Honors English
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Honors English

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"State of the Art | Honors English"

The quality of music keeps getting better, the more and more we have the opportunity to experience great music. And experience we did, especially with the February 22nd, 2012 release State of the Art from stellar emcee, Honors English. Now where exactly do we start other than to tell you that this 14-track project is a classic?

No…seriously it is.

Sure there may have been a song or collection of songs that sounded good, but how many projects have felt great just the same? Now at least to our knowledge and opinion it’s been quite some years since and from the moment you press play you can’t help but be reminded why hip hop has, does and will continue to touch the lives of many. What State of the Art by Honors English represents is irrefutably food for the soul. Whether that’s by the inspirational storytelling or the insanely hypnotic head nodding spirit moving production by Needlz, there isn’t a joint on the project that the mind isn’t able to connect with. “…Raps answer to Alicia, give him the keys” as Honors so witily says because H.E. checks in as Hip Hop’s new mayor.

However no laughing matter the identity of who Honors English is distinguished. From track to track, the obvious continues to confirm itself. The dude is nice. Not nice as in cordial, but nice as in skilled. Whether by metaphor or the cadence of his delivery, the songs of Honors English exude confidence and that confidence in turns inspires as he commands each track with indeed something substantial to say.

Standout tracks include: The Name Is…, Highlight Real, Second Chances ft. Karina Pasian, Crazay, Unstoppable ft. TL Cross and Flying High ft. Lupe Fiasco

Setting the pace for 1st quarter of 2012 and beyond, State of the Art is WBM Certified. - Why Blue Matters

"Honors English- State Of The Art (mixtape review)"

Each and every year, I anticipate that rare hip hop jewel. Most hip hop listeners know what I am talking about. If not, then I can shoot frank: I enjoy hearing those unexpected albums being incredibly impressive. That perfect marriage of production and lyrics is everything to the ears. I have heard it with my own ears on such projects in the distant past and close present. In 2012, that time has struck early. One of these projects for this present comes as the album in mixtape form State of the Art by Honors English.

Moment of pure honesty: people will truly love or truly abhor this album. They will feel that way for one simple reason: it is purely over the top.

Honors English wastes little words while giving you a glimpse of his cerebral world. His flow and vernacular clings to the ears and sits within the brain as soon as he introduces songs like “The Name Is…”, “Highlight Real”, and “Crazay”. With “Second Chances”, he goes through how himself, Needlz, and even guest singer Karina Parisian all found “second chances” to attain success. Even on “Palin and Bachman”, Honors makes sure to keep the flow as dumb as the title of the song. And let it not be mentioned that there are very few guest lyricists. And the ones that do show up (TL Cross, Lupe Fiasco, Sunni Patterson, etc.) demonstrate plenty of lyrical ability. Succinctly, State of the Art lacks wack rhymes.

Needlz could be considered a costar on this piece of work, deserving as much praise as Honors. Needlz goes through three different beats on “The Name Is…”. If one listens to this album, they will notice that Needlz leaves very little room for boredom. More than anything, his production is fiercely dynamic enough to keep the attention of people’s ADD issues. From the Outkast interlude included in “Palin and Bachman” toward the end, to the simple drum kick that evolves into emotional pianos on “Cymbals On The Sidewalk”, the beats are made with great care. Needlz really worked to show that he can be as impressive as your Kanye or Big Krit behind the boards. After hearing this album, don’t be surprised if people start talking about Needlz a little more than usual.

This will be a career defining project for Honors English. State of the Art will be that album that many will make reference to at all times. Unless he makes music even greater, this album will be the litmus test for the rest of his work. This will be his gift and his curse. However, I don’t even fear that he will fail. All he needs to do is come with great tracks and even deeper concepts. At the end of the day, it is an honor to document the great music off of State of the Art. - The Digital Dawgs

"Honors English “State of the Art” Review"

Honors English’ “State of the Art” is the dopest album I’ve ever watched. Yes, watched. That wasn’t a typo. I’ll get into it more later, but I just wanted to start by saying that every aspect of this album was done top notch. From the production to the lyrics to the presentation – it’s one of the best all-around projects in years. Independent artist, take notice – the bar has officially been raised. Don’t ask me for a review on your little album until you can surpass what’s been done here.

I haven’t written a review in months and have pretty much kept my opinions to the more mainstream artists. This was so well done, though, that it left me nearly no choice.

In the interest of full disclosure, let me just say that I have worked with Needlz on music before and consider him a close friend of mine, even outside of music. .

