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Dive into the hip-hop avant-garde with Junglepussy’s new album ‘JP3’

May 15, 2018
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“I’ve always wanted a project where the music speaks for itself, and I feel like this allows for that,” Shayna McHayle said in a recent interview about her new album, simply titled JP3. From the opening lines of the first song State of the Union, “You think you poppin’ cause your new chick low maintenance / Yeah you can’t handle it and I don’t have the patience,” delivered over swirling cinematic violins and a thumping kick drum, the message is clear: Junglepussy is not here to take prisoners. The song feels like a victory lap from her previous masterpiece Pregnant with Success, and a manifesto for this new one. She is laying claim to her unique position in hip-hop as a feminist, queer-supporting, lyrical (and I mean she has bars) rapper from New York, whose sound ranges from trap bangers to funk jams and mellow vibes.

Nothing else out right now sounds like the album’s single Showers, a washed-out guitar-driven track with a deep 808 and awesome hook, “Took a shower with my chains on.” The guitar on Get Down at first seems to be in a similar direction to Showers, but when 00’s rapper Rico Love comes in, singing “Everybody get downnn,” the song becomes something entirely new. This is one of Junglepussy’s strengths, growing up schooled in the era of Missy Elliot, Lil’ Kim and Kelis, but also at the cutting edge of New York’s modern underground, she fuses various styles with success that few other artists are able to manage. JP and Rico are a dynamic duo on the track, effortlessly switching between rapid-fire raps and infectious sung hooks – “YOU ABOUT TO MAKE ME TEAR THIS CLUB UP” – sung with the passion of a drunk T-Pain at 3am with tears streaming down his face (in the best way possible).

As if the duos couldn’t get more dynamic, Long Way Home features the one-and-only Gangsta Boo, who also raps over an entirely new sound for her – silky ethereal production with a hard beat underneath. The song is a perfect example of McHayle’s ability to deliver humorous lines with a ferocious straight face. “So poppin’, I melt ices / so hot, I cool your crotch” she sings in a sultry voice before delivering the hook-of-the-century, “Feelin’ the dick all up in my armpit / Feelin’ the, feelin’ the dick all up in my armpit.” This sense of humor carries over to the breezy Trader Joe’s, an ode to her healthy lifestyle, both diet-wise and romance-wise – “We don’t f*ck, he just pick me up from Trader Joe’s / Carry all my groceries and lick on all my toes.”

Junglepussy pays homage to her Jamaican ancestry with the wistful dancehall vibes of I’m in Love and reggae guitar clinks of Ready 2 Ride. These songs are a nice change of pace from the hip hop sound of the rest of the album, yet JP’s personality glues them together so they don’t feel out of place. The same holds true with the funky disco bop All of You, on which she sings the gloriously catchy line “I am not fakin,’ not frontin,’ playin,’ baby I want all of you.” It is a welcome treat to hear McHayle experimenting with her sound and embracing the wide range of influences she clearly has.

I Just Want It might be the hardest song on the whole album. JP spits with a relentless flow, “Can’t stand me cause my pussy so righteous / They used to large orders with them chicken fry rices” over a trunk-rattling beat. Then sings the golden hook, “Wanna f*ck me so bad but you never gonna” in a tone with attitude for days. The confidence in her delivery is contagious, more than enough to make you feel like a badass anytime you listen to her. “When I put my first song out, let alone my first project, I just couldn’t believe that there were people on earth who could relate to me because I never felt like I was relatable.” Junglepussy said in a recent interview. “I didn’t know I was making music that empowered people.”

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