I have heard "1TRain" called the best posse cut of the year—a practice my mother refers to as damning with faint praise. It is true that A$AP Rocky's repeatedly delayed studio debut is not so startlingly good as 2011's Live.Love.A$AP mixtape. Long.Live.A$AP does not sound new. Rocky still does '90s fast-rap cadences over syrupy slow beats, and he still uses his flashy command of dialect to belie a compelling honesty. He's just not doing it for the first time.
And with a couple thrilling exceptions, it does not bang. Maybe it was the pressure. A lot has happened to A$AP Rocky since his last mixtape, including making out with Lana Del Ray in a concept video about Jackie Onassis. Probably people have offered him drugs. The bad news is that A$AP Rocky is not going to blow our minds and make rap different every time he releases an album. The good news is that he is a craftsman, and he continues to work diligently on his voice and his biography. Here he works a little too carefully, but it is our fault for looking over his shoulder.