ABOVE: STLYING: REY PENA. MAKEUP: MICHAEL ANTHONY.
This afternoon, Junglepussy released her long-awaited debut album, Satisfaction Guranteed, an assortment of multi-faceted anthems that perfectly define the rapping sensation’s layered character. First there’s the seductive (yet hard-hitting) opener “Want Some Mo’,” which finds JP batting her eyes at a cutie, but not before asserting control behind closed doors—”In the bed where I give it you get it but I got it first,” she growls in her low, sensual tone. Then there are club-knockers like the aggressive “Fuck Texting,” wherein the lyricist warns a lover of the consequences of unfaithful texts. The album goes back and forth like this: hard and soft, spiritual and sexual, wise and wild. It acts as an unadulterated exploration of a young, strong woman in her 20s, and takes Junglepussy (along with producer Shy Guy, another name to keep your ears on) to musical depths far beyond her already impressive repertoire. Before she blows up, we spoke to the artist about her digital beginnings, being a health guru, and what’s next.
ALEX CHAPMAN: One thing I think people haven’t asked you—which I think is interesting because it’s a pretty basic question—is how exactly you got into music?
JUNGLPUSSY: It happened really organically. I was just going through life, going through school, being a girl, meeting people, hanging with my friends, and it just came to me. When I was younger, I would always secretly be like, “I want to be a rockstar,” but I never knew if I could really make music. Then Junglepussy innocently came along as a Twitter moniker, and it just took off. People were like, “Who is this girl? Is she a pornstar? Is she a tranny?” They were so confused. I had friends who made music and they would have me ad-lib on their track or do a little verse or host the mixtape. People started to want more from me. I was like, “What? I just did that for my homies, it wasn’t like that.” But the demand was really coming in, and I was like, “You know what? I could do this. Why not? I could try it. I could put something else.”
CHAPMAN: And that’s how “Cream Team” came about.
JUNGLEPUSSY: I just put it out on my Twitter. Then I put a video out and that took off. That was two years ago. This January Erykah Badu put it on her Twitter. I was like, “Erykah Badu? The real, blue checkmark Twitter account?” I was crying. When I wrote that song, I wasn’t thinking it would spread. Anything that happens, I’m so shocked and grateful and humbled. It just proves to me that I’m doing the right thing and I need to keep on pushing, keep on being better, making music, and spreading the word—sharing my thoughts, my insights, feelings, emotions, and experiences.
CHAPMAN: Who are some of the artists you’ve gone through phases with listening-wise?
JUNGLEPUSSY: I love so many people. I get into people for moments at a time, different times of year. I get into people on my own time. I’m not trying to be, “I’m a music connoisseur. I know everything; I know all the rap albums and the years and the producers.” But I go through phases with people like Missy Elliott, Ladysaw, Kelis, Busta Rhymes, Vybz Kartel, Movado, The Veronicas, Metric, Gossip. Soulja Boy phases be OD. Everybody. Artists are human, and they have all existed, so they are all there to learn from and be appreciated and observed.
CHAPMAN: So you wouldn’t necessarily say there’s one key artist that influences you.
JUNGLEPUSSY: I really can’t pinpoint certain people who fully influence me. Humanity influences me: people, life experiences, everything.
CHAPMAN: There has been talk around Satisfaction Guaranteed for a long time, and in that time you’ve grown a lot as an artist, and I’m sure as a person as well. Can you reflect on that time a little bit now that it’s coming to an end?
JUNGLEPUSSY: It’s so weird because some of the songs on the album, I’ll listen to them and, not that they’re so old, but I’m just like, “Wow, I’ve changed.” Not that I regret it, I just can’t believe the growt—not lyrically, but the content. But I wanted that to be an example because I feel like a lot of girls, they are at a certain point where they are making mistakes, getting hurt, putting themselves in bad situations. I feel like the songs that I have on Satisfaction Guaranteed that are rude and crazy, it’s definitely there as an example of what to do and what not to do. It’s also there just to be real—that stuff happens, but you should also know that there are good things happening. I talk about a lot of good stuff on the album.
CHAPMAN: So your views on certain things have changed.
JUNGLEPUSSY: I used to be like, “Ugh, I hate you, boys!” But now I understand the boys have problems too; they’ve got to be men and have society telling them they have to provide and do this and that. It’s hard for them to do that, but when we tell them, “Oh you ain’t shit” that’s not helping really. I mean they OD on us too, but that’s not helping either. That’s why it’s called Satisfaction Guaranteed: I wanted everyone to be satisfied, and satisfied with themselves and just accept. I know it’s hard to change, but if you accept and want to grow and just be a little better, it could be poppin’ for you.
CHAPMAN: Where do you write your songs?
JUNGLEPUSSY: Most of them I’ve written on the train on my way to the studio because I hate going to the studio with nothing to record. That’s corny; I’m not going to the studio to take selfies. I want to go when I have some poppin’ shit to lay down. Each of the songs I was on a certain train going somewhere in a certain train of thought, in a certain vibe. I love riding the train.
CHAPMAN: You’ve also performed a lot since the start of this album-most recently Music Hall of Williamsburg with Le1f, where Bjork was in the audience for your set. How did you feel going into that show?
JUNGLEPUSSY: The Music Hall of Williamsburg show was extra special because two weeks before, I got two tickets to go see one of my favorite bands, The Foreign Exchange, perform there. I was like “I’m getting two tickets, I don’t care who comin’ with me.” I had a date and he flopped, and then my homegirl came and we had mad fun. I really enjoyed it and felt like I got my money’s worth. So I just went along, and next thing you know Le1f was like, “Let’s do it, come on the show!” So we do the show and it was just like, damn, the growth is really starting to show. It was just more reassurance. It is a sigh of relief, but I still know I have to keep on going. I do believe to whom much is given much is required, and I gotta keep on going as these amazing opportunities come to me.
CHAPMAN: You’re starting a health crusade of sorts with your new Instagram, “Taste the Jungle.” How is that a part of your life?
JUNGLEPUSSY: Well, I feel like you only have one body and you have to take care of your body. What you put in is gonna come out. So if you want to look like you come from the Earth, you should put earthly things in your body. You should not put a bunch of chemicals and craziness—then you’re gonna look like a lab rat, and that’s scary. I just wanna help people make healthier choices. I’m not trying to be strict about it, I’m just trying to show people there are nice, healthy alternatives you can do once in a while to break it up. Don’t always eat shit. Eating healthy isn’t that expensive, you can still do it on a budget. Taste the Jungle is gonna show people how to live tropical in America, and how to take things straight from the source. I’m gonna have little events where I have little meal options and show people how they can make it—really interact with people, show them how to eat and live good so they can be out here shining and glowing and having energy and being strong and living life.
CHAPMAN: You’ve always been someone who stands for women, who is proud to be a woman. Is there a particular woman you look up to, or whose actions you try to follow?
JUNGLEPUSSY: The woman in my life who I try to be would definitely be my mother. She knows I try to be like her, she’s always like, “Oh, you wanna be like me so bad!” Honestly, the reason why I try to be better and try to eat better and live better is because of her. She always wants better, always wants to improve—whether it’s the house, herself, her hair, she always wants to do better. And she always wants me to do better, to set my goals higher, to never settle. She always ate healthy, took her vitamins, got cage-free chicken. She’s just a great woman. Love you, Mommy!
FOR MORE ON JUNGLEPUSSY OR TO LISTEN TO SATISFACTION GUARANTEED, VISIT HER SOUNDCLOUD.