Houston is a hip-hop city through and through. We birthed the Geto Boys, UGK, Slim Thug and Paul Wall, just to name a select few. But in the past two or three years, the scene has seen an influx of new blood, raised not just on hip-hop and R&B but also on punk rock and metal. That intermingling has given us new superstars in the making like Fat Tony, B L A C K I E and Ill Liad, who add a tint of spikiness and an old-school thrash sensibility to their beats and verses. The one to make the biggest splash so far has been the jet-setting Fat Tony, who began playing smallish shows upstairs at Boondocks and graduated to opening for the Wu-Tang Clan and Snoop Dogg in the past year. Meanwhile, B L A C K I E keeps digging into more and more industrial sounds, becoming more of a noise act in the grand tradition of Houston legends like Rusted Shut, and Ill Liad is back after a personal and spiritual detour with new album Dope 6ic.