Rich Brian wants to get the band back together. Actually, he wants to bring back the idea of getting the band back together.
The 20-year-old, who lived exactly five months of his life in the 1990s, tweeted on Wednesday that he wants to, essentially, dig up the rap equivalent of a megalodon fossil: He wants to resurrect the posse cut.
Rich Brian wants a ’92 Dream Team-level roster, with Tyler, the Creator, JPEGMAFIA, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, Joji and Jaden Smith all making it on his fictional track. That matchup, much like Patrick Mahomes vs. Lamar Jackson or Jason Statham vs. The Rock, would be a matchup for the ages, squaring off perfectly against Rocky’s 2013 original, which featured himself, Kendrick Lamar, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, Joey Bada$$, Big K.R.I.T. and (checks notes, asks for new notes, checks notes again) Yelawolf.
It’s fascinating to speculate what a 2020 version of “1Train” could look like, but not just because of the potential lineup. A posse cut of even half that scale would be, in this era, unheard-of.
Unheard-of things are objectively fantastic. It’s why we love it when Leicester City wins the Premier League, or when Ron Weasley gets a girlfriend before Harry Potter does. But there’s also something inherently bad about unheard-of things — that fact that, for something to become unheard-of, it has to have not happened for a very long time.
In this case, that long time is seven years. It’s wholly possible that Rich Brian’s “1Train” would be the first bonafide, all-hands-on-deck posse cut since well, “1Train.”
A$AP Rocky knew he was doing something special in 2013. His major-label debut, Long. Live. A$AP. is the type of coming-out party any artist dreams of. It was a commercial and critical hit, full of star-making singles (“Wild For The Night,” Goldie,” “F***in’ Problems”) and one unbelievable, seven-man ace in the hole.
“That’s a posse cut!” A$AP told Complex at the time. “And nobody ain’t do that since the ’90s. I said, [I need] all of the young cats of my era. All of the dudes I respect.”
Posse cuts are about the now — who’s relevant, who’s the best, who’s popular with other rappers — but they’re about legacy. For a collab track like that to work out, it can’t just age like fine wine, it has to age like coal.
Of the seven rappers who appear on “1Train,” at least five have lived up to that standard: Action Bronson became a best-selling author, TV host and olive oil mogul; Joey Bada$$ became a chart-topper and prestige TV starling; Danny Brown became one of the most critically adored rappers on the decade; Kendrick Lamar became a Pulitzer prize winner and the most acclaimed artist of his generation.
Then there’s A$AP, who made good on his fame with multiple platinum records, several fashion deals and a bizarre two months as a symbol of international legal jurisdiction.
The track, meanwhile, holds up from start to finish. Unlike later rap collabs, where artists often lean into the distinct styles of their songmates (see: Drake and Playboi Carti or Future and Lil Uzi Vert), “1Train” was all about individuality.
“All of them had something different to offer and bring to the table as far as delivery and style-wise, and everyone sounds like an individual,” Rocky also told Complex.
It’s likely there are several reasons why, but the mythical allure of the posse cut died a rapid, painful death after “1Train.” There are exceptions — like Dremville’s “Down Bad,” DannyBrown’s “Really Doe” and A$AP Mob’s “RAF” — but overall, these are mostly just blips, exciting but tragically fleeting.
Rocky claimed he revived a ’90s tradition with “1Train,” and while the guest list on songs like “Forever” and Mercy” would probably disagree, he was right about one thing: What he was doing was rare. There were countless posse cuts that came before, but almost none to come after.
Maybe Rich Brian can pull off his full-on Iron Man, Avengers assemble speech, but if he can’t, we’ll always have “1Train,” the (for now) last great posse cut.