The album cover of Satisfaction Guaranteed
Early into the second song on Junglepussy’s excellent debut album Satisfaction Guaranteed, she raps, “How dope is this? Teach you how to grow and live.” The line—rapped quickly, with her rollicking flow, kind of like a slinky expanding and contracting with each breath—also works as Junglepussy’s motto. She’s here to please you, help you, teach you, and, most importantly, introduce you to her tropical lifestyle.
It took nearly two years since her first song, “Cream Team,” and even Erykah Badu asking for more, but the 22-year-old FIT student formerly known as Shayna McHale finally came through with a self-help album for the people. “I wasn’t like I want to make music so that I could be amazing and everybody would love me,” she said when we met yesterday afternoon for an interview. “People really wanted me to do it. The people were asking me to share my thoughts and views on things, and I can’t deny them of that.”
On Satisfaction Guaranteed, Junglepussy teaches you how to eat, date, text, and live the life of a take-no-shit power bitch, all over a set of lush, deep, and dark beats by Shy Guy and Mel Masters. Girls, take notes. Guys, try not to catch too many feelings. Everyone—put this on heavy rotations for maximum effect.
Do your four- and six-year-old little sisters know about Junglepussy?
Not yet. I need them to find out on their own. Even though she was on my phone the other day and saw the album artwork. She was like, "Is that Beyoncé?" I was like, "No, that’s me." She was like, "Oh, you look good!" That was so cute. I love them so much.
How would you explain the name to them?
I would just have to tell them the real original story.
It started out with me loving loving animal prints. I had it on my clothes, curtains, cups—everywhere. I felt like a little jungle animal around all of these animal prints and exotic patterns, and the name "Junglepussy" came up. Females have pussies, so it’s the most feminine word ever, and jungle—it could be wild, but it’s also beautiful to me. Twitter came out, and I just wanted to have a name that nobody was going to steal. So I was like, I could use Junglepussy... People were like, "Are you a stripper? Are you a porn star? Are you a tranny?" No, I am a natural-born girl. You see my throwback-Thursday pics? I was a baby girl, and I just liked animal prints. I’m not even that wild, but I took the responsibility of it. I didn’t run from the name because I felt that in my heart I knew it wasn’t anything crazy or degrading. I knew it was everybody else’s reaction that was making it what it is, so I decided to stick it out and see what would come from it.
Photo by Miyako Bellizzi
How has the perception evolved?
People are more scared of the jungle than the pussy. Pussycat Dolls, Pussy Riot, Josie and the Pussycats have all been out. Dick Cheney, Dick Clark, all these men named Dick, have been publicized on television and everywhere. It’s not that crazy. I think it is the jungle more than the pussy that scares people.
What is it about the jungle?
That’s what I want to know. Y’all need to tell me. What scares you about the jungle?
The idea of a strong, self-reliant jungle woman is intimidating to the masses. What is feminism to you?
Black feminism is the same as feminism for any race. But black women do have more problems and struggles and tribulations than... All women have problems, but I’m black so I’m more familiar with those of black girls.
Hair is important to a lot of black girls because we can’t just wake up, shake, and go. We really go through a lot of maintenance to come out of the house. Each of my hairstyles is JP—is Shayna. I used to do a bunch of crazy hair in high school like blue, red, shaved, short hair. I just started growing. I feel like I’m turning into a woman through my hair.
Photo by Miyako Bellizzi
What does this style mean?
This is more like freedom. I don’t have to worry; it’s very carefree for me. It makes me focus on more important things in life. My grandfather always told me, "Don’t worry about your hair or your face. We can’t worry about those things. We can't control our looks all the time, but we do what we can."
How would you describe yourself?
I like to be peaceful and serene. I like to be prosperous to strive for better—always. I like to help my friends. I like to be with my family. I love tanning.
Your album and outlook are so self-help-oriented. Anything else in the works?
I definitely want to do some more girl-empowerment stuff and have little conventions all around where girls can meet and talk about things that they don’t get to talk about on Twitter with hating-ass bitches. We could just come together and talk and learn from each other and grow together. I’m planning it out.
Photo by Miyako Bellizzi
Black power is a big part of your Twitter aesthetic.
I’m all for black power. I’m not for black power that’s criticizing other races. I am for black people embracing themselves and their culture and everything that comes with it instead of people just taking our culture from us and telling us who we are—that we’re ghetto. We’re just black. It’s who we are. If we just come to good terms with that we can all begin to learn.
What are your goals?
I want to see who I’m going to be if I keep learning and bettering myself. That’s my goal. Everyday I just want to improve. I want to live in the moment too and just be conscious of all that I have.
How do you actively work to improve?
I write a lot of lists. I write a lot in general. I meditate and I ask for more patience, understanding, and compassion.
Was the “Picky Bitch Checklist” one of those lists?
Yeah, that one is dumb long. I always write lists, every day. It’s things I have to do, thoughts I have, different ideas. If it’s an important list, like, I’ll have a Wednesday to-do list and I’ll make it my lock screen pic so I just know what I got to do. You need to be very organized.
Is it only to-do lists?
I write so much now that I have books where I write happy thoughts, books where I write sad thoughts, books where I write my lyrics, books where I write poetry, books where I write video ideas and song concepts. Now I got all these books... One day I need to go through and edit them, refine everything, and perfect it, so it’s a nice collection of information and not just scribble scrabble.
You can make it into a multi-volume book.
I definitely want to do books. I want to do cooking shows. Taste of the Jungle is my guide to healthier choices and how to live tropical in America.
The back of Satisfaction Guaranteed
How does one live tropical in America?
Eating as many fruits and vegetables as possible and the smallest amount of processed foods as possible. It’s a fun thing to do because I feel so much better when I don’t eat things that are made from names that I can’t pronounce. I feel so much cleaner and more energized, and I just want to show people there are options. You don’t have to eat shit. Now you don’t have to wonder why I look like I’m glowing.
I hear that if you eat a lot of fruits your pussy tastes good too.
That’s what they say. Another good perk. I heard that I do taste very delicious—magically delicious. Just drink water, flush the kitty out so everything is nice and clean.
With this album, what satisfaction are you guaranteeing?
The satisfaction of your own individuality. The satisfaction of your own uniqueness. The satisfaction of being you, expressing, learning, and growing. People are so hard to satisfy nowadays. It’s hard, but I try.
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