Junglepussy – ‘JP4’ review: rapper and alt-rocker is as wild as her moniker suggests

28-year-old New Yorker Shayna McHayle blends genres with untamed abandon, the result a cohesive and compelling collection that could only be her own

She boasts a wild fan base and an even wilder moniker, and Junglepussy’s fourth album is stuffed with thrillingly jagged bangers that see her further her unique approach to rap. New York MC Shayna McHayle, who is also an actor and appeared US sketch show Random Acts of Flyness in 2018, graced the world with ‘JP3’ two years ago after a three-year hiatus. This stunning record picks up the thread, blending commercial rap with alt-rock and even a dash of funk.

Releasing the singles ‘Main Attraction’ and ‘Arugula’ ahead of ‘JP4’, Junglepussy set the for an album full of sex-positive, empowering tunes, just as she always has. ‘Main Attraction’ pops with quirky one-liners: “All you undercover lovers / Hold my dick from a distance”. As she switches between an innocent higher register in the chorus and her rougher rapping register the verse, ‘Main Attraction’ is a short-and-sweet tune that’s way more radio-ready than you might expect of an artist named Junglepussy.

The languid ‘Stamina’ features Gangsta Boo, the first lady of Southern hip-hop legends Three 6 Mafia. An understated track wrapped around a low-key, mellow beat, it’s one for the misunderstood outcasts who can still be, in Megan Thee Stallion‘s words, hot girls. Boo reminds newly emerged city girls and boys that all the pimping and tricking they’re talking about is not new – and she has a message for clingy men: “New number, who dis, hoe?”. Gangsta Boo has helped to pave the way for salacious talk in the mainstream today (hello, ‘WAP’) and here takes her iconic crown (which is too often overlooked).

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When Junglepussy moves away from her pop-rap sound, she gives us alternative slaps such as the jazzy ‘I Can’t Wait’, where she plays with pitch and tempo as Brooklyn R&B singer Ian Isiah’s ethereal vocals remind the world that “brown skin popping / Need a pot of gold”. The slightly off-centre ‘What You Want’ packs space-age, screaming synths and squealing guitars; Junglepussy’s autotuned vocals, meanwhile, are ridiculously catchy, reminiscent of the vocal delivery on Foster The People’s influential 2011 psych-pop hit ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ .

Only a few can do what McHayle does: she brings together a multitude of sounds, scoping multiple genres, and somehow the result is a cohesive and enduring record. There is, surely, something for everyone here. Junglepussy is – ironically, given that attention-grabbing moniker – often overlooked. Yet she is a force to be reckoned with. Pay attention.

Details

Release date: Friday 23

Record label: Friends Of / Jagjaguwar

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