupe. his verse on Touch The Sky went waaaay over my head. then when i heard Kick Push, it took me a while to decide if it was either really sweet, or really gay. after a few listens to the first 4 bars, i decided it was sweet.

      but the song that got me hooked to him was The Instrumental. i played that song over and over, then i just gave the entire album about 5 good listens. then i was sold that he was going to be top 5 dead or alive by the time it was all done. and The Cool lived up to all my expectations too.

      Lupe Fiasco’s Lasers set for December 15. be sure to buy it

  • giantstepp

    Im most def stuck in my musical ways. I dismiss jokers without giving most a listen. If they shit aint bumpin on the radio, most of these rappers I would’ve never heard period. I can agree that I miss out on some bangers, but I am who I am.

    Cosign the DMX dismiss. Never felt his art. I think X is a real dude tho.

    Eminem is just annoying to me. To animated and cartoonish for my liking and I cant stand to hear his voice for more than 1 song. Yeah I know dude can spit, just neva felt his art either.

  • Semaj Raff

    being a kid at the time, i usually didn’t like anything my parents liked haha. considering they were young, my dads fav group was A Tribe Called Quest, as i got older i appreciated their taste for 90′s hip hop.

  • David HussleSoft

    I did not like Luda at first either I hated whats your fantasy and from what I here that originally was not even going to be on the album. I changes my mind when a friend of mine brought the album to school.

    B.I.G.- I did not like juicy when I first heard it and the first time I saw B.I.G. was that video with the tight yellow bad boy jersey. I was a kid I thougHT he was rockin a bootleg.

    Tupac- Like I said I was kid and Brendas havin a baby made me sad and depressed it was not until my mom bought me strictly 4 my niggaz that I was fan.

  • General

    TI-when he first came out, I think it was just his arrogance that kinda rubbed me the wrong way and with him claimin to be “King of the South”, but when I really gave his shit a chance I was hooked

    Lupe-I def didn’t like that kick push shit, but after I had heard so much about his CD I gave it a listen and now he is one of my favorites

    Joe Buddens-Couldn’t stand Pump It Up and I thought he was just gonna be another of the bullshit rappers with no substance, but after hearing “Walk with me” and “10 minutes” off his debut, I could see nigga had some depth and the Mood Muzik series was tight

    Crooked I-When Suge was on that bullshit goin after Dre and Snoop and then he started pushin Crooked, I didn’t really want to hear nothin from Death Row, but then I heard a cut “Still tha Row” that Crooked did on a Death Row released soundtrack and I was blown away by the way this niggas spit game…

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    Yo Enlightened! Here’s the drop for that comment you posted the other day!


  • DetroitDraper

    Honestly I hated Juvenile when Ha first came out. Then one day I musta been like 12 or 13 an Back that ass up came out and it was like nothing anyone unless you were from N.O had heard. After thtat I might as well had been from N.O.


  • capcobra

    i remember 1 of my partners was on the budfest tour..we was out there whyling with the g-funk era..but before that i always thought warren g was the wackest rapper ever..then i found out for myself that he’s actually a cool dude…and i was trying to hit 1 of those female rappers he had {da 5footaz}…by the time i came back to the city i was on that warren g heavy..singing “dove shack” and the whole

  • EmCDL

    I remember when The Game first came out and I slept on him. One of my homeboys told me about him like “yo, you heard of the Game? I got his cd and its bonanas!” I’m like who the Game, a wrestler? Then he burnt me a copy of the cd and I was like gotdayum! His shit hasn’t really been the same since though…probably because without the 50 co-sign.

  • RiZob

    i hated Gucci Mane for years when “so icey” first dropped! then i heard his song “Colors” and have been hooked ever since…he has a flow that no other rapper has, hes original as hell…i suggest everyone try Gucci out(pause)…LOL

    • DevilintheFlesh

      Check out “Hold that Thought” by Gucci


    yeah i have to say juvi too.i couldnt stand the song ha.still cant.its like soulja boy to me.still dont care for juvi expcept a few select songs.i didnt care much for cash money because to me they came out right after no limit started to die down.they took the whole thing no limit was doin an ran with it.ill give it to them though,cash money put out a few bangers in their to this day i still respect bg and wayne for what bg is and wayne was.mannie was pretty dope too.(sorry but i just aint a big fan of his current shit,give or take a song or two).had no limit been doin the same thing the whole over saturation of music a few years before i prolly would have grown to like cash money more back then.OH AND YEAH I SLEPT ON ALOT OF 90′S EAST COAST RAP INCLUDING BIG,CAUSE I WAS HEAVILY INTO THE WEST COAST AND THE SMALL BUT BUBBLIN DOWN SOUTH SCENE AT THE TIME.BUT RESPECTED AND LOVED THE EARLY YEARS OF EAST COAST RAP LIKE RAKIM AND RUN DMC AND BEASTIES.