Having said that, I also considered each member of Slaughterhouse – as well as their management, girlfriends, sidepieces and fans – friends at one time, before writing my review of their self-titled album for HipHopGame.com. I was especially harsh in the review, which caused our relationships to sever with several members of the group. My reputation and integrity are far too important to me to ever sugar-coat a review for ANYbody. If I didn’t like an album, but wanted to do a favor for someone? I just wouldn’t write anything at all.

Conversely – despite all the public and private bickering Wale and I have done, I thoroughly enjoyed his album and gave it a very favorable review, despite almost wanting to not like it. Again, it’s more important to me that people trust the words that I write and that they’ll always consider my opinion unbiased. It’s always about the music.

Now, on to the project.

Honestly? My expectations for the project were somewhat tempered. While I’m a huge fan of Needlz production and knew that the music would be good, I don’t like many rappers. I had heard a few of the songs really early on in the project and wasn’t hooked on English (then going by the moniker “E-Clipz”). I really didn’t like his voice. Also, having just finished creating my fourth album, I had a strong understanding for just how difficult of a process it is. Despite being a great producer, Needlz had no experience building an album from the ground up. I expected growing pains. I’ve always offered to share my experiences with him, but many things you just have to learn through trial and error.

Man, was I wrong about the growing pains? Needlz did such an impressive job on this that I’m almost embarrassed it took me four tries to create Sorry I’m Late. First off – this is NOT a solo album, much like SIL wasn’t a John Regan album. Sorry was a Culture VI collaboration album by John, YZ and myself. Much the same way, State of the Art is a collaboration between Needlz and Honors English.

Let’s start with the obviously standout – the production. This is, by far, one of the greatest produced hip-hop albums of this entire era. I am not saying that as an exaggeration. This album, top to bottom, has nothing but amazing music behind it. It keeps you engaged. It had energy. It pushed the boundaries. Needlz has been responsible for some amazing music before, but this might’ve been his greatest ever work.

For example, he starts off the album with “The Name Is”, where he displays not one, not two, but three beats that might’ve been the three best beats on many other rappers’ albums. It switches at each verse and each beat outdoes the previous one. It sets such a mood and expectation for the album. An expectation that it somehow manages to meet and exceed.

The drums and the sample on Crazy are….well…..crazazy! The bounce on Palin and Bachman, the emotion on Unstoppable – perfect. Burn spends 3 minutes vibing without drums, only to have percussion and an choir sample come in and add a new energy. The album is full of gems like this.

And Cymbals on the Sidewalk?? That song should have it’s one fucking review. I - Culture VI Experience

"Honors English Brings Higher Education To Hip-Hop"

Fire Starter: Honors English

Essential info: Honors English isn't just rapping for the sake of rapping. So know that the Trenton, New Jersey, rap rookie has the attention of his growing audience, and he fully intends to use his rhymes wisely.

"I got an opportunity to go to school and do my thing in that way, and I wanted to give back in a lot of ways in terms of the music. Take what I learned and add it to hip-hop," Honors told Mixtape Daily.

English is the MC's given last name, but he adopted the Honors moniker from the time he spent in school. The skill that he would use to write term papers is the same skill that he uses to write densely packed rap verses. "A lot of times I'll rewrite a song a couple of times, like I'm writing a paper," he said. "I'll rewrite it, rewrite it, rewrite it till it's right."

Mixtape Daily: Honors English's 'State Of The Art'

To say Honors' lyrics are right may be a bit of an understatement. On his Needlz-produced State of the Art mixtape, the nimble-tongued rapper who now resides in Tallahassee, Florida, spits intricately laid bars alongside rap notables like Freeway and Lupe Fiasco. On "Crazay," English employs clever wordplay, spitting rhymes like, "I swiss beats and turn 'em to vegan cheese/ I'm rap's answer to Alicia, now give me the keys."

While "Crazay" is all about wordplay, "Second Chances" is a storytelling joint in which a different narrative is told in each verse. In the song's second verse, English breaks down his producer Needlz's battle with cancer. It's all pretty heavy.

"We wanted to do a project about what we love about hip-hop," he said. "Modern, something that had content but at the same time was not just trying to beat you over the head with a particular message. Making sure that it's still entertainment, it's still accessible." - MTV

"Music Review : Honors English - State Of The Art"

Real recognizes real, and now a days the term real is thrown around to loosely. However real is a term I can use confidently to describe the Honors English - State of The Art. The project produced mainly by Needlz is very well produced and and very well orchestrated followed by genuine lyrics. Anyone familiar with the music game and it’s current state knows there is an easier way into the game, which is turn on the radio and try your hardest to sound like everyone else and hope to join the stream of artist making music to make money or join the stream garbage. This is not the case with Honors English. He does him, and only him. You can tell all of his music comes from the heart and he is doing nothing more then making the best music he can make, which is what HipHop is really about.

