an artist's ability to make hits DOES NOT mean that he/she somehow sold out to the mainstream. perhaps an artist has a knack for taking certain beats, and using a delivery that the artist finds convenient to work with. sometimes, hits aren't intentionally made, and an artist just seems to frequnt mainstream sounding music. some prime examples of these type of artists include two of hip-hop's biggest mongols, kanye west and jay-z. in both of their 15+ year careers, they've managed to both release classic albums, both with critical and commercial success. both artists also have a total of four Billboard Hot 100 #1
hits. there are artists like kendrick, travis, logic, etc, who have all been said to have sold out their original sound their fans fell in love with in exchange for a more friendly and commercial sound. but, here's the thing. kanye and jay-z, despite their numerous #1
hits, still made amazing albums after their hits were popular. jay-z made 4:44, a touching and soulful album filled with personal vignettes to his fans, himself, and his family, an album that had ZERO radio play, but still was an amazing album that many consider to be one of 2017's best. kanye west made My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, a depressing look at the internal struggles a celebrity deals with it, and the evil downsides to fame. these two albums prove that even after an artist has his/her commercial peak, they can still drop top tier albums after the fact. which is why i still have confidence in kendrick topping tpab, travis topping rodeo, etc.