Last month, Mike Jones officially began his comeback. Like, the actual Mike Jones. 

He'd always sort of been there, lurking around in the margins, occasionally popping up online for an awkward interview or to retweet something nice somebody had accidentally said about him. But mostly, he remained invisible, his name more a cautionary tale than an inspirational one. No rapper in Houston history—short of maybe South Park Mexican, a convicted sex predator—saw the legs pulled off of his legacy more fervently or aggressively than Jones.

Rumors of a new album have floated around, though, as have rumors that he'd settled his longstanding quarrel with his former label, Asylum, and rumors that he was plotting a return to Houston. (Always rumors with Jones, it appears.) While his probable return to his hometown is a nod to his own unending ambition, it could, ironically, presage something grander: Houston's eventual return to national glory. 

Eight years after Lil Flip, Chamillionaire, Slim Thug, Paul Wall and Jones grabbed rap by the throat, a new generation of local titans has emerged. The new bunch is mean and loud and creative and certainly aware of ideologies and tradition, but not exclusively rooted to either. There are gangsters and smoky-eyed charmers and postmodern street toughs and Tumblr rappers and salt-of-the-earth southern rap aesthetes and so on; at no time in history has there been a more varied collection of talent.

Kirko Bangz has already popped, but if you'll recall, Lil Flip actually emerged first from the fray in 2002, a good two years before the city eventually took advantage. These are the 10 New Houston Rappers to Watch Out For.

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