“North Highlands California” is an Extended Play (EP) by Munchie, released under Cushite Records in 1997. This cassette EP reflects the artist’s initial foray into the Hip Hop music industry, setting a foundation for his signature Gangsta style.
The EP features two standout tracks: “North Highlands California,” the title track, and “Return Of The Half Dead.” “North Highlands California” offers a lyrical homage to the neighborhood from which Munchie hails, revealing a narrative thread that connects to his personal experiences and reflections. Clocking in at 5:35, the track is a journey through the cultural, societal, and personal elements of life in North Highlands.
The second track, “Return Of The Half Dead,” is a unique introspection into Munchie’s journey and struggles, marking a thematic transition from the external to the internal. The song runs for 5:15, and through his gritty storytelling, Munchie channels his experiences into a lyrical form that resonates with the listener on a personal level.
Behind the scenes, the EP was engineered and recorded by Mark Hatchfield at Live Wire Studios, which provided the necessary production environment to capture Munchie’s raw energy and authenticity. Doug “The Flicc” Taker is credited with the photography for the EP, complementing Munchie’s musical narrative with a visual counterpart that aptly frames the artist’s world.
Andre Craver, real name of Munchie, was not only the performer but also the producer for this project. This early musical endeavor showcased his abilities not just as a rapper, but also as a producer, setting a solid foundation for his career. “North Highlands California” served as Munchie’s first release and a precursor to his later work, such as the subsequent album “Prepare Yourself.” The EP stands as an intimate exploration of Munchie’s origins, both geographically and artistically, providing a critical insight into his journey as an artist.