  • http://-- gaddic

    When i was about 7 i disliked Nas(angry people comparing him to the GOD Rakim) but now dude is one of my favourite Mcs ever!!!
    Hell i like his music more than Rakim’s
    Classic album after classic album this guy proved his incredible talent and his superiority over most if not all rappers before and after him
    Nas U R THE MAN!!!

    Throw Bishop lamont too
    Thought he was another wack-ass hitman
    I was so wrong

  • Tony Grands

    Tupac- I overlooked him @ first, then eventually went & copped “Strictly For My N.I.G.G.A.Z.”, but that window only stayed open briefly, because by then everybody & their mom shoved him in my face every minute.

    ODB- I easily dismissed him as a clown, then went back & bought “Return of the…”. I finally got him & realized the lane he created was for him, & no one else.

    Obie Trice- He just lacked something to me. I had a homie who swore by him, bumped his shit daily, & eventually I guess he brainwashed me.

    Cappadonna- First time I ever heard him, I thought he was a Ghost shark biter, but the more I listened, the more I liked him. When “Winter Wars” dropped on whatever soundtrack, that was it. Still a fan to this day. Plus, @ first I thought his name was extra weak sauce.

    Ras Kass- When his first album dropped, I was working for this underground mag & we had to review it. I thought dude was trash (probably because he beats were), & cats wasn’t yet ready for the hyperdrive conscious rap. A few years passed & I’m came across it again, popped it in [||], & saw that dude was just way ahead of his time.

    Nate Dogg- I didn’t understand what the big deal was. He had to grow on me, & I can’t deny his presence & impact on the west coast sound, but I still don’t think he can sing. But he’s good @ adding that soul.

  • JMack

    The most acquired taste of all time would have to be MF Doom.

    took me forever to get accustomed to him.

    • BIGNAT

      i agree with that i can’t get most of my friends to like him. he is one of my fave rappers ghostface as well. i want them to put out that album they was going do together DOOMGHOST.
      i was hating major on scarface i didn’t even bother to listen to his albums. then i heard my brother bumping some crazy music i was like what album is that. he said the fix i said who does the fix he said you don’t fuck with scarface. i said i do now you can’t hate on classic material like that.

  • DownSouth

    T.I. – I never thought he was bad but I just didn’t check for him until after his legal drama. You know when you go thru something, you start talking real. When I first heard No Matter What off of Paper Trail, I was instantly like “UMMA GET THAT ALBUM”. And the day before I copped it, I heard Dead and Gone, and I couldn’t get to Best Buy fast enough, lol!

    Also I was late on Jay-Z.


  • Incilin

    Dude, you came around pretty quick, only a few songs after the fact. It usually takes me years longer.

    I used to hate on a lot of acts that I came around on. Especially Luda, who I hated on up until maybe his third or fourth album when I realized that dude was dope and I was just hating. I also came around on Ross, but only because of Deeper Than Rap. Same for Jim Jones who I started liking after Ballin and solidified with Pray IV Reign (I’m still on the fence about Cam’ron). I also didn’t like Freeway or Bean all that much when I first heard them, but I came around when I heard their first albums.

    But the biggest turnaround for me was Joe Budden who I hated on all through high school cuz I thought he was just another mixtape rapper but then turned into a stan of after I heard Mood Muzik II.

  • Shawty J

    T.I. – I didn’t used to big on Tip at all. I’d hear “24s” on the radio and it was just annoying to me, and “Dope Boy Fresh” was just boring to me at time. He dropped “Be Easy” and “Rubberband Man” and started catching on, but what really did it was his song “Countdown” from that point on I was hooked.

    Ludacris – For some reason, I hated Ludacris when he first came out. A couple of years past and one of my friends gave Word Of Mouh (it was the clean version, and he ditched once he got the real one). After I few listens I was hooked, and now when I go back and listen to his first singles, I can’t remember why I didn’t like him.

