“They waiting for Junglepussy” —Junglepussy, “State of the Union”
Yes, we are, but can you blame us? It’s been nearly three years since 26-year-old New York rapper Junglepussy released her sophomore album, Pregnant With Success. The album celebrated womanhood, her own Blackness, and what it means to navigate her New York. It resonated. Since PWS, JP has toured Europe, lectured at Columbia and Yale, and made her own Junglepussy brand beverage, among a litany of other endeavors, all while scores of fans constantly asked her, “Where’s the album?”
Well, the album is here.
Following the guffawing and introspection of Pregnant With Success, Junglepussy’s latest album, JP3, deals in assuredness and absolute jams. This much was made clear last December when JP and fellow NYC rapper Wiki first performed their sinuous pussy-eating anthem, “Ocean Floor,” during the latter's headlining show at Irving Plaza. To see Junglepussy live is to be caught in a studded vice grip. She commands the stage and the mic with the same languid, sensual energy. As she strutted on stage, the tone was not so much erotic as it was cosmic.
With that, JP3 opens as lush and declarative. “State of the Union” is a becoming album intro, triumphant and assertive. Her delivery is automatic and piercing, and in typical Junglepussy fashion, each bar is as visceral as it is quotable. JP displayed a comedic timing on much of Pregnant With Success, which, three years later, has evolved into something all the more bombastic and empowered; “State of the Union” is merely a taste of what’s to come.
Thematically, JP3 is squarely about pleasure and demands. Surprise: Junglepussy has needs to be met (“I Just Want It”), and in the event someone tries to stop her from being satisfied, she will get her way (“I’m In Love”). It’s no coincidence that these two tracks and themes follow each other sequentially on the album; this is the JP3 mission statement. Everything exists in the service of pleasure, which is a radical thought when we consider how women’s pleasure has been decentered in hip-hop on the whole.
Take “Get Down,” which sonically slots right into a forward-thinking ballroom scene. The track is driven by equal parts sexual freedom and hilarity as JP dips into some ballooning and cartoonish inflections. “Call me if you’re horny, it’s alright / right, right, right,” JP croons with a lilt in her voice, doing double time to give the song some buoyancy and put things into perspective: isn’t it ridiculous how ashamed we are of desire?
In a recent interview with Paper Mag, JP revealed that she is enamored with love songs, an influence that breathes life into the album, adding another layer to the already sunny and seductive foundation. “All of You” is a breezy funk-serenade, while “Trader Joe” basks in a cheeky, schoolyard admission: “I think I like him more than I like Trader Joe's / I'll swallow kids if he start eatin' vegetables.” For all its pep, “Trader Joe” finds tenderness in specificity and arrives at self-love. JP describes her perfect man on the first verse (“New York n***a with the love for Arizonas”), but by the end of the cut, she’s too busy celebrating herself to be bothered. Pick her up from the store, but you won’t be coming up, type beat.
On “Get Down,” JP promises to keep it tight, and while we know what she really means, this is also a subtle nod to the leanness of JP3: 10 tracks, just over 30 minutes of content. The production is furthest from stale, boasting notes of jazz and ballroom, packed with bright horns and stringy, coiling synths. The keys on JP3 go from stride to melody, giving the whole album a beveled texture. JP accomplishes more in 30 minutes than most artists could in an hour.
Yet, the album is succinct to a fault. It’s altogether refreshing to get a 10-track, 30-minute album, and “Showers” is the blueprint for a tender closing cut, but something about the conclusion of JP3 feels unsatisfying. Opening with “State of the Union,” and with all the high-highs that pepper the tracklist, it’s almost certain that JP had more to say.
The transition from “Trader Joe” to “Showers” isn’t rough, but it feels as if there is something unspoken between the two tracks. Yes, “Trader Joe” is its own brand of tender that might sonically empty into “Showers,” but thematically, technically, it feels as if Junglepussy did not get the last word on the album. So while JP3 proves Junglepussy has arrived, has always been present, and loves her damn self, the album also leaves us wondering how much was lost in the shuffle.
JP3 is grand because Junglepussy makes it so. The album is far from unrealized, and might even be more alluring with the sense of omission that permeates its close. JP3 succeeds when we hear Junglepussy making music for her own pleasure, where pleasure is what makes the album hit. JP3 will go down as a pivotal moment for Junglepussy: a sign of growth since Pregnant With Success and a promise of the punches to come. Perhaps she will consider releasing a director’s cut.
Three Standout Tracks
“State of the Union”
A triumphant and booming album intro, "State of the Union" makes clear that Junglepussy did not come to play. Boasting one of the best flows on the record, the track is dripping in JP confidence and an untouchable wordplay.
“Get Down” ft. Rico Love
The most addictive track on the album, “Get Down” gets you in the mood and reminds you not to feel bad for getting turned on. With her cartoonish inflections and a sinewy assist from Rico Love, "Get Down" is a wonderful sex-positive earworm—exactly what we need this summer.
“Ocean Floor” ft. Wiki
Do: play this while driving down to the beach this summer. Don’t: tell DJ Khaled about this song.