When asked recently to elaborate on the meaning behind her musical persona, 26-year-old New York City artist Shayna McHale conjured an excellent analogy. “With Junglepussy, people are always like, ‘Is it an alter-ego?’” she told Dazed. “[Myself and Junglepussy are] very much one and the same. My true self is just a nice fluffy ball of yarn, and Junglepussy is a beautiful knitted sweater.”
Wholesome imagery indeed, but just wait until you hear McHale’s third Junglepussy project ‘JP3’. The follow-up to her 2015 album ‘Pregnant With Success’ and 2014 debut mixtape ‘Satisfaction Guaranteed’ – a solid pair of projects which saw the New Yorker develop a cult following that counts the likes of Nicki Minaj and Erykah Badu among its ranks – ‘JP3’ is a snappy and totally-NSFW creation that’s certainly worthy of your attention this summer.
Having taken a short sabbatical from music to build up her profile in both the art and fashion worlds in the past few years, McHale – or should we say Junglepussy – marks her return to action with ‘JP3’’s agenda-setting opener ‘State Of The Union’. A woozy, chopped-up orchestral backing lays down the foundations for her to deliver the album’s first eminently quotable remarks to the people, which includes the wonderful couplet “my birthday Halloween so I’m freakier than you / Eating jerk chicken while I’m finessing in the booth”.
Junglepussy’s not averse to talking a big game, with her dexterous flow, gripping bars and penchant for a punchline keeping us very much on our toes throughout the record. There’s the XXX-rated love songs ‘Trader Joe’ – named after the US store, which, in our narrator’s humble opinion, is almost as good as a love interest who will happily “carry all my groceries and lick on all my toes” – and ‘Long Way Home’, with the latter seeing Junglepussy go bar-for-bar with Three 6 Mafia MC Gangsta Boo around a joyful hook which contains the phrase “feeling the dick all up in my armpit”.
She also calls upon former Ratking rapper Wiki for a NYC-driven spot on ‘Ocean Floor’, which references Chris Rock’s spoken-word segment on Kanye West’s ‘Blame Game’ as she coos about “the part of Pussytown you’ve never seen before”. There’s bright, pop-y horns here, too: representative of Junglepussy’s willingness to embrace an array of sounds with her latest project.
That openness works on the likes of the shimmering neo-disco of ‘All of You’, which finds Junglepussy imploring for “your mind, your soul, your whole soul”: you’ll certainly take her hand on the dancefloor after hearing this, anyway. Though you’ll probably find yourself heading for the safety of the bar once the murky and unimaginative ‘Get Down’ comes on – which, in the context of its early position on the album as track two, briefly threatens to spoil the ‘JP3’ party entirely. Thankfully, though, that’s not the case: having donned her charming Junglepussy sweater once again, there’s plenty of fun, filth and frills to go around with McHale’s latest venture.