The Education of Kanye West
Mr. West is no longer just concerned with being popular; he also wants to be cool. But given the double-digit decline in rap sales this year and Mr. West’s status as one of few bankable hip-hop superstars, it’s a potentially risky time to be broadening, or diluting, his palette. Rap loyalists may blanch at his new directions, but Mr. West has never been solely beholden to rap fans or to rap modes of thought. While other hip-hop stars (50 Cent, Timbaland) have been flirting lately with pop collaborations to extend their brands, Mr. West has succeeded in large part by imposing his ornate style of hip-hop onto the mainstream.