    Kanye West – In all seriousness, I was unaware that his mouth was still wired shut at the time he dropped “Through The Wire.” The fact that I didn’t really pay attention to the song didn’t help either.

    Young Jeezy – When I first heard “So Icy” I remember thinking, man these niggas are garbage. For the record, I still think Gucci is but I digress. “Ant Then What” didn’t change my opinion, though I liked the beat and thought they lyric “Hide the rest of the yams at my auntie’s house” was hilarious. I thought “Soul Survivor” was alright, but I mainly just liked the beat. Around the time Jeezy dropped “I Love It” he seemed to have stepped his game up. I’m still not big on Jeezy, but I like him a lot more than I did.

    Lil Wayne – I’m not even talking about back in his Hot Boys days, I’m talking about around the time of the 1st Carter I still didn’t like him. Even though I liked “Shooter” and “Fireman”, I really didn’t start liking Wayne until right before Tha Carter 3 dropped. This stemmed from one of my brother’s friends uploading several of Wayne’s mixtape’s songs onto my computer. Wayne still isn’t in my top five, though, he may barely be in my top 10.

    Freeway – I think anyone can consider him acquired taste. The way he structures his verses kinda throw people off the first time they hear him.

  • cramzy

    TIP AND Jeezy! I hated 24′s but my cousin got me on that Trap Muzik and I saw the light. Doing My Job, Long Live The Game, and Still Love U changed my tune.

    With Jeezy I felt like he was a ti rip off. But one day I heard this mix on the radio and they played Trap or Die, And then What, and Get cha Mind Right. I was hooked. Thug Motivation got str8 worn out in my stereo.

  • Mr. North

    Beanie Sigel: Hated his look- After his second album he became one of my favorite rappers.

    Kanye-I always like his songs on his beats but the first album didnt do it for me. When Late Reg. came out it solidified his tightness and his ability to rhyme.

    Mobb Deep- Was sleep on there albums until Free Agents. Now I have all their stuff and solo albums. Hav is one of my fav producers.

    Kid Cudi- Almost every track on his album (when it comes out) has to be tight for him to win me over. He got a couple tracks but its another Emo Rap king (Serengeti).

  • Federal Ranga

    Cosign cramzy…

    When I was living in GA for a few months, back in 2005, I remember two niggaz arguing about how a nigga named Jeezy would crush T.I. His adlibs got on my damn nerves. It wasnt until Stay Strapped (the gucci mane diss) that I considered Jeezy fierce enough to fuck with and the Recession goes hard as hell. Trap or Die is tight work as well.

    Episode 8 up!

  • geico lizard

    “Alicia Keys: I fronted on Ms. Keys for pretty niggorant reasons.”

    co-sign, I was hating on AK at first too. That grammys when Alicia won all the trophies and India Arie lost, people were saying AK was all hype because of her looks compared to India. They are both talented so it was a dumb move to boil it down to the light skin girl winning over the brown skin girl.

    Alicia has good days and bad days but most of the time she looks really good. The bad days she looks like she needs to tone up some and use more proactiv on those razor bumps all over her face instead of looking like Prickly Pete. The good days she is like a 9.5 on a scale of 10.

  • Brooklyn

    i slept on nas for a min, i was a die hard jay fan from “reasonable doubt” to “the black album”, so i wasn’t checking for nas at all. then i went to my cousin’s house and he was playing “illmatic” and that got me, i stole his copy and bought “it was written”, “i am”, and “stillmatic.” i also slept on kanye for a long time and while i’m still not his biggest fan, i can give him his props now. i slept on keyshia cole too, she was fine and all, but i hated her voice, it was way to scratchy for me.

  • Teddy


    (first propper songs i heard i hadn’t developed the ear to hear jays wit)

    2. Lil Wayne

    (no limit days and hot boyz days back that ass up …nough said)

    3. Ludacris
    (throw them bows i think i was like wat the fuck is this shit this was when i was still not tuned into the southern sound it was all about nyc then”

    4.Young Jeezy

    (first song i heard sounded like he was rapping in slow motion once again i was likw wat the fuck is this shit till i got the ear and accustomed to his flow”

    oh how wrong i was

  • Caino

    Shit, l remember being younger back in like 95-96, and all l would be bumping would be Pac, totally ignoring BIG, didnt want to seem like a traitor. (shits funny to look back on now).

    l must admit l still aint listened to much of T.I, dunno why.

