He’s the perfect example. Only we care (because p and chad cares) about making distinctions between solo p vs Neptunes vs nerd. the general public has thought it was all the same for some time tbh.
The thing is he’s transitioned in and out of things good enough to make it all seem natural. In other words, his choices play like a progression of what he’s actually interested in and never seems out of character. He was pretty upfront about having no interest in releasing a 2nd solo, and that he did GIRL cause Columbia came with a nice number.
So of course he’s gonna lean into the guitars and disco drums, people were actually receptive to what he was cookin up, considering he was the polar opposite of what was hot at the time.
Also If it’s true the Hidden Figures soundtrack was to be his “3rd solo” in theory, seems the soundtrack was a slick way to get those songs off without it being a 3rd album. Point is i think generally more folk know him solo, between IMM and now.