It’s hard from first listen to try and find the direction the project is going in, but it’s interesting enough to keep listening. lets start with the beats. They are front to back all on point from the hard hitting drums to the use of samples and fill in sounds. It feels like Needlz found a way to take the roots from where HipHop came and modernize it without loosing it’s integrity. Samples now days are usually used for the more rugged artist such as Alchemist, Evidence or Jedi Mind Tricks, Dj Premiere etc. but here they are used a little differently, The breaks in the songs are crazy and put exactly where they are needed, Needlz doesn’t over or under produce anything on this project.
On the lyrics side you can tell Honors English puts thought into what he’s saying. He stays away from rapping about the usual bejamins and Bently’s and sticks to what he knows and what he’s been though or what is really going on in our society. He fully aware of our societies state and seems to want to spread the word and bring awareness to the his fans and soon to be fans on songs like “State of the Art”.
Overall there is something for everyone, from the streets to the HipHop heads and music lovers in general. Honors English pours his heart out and shows his talents and abilities on songs like “Short Story”, where he has an actual interview with Rick Ross (the real Rick Ross). He tells really personal stories about his radio Dj friend, Needles and his mom on “Second Chances”. Although he has a lot of features from some of the biggest artist in the game such as Freeway and Lupe Fiasco he is never out shined. He proves it with his word play on “Crazay” he says, “I’ll just run over two track at a time/ like they railroad/ Crosses/ Sprint like on your mark get set go/ Hard Shit/ Cuz I Swiss beats and turn to beef and cheese/ I’m raps answer to Alicia/ Now give me the keys”.
There are many more high points then there are low points. Other then reusing the monster sample that Swiss beats used for Cassidy the only other lowest point to me was “Flying High” but even that was not to bad. On the high side I love the creativity on the song “State of the Art” ft Sunni Patterson and Lance Powlis. It’s like poetry, honesty, story telling and talking, all over a beautifully orchestrated track, this originality is what we’ve missing. Along with bangin track’s like “Highlight real”
I now have Honors English on My list of Artist to watch in 2012, And after a listen to “State Of Art” I think a lot of Hiphop fans will to. - SESSIONS DAILY

"Honors English – STATE OF THE ART (Mixtape)"

When I heard this project at a listening session a few months ago, I was rather impressed. With the likes of Bink! and Needlz handling the production duties, chances are you may enjoy this too. Tracklist and link down bottom. - 2 DOPE BOYZ

"Honors English Details Needlz' Role In "State of the Art,""

Exclusive: Honors English explains his deep ties to Grammy Award-winning producer Needlz and expounds on, "I'm Troy Davis until I'm Casey Anthony, meaning I am guilty till I have proven my humanity.

“I ask cause I'm not sure / Do anybody make real shit any more?” That couplet is of course from Kanye West's worldwide 2007 hit “Stronger” , but the second half of that line is sampled, and subsequently reinterpreted, for the chorus of a track on Honors English's State Of The Art called “Anybody Go Hard.” Kanye's sentiment serves almost as a challenge of for Honors English, whose debut attempts to regain the chance he lost at a successful career several years ago.

Although State Of The Art is English's debut, he is far from a rookie in the game. While working on three separate projects in the early 2000s, a bubbling career quickly hit the skids when every one seemed to fall through at the same time, forcing him to reconsider his choice to be an emcee altogether. English took it as a sign and went back to school (this choice was later inspiration for his mother to get a degree herself, which he highlights on his third verse of “Second Chances”) and he still hasn't left – when not recording, he teaches at the same university where he received his graduate degree in History.

Kanye's line informs quite a bit of what you can expect from State Of The Art. The former New Jersey native and current Tallahassee resident strives to make as impactful of a statement as possible on this release, a free offering that was a year-long labor of love constructed by both English and Grammy Award-winning producer (and longtime associate) Needlz. The album speaks to both meanings of its title, critiquing Hip Hop for slipping while doing everything it can to elevate the genre to its creative pinnacle. English and Needlz address both successfully by using a precise attention to detail: lean but potent storytelling coupled with wordplay that maintains its density from bar to bar and a soundtrack that's engineered to pull out as much emotion as possible from every possible line. It's that intensity and passion that drives an album that doesn't target the underground or mainstream but instead tries something much more daring: appeal to both without sacrificing an ounce of what it takes to succeed in either market.

