This week’s B Side cover story is about Houston Rap (Sinecure), a new photo book on the hip-hop scene in the biggest city in the state where everything is bigger. It’s a dense book packed with quotes from rappers, producers, and members of the community, who talk about the city and its rap history with detailed intimacy. As I wrote in the feature, the level of detail is so deep it can be confusing to someone who doesn’t have a good grasp of the Houston rap lingo or players in the scene, but that isn’t always a bad thing; I enjoyed searching for the history behind the names I was unfamiliar with while reading the book, and while it took me a lot longer to finish than I initially anticipated, I certainly ended up with a deeper understanding of many of the subjects.

I also got hooked on a handful of acts I hadn’t heard of before, such as Royal Flush, a gangsta rap group from the late 80s and early 90s that’s become so obscure I had a little trouble tracking down a digital version of a song of theirs that caught my eye, “I Never Made 20.” Eventually I snagged a download of the tune* from an old post on Noz’s Cocaine Blunts blog, which includes a quote from UGK’s Bun B about why Royal Flush rapper Rick Royal is one of his five favorite MCs. One listen to “I Never Made 20” is enough to bolster Bun B’s point that Rick Royal is a great songwriter—the MC raps with raw detail about the life of a kid exposed to the harsh realities of poverty at the age of 9, falls deep into dealing drugs as he stumbles through his teen years, and gets killed the day before he turns 20.

I imagine Lance Scott Walker, the writer who put together the text for Houston Rap, anticipated that readers might get distracted hunting down specific songs, which might explain why he put together a Soundcloud mix of H-Town hip-hop songs that’s nearly five hours long. It’s pretty comprehensive, which isn’t surprising given the work that went into Houston Rap, and Walker slotted in big names (Geto Boys, Chamillionaire, UGK, Devin the Dude, DJ Screw) and acts that aren’t well known outside of the city, including Royal Flush. “I Never Made 20” pops up 68 minutes into the mix, which you can stream below—be sure to check out the Soundcloud page for the mix’s full track list.

YouTube video

*I’m still on the hunt for Royal Flush’s 1991 album, 976-Dope, which includes “Never Made 20.” The cheapest vinyl copy available on Discogs costs nearly $70 without shipping.

Leor Galil writes about hip-hop every Wednesday.