By the time 2012 rolled around, the Posse Cut as we knew it was a fading art form. Once a staple of the late nineties, the star-studded style of track seemed to fade with each passing year, a likely side-effect of the increased volume of competing labels. And yet the Posse Cut never fully committed to death. With his acclaimed album Live. Love. A$AP, A$AP Rocky breathed life into the format once again with “1Train,” a cinematic lyrical onslaught packed with a barrage top tier lyricists. The guest list alone is enough to drop jaws: Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Action Bronson, Danny Brown and Big K.R.I.T arrive in addition to Rocky himself.
Backed by a string-driven beat from Hit-Boy, each emcee stakes his claim as the unofficial winner, leaving various comment sections in shambles across the internet. From Kenny’s frantic spazzing to Yelawolf’s dexterous flow, from Action Bronson’s brilliant imagery to K.R.I.T’s sophisticated closing statements, “1Train” has something for everyone. To this day, the best verse has yet to be decided by unanimous vote; it remains one of hip-hop’s unyielding debates, if and when the topic is raised.
And so, on this quiet October afternoon, why not reopen the discussion? Who emerged as the king of “1Train” all those years ago? And more importantly, where does this one stand among the genre’s great Posse Cuts?