Make no mistake about it, State Of The Art is a potent statement several years in the making, and with Needlz expertly crafting a sound English himself has had a large part in constructing, the album is easily one of the most fully realized works of a young 2012. HipHopDX was fortunate enough to speak with Honors English a few days after State Of The Art dropped, and by phone English admitted that he believes labels are underselling the intelligence of their audience, detailed that he and Needlz had an equal say on every aspect of the album, and explained that a series of recurring dreams made him decide to return to Hip Hop.

HipHopDX: I'd seen in other interviews that you've basically been writing since you were about nine years old. What drew you to Hip Hop in the first place? Do you remember your first experience being exposed to Hip Hop and Hip Hop culture?

Honors English: Well, my parents first of all. My earliest memory of Hip Hop was my mom listening to Run-DMC on a long trip to Texas, and I learned the whole CD, or tape I guess it was at that time. I memorized the whole thing on the trip. Also, there was my pops. He bought [Boogie Down Productions'] album back in the day. Edutainment was the name of the album. He bought that for me when I was young. [He said]“Listen to this. This is Hip Hop with content,” so that kind of influenced just what I thought about music in general. It was like “Okay, my parents are listening to Hip Hop,” so it wasn't something that's like where Hip Hop is now, where parents are getting kids to not listen to it or whatever a lot of times. It was kind of different in that era. It's like they basic - Hip Hop DX

"The Break Presents: Honors English"

New Jersey native Honors English recently teamed up with producer Needlz, and the two cooked up some new music that will be released on The State of the Art on February 22… - XXLMag.com



1. Intro
2. The Name Is...
3. Anybody Go Hard
4. Highlight Real
5. Second Chances
6. Crazay
7. Palin And Bachman (yeah!)
8. Unstoppable
9. Burn
10. Cymbals On The Sidewalk
11. State Of The Art
12. Short Story Long
13. Flying High
14. Priceless
15. Higher Rebels



Class is in session…with Honors English.

In an era where hip-hop and pop culture are almost one in the same, Honors English takes us back to the true essence of hip-hop as its own art form. With a keen ear for soulful rhythms, Honors English is dedicated to organic and experimental sounds that will get listeners to pay attention to more than the beat.

Born and raised in Trenton, NJ, Honors English is a true scholar of hip-hop. His love for rhyming started in the booth with his uncle Divine, who produced for the legendary hip-hop group Poor Righteous Teachers. ‘My first recording with him was at 13…my uncle gave me an appreciation for raw hip-hop,’ recalls English. During those early years, you could always catch Honors walking around with a boom box or battling with his friends.

Honors brought his rhyming skills all the way down to the halls of Florida A&M University, where he majored in African-American Studies. He was known around campus for his battle raps and soon met Serius Jones and producer Needlz (Ludacris, Fabolous, 50 Cent). It wasn’t long before they formed a group called First Ave. The collective got so popular with street singles like "Jersey State of Mind" that they were up for a record deal with Atlantic Records in 2001. Unfortunately, the deal fell through and the guys went their separate ways.

After the group disbanded, Honors took a break from hip-hop to become a professor of history. During that time, he also embarked on a deeply spiritual journey that transformed his ways of thinking and teaching. ‘My vision changed and forced me to develop as a person,’ says Honors. That development turned into months of writing that inspired his latest solo work entitled State of the Art.

Now that Honors English is back in the booth, he is more focused than ever. ‘I write all the time…I am a constant note taker of life.’ Honors has reunited with Needlz to create State of the Art, a collection of sample-based musical compositions and uplifting rhymes.
Songs like "Cymbals on the Sidewalk", an unprecedented play of words and music, will have you in awe. Songs like "Flying High"; where H.E. spars uplifting verses with huge Honors English supporter Lupe Fiasco, will raise your spirit. And the lyrics in songs like "The Name Is" will undoubtedly close the deal.

Honors prides himself in letting his career take shape organically. ‘There’s no one official single…we’re just doing videos and coming up with concepts based on what feels right.’ Honors English takes his lessons in life very seriously, and desires a long-standing career without compromise of his voice or his sound. ‘I want to make a brand that’s human and natural…I love to make music that has feeling to it.’

And with his origins, it’s no wonder that class is officially in session.