  • Deuce53

    joe buddens killed my attention span towards him with “pump it up” but the the mood music shit got me goin…i slept on lupe cuz he was different, bought “the cool” on an impulse and saw wat was really good…i cant sleep on somebody that sucks tho, so i think im just dead to the gucci manes, the tony yayos, and all that other riff raff


    I didnt like Jay-Z at first, I thought he bragged to much. I remember listening to dead presidents on a mixtape and that kinda hook me. To bad I was listening to that mixtape about 1 year after Reasonable Doubt dropped….better late than never. Jeezy was another one who i didnt feel at first and I was living in GA at the time. Everyone was bumpin Trap or Die and the club was playing the whole mixtape so I eventually gave in to the hype

  • latino heat

    i hate to admit this but being from Cali i ignored a lot of east coast classics when they came out. everyone out here was on the west coast shit extra hard and i didn’t even give east coast shit a second thought. i would like the singles but wouldn’t buy the albums.

    i didn’t like Jay-Z till In My Lifetime Vol. 1 came out. now he’s the g.o.a.t imo.

    i didn’t buy Illmatic, Reasonable Doubt or Ready To Die until 1999. my taste in music just changed drastically around that time and now i don’t listen to hardly any west coast music unless it’s the classics.

    one question for everyone. did anybody else not like Joe Budden cause of his voice? i remember he had a big buzz in summer 2002 but his voice annoyed the shit out of me and i was hating hard on him. more than Freeway’s. i was a fan after listening to his 1st album though. i just never hear anybody mention his voice witch i think takes some time to get used to.

  • three2sixCubed

    E-40 when Practice Lookin’ Hard video came out I wasn’t feeling it. Then he dropped In A Major Way…the intro alone got me hooked.

    Biggie- I wasn’t feelin’ him with his mafioso shit considerin’ I like the Wu-Gambino shits. Also his Ready to Die I thought it was on some I wanna die type Pac shit. But when I heard “Gimmie the Loot” it was a wrap.

    Lil’ Boosie- When I first heard him I was like “I can’t wait till he gets older so his voice will change.” Well he’s older and the voice is still there but he’s better lyrically.

    Royce 5’9″- that man might as well been a Posterpedic bed with the pillow as much as I slept on him. Heard Indepence Day and the song he had on there with YO! Gotti (Lookin’ At My Dogs) and I was sold.

    Warren G- Hated Regulators and anybody who used to order it off The Box but then he came out with This DJ and I was like DAMN!!

  • REAL TALK 09

    My Top 5..

    1.Ti…he had beef wit lil Flip at the time
    2.Drake..i’m still tryna get in 2 him..he so overrated at times..
    3.50 Cent…i was actually in2 Jarule at the time..Ja was huge!
    4.Nas….i was not a big fan right a way.. sign DMX….Get At Me Dog had to grown on me….he was okay on MONEY POWER RESPECT by The LOX….but Slippin’ made me a fan!

  • GO-Getta’

    Wizzy – i did’nt like him when dude was still with Hot Boys . Juv,B.G & Turk were runnin’ the show & Wizzy was learning the ropes

    He pisses me though when he’s on that auto-tune & tyran sing.
    Sumtyms he’s voice is so annoying but u can’t ignore popular demand. Numbers don’t lie i mean a milli in a week?

    Mase – those shiny suits pissed me off but believe it or not Harlem World album was dope & dude was on top of his game

    Lady of Rage – 2 loud & not sexy but she later got on me.

    Pras – dude was’nt up 2 scratch but that Ghetto Superstar song with ODB was dope & it was also the same time i feel in luv with Oh Mya Mya.

    Superflyness u can’t buy this i was born with it.

  • fatDAN

    Growing up in the S.D. Killa Cali, I have always been a strong supporter of the west coast thing and always bumping shit by Jayo Felony and Brotha Lynch. I didn’t know one song on Illmatic, and I never liked JUICY by B.I.G when it came out. I did not like Biggie at first because of Puffy, not until he did a song with Bone did I even pay attention. I do regret that even though all of Nas and Biggies shit are now part of my collection. I sorry.

  • T Lee

    Jeezy – slept thru Trap or Die til my partna was bumping it at his wedding reception…fan ever since

    Lil Boosie – until I saw him live I was like what the fuck is the fuss about.

    Nas – I still not captured by Illmatic but I’m definately a Nas fan now since ’96

  • SbuJah

    Sean Price!!! – dude has been mucking beats but i only got impressed circa 05