East New York, Brooklyn rapper Junglepussy’s presence in person is just as energetic and magnetic as it is on wax. When not in rapper mode, the MC born Shayna McHayle still jokes and blesses ears with witty statements. And whether she’s defending the state of hip-hop in her native New York City, or clowning the many men intimated by her steely swag, she doesn’t slack one iota in her strong opinions.

Thanks to Junglepussy’s bravado-laced 16s, and the #RelationshipGoals content she impeccably lays down in the studio, the estrogen-filled MC has been abuzz in the City of Dreams for a few years now. Yes, we know: every other rapper is boastful and sometimes raps about relationships. But JP’s braggadocio isn’t over-the-top. Instead, she slides across as more confident than boastful, which unfortunately frightens away potential baes. That being said, this explains Junglepussy’s slinging her pen about what an independent, intelligent woman really wants in a man.

“Really, in my music I want it to be a tool,” she says. “Like, listen to this and you’ll get some balls, or you’ll feel powerful. So I have to throw those things in there. Because so many guys are bragging, they cussing us out, and they calling us all kinds of names. So I’m like, I’m about to do it.”

After her fiery, unique YouTube single “Cream Team” hit the ’net back in 2013, the six foot tall former design student has been consistently great on the 2014 mixtape Satisfaction Guaranteed and her debut album, 2015’s Pregnant with Success. Thanks in part to her go-to producer Shy Guy, Junglepussy’s distinctive sound has made her one of the Rotten Apple’s most promising MCs. She’s even racked up respect from music vet Erykah Badu, who gave the budding rhymeslinger some Twitter love.

Junglepussy recently dropped by EBONY.com’s Manhattan offices, where she discussed relationships, being a Black woman in America, where she gets her confidence from and much more.

EBONY: Your “Country Boy” single offended me, because I’m from Mississippi. Why’d you go there?

Junglepussy: [laugher] People always coming to New York, and I was feeling mad New York, and people still feel like the South got the flavor, they got the heat. Everybody felt like people are not being New York enough, or being like other people, so I was like: “Okay, let me be mad New York and rude and talk sh*t about people who are not from New York.”

EBONY: Tell us your personal opinion on the state of New York hip-hop.

Junglepussy: I’m not mad at it. People just seeing what they want to see. New York, it’s definitely getting better. A few years ago people were like, “Oh, music sucks.” But people are having way more fun with it now. I feel like the state of hip-hop is growing. But just like anything else that you love, you’re going to be mad at it, love it, you’re going to want it to be something that it doesn’t want to be. I just take it like that.

EBONY: What I love about your sound is that your boasting comes off as more confident than just talking sh*t.

Junglepussy: I didn’t notice it until you just said it. But I do like to tell myself things that I like to hear. I don’t want to wait for other people to tell me; I tell myself.

EBONY: So you get confidence by telling yourself what you want to hear?

Junglepussy: You can ask anybody in my family: I was so shy. I used to wear glasses, and in high school I started wearing contacts. And when I got those contacts, it was a new chapter for me. Then I had this four-year internship in high school with Marc Eckō, He had this company called Sweat Equity Enterprises. I wanted to be a designer. He would get us freelance jobs. We got to make a hat with New Era, a coat with Eckō, a watch with Timex. We got to do so much cool sh*t and get samples for it, and samples for our portfolio. 

I would say that’s what really helped me get my confidence. Because anytime we had an idea, we had to produce a product from inspiration to final sample. We had to come up with ideas, pitch and convince Marc on why our sh*t deserved to be made. Every week we were sharing ideas, and nobody knows us, and you just had to know how to make them like it. That helped me a lot. I had to speak up in front of people. 

EBONY: You like to draw parallels between the surface and things that are profound.

Junglepussy: That’s how I feel. That’s something literal and thoughtful. With the name Junglepussy, dudes be coming at me with this corny sh*t like, “I’m Tarzan, let me be your Jungledick.” It’s the difference between the surface and just diving deeper. And being outside, being in nature, that’s much better. But everybody just wants to give me leopard panties.

EBONY: Does that sound like a cover-up to hide their insecurities?

Junglepussy: Yes, guys are intimated by me, and it sucks for them because I’m mad funny. I be like, “Y’all still scared. So I’ll just keep being funny.” Guys these days, they want to be with a girl that’s going to make them look better. I feel like they want somebody that’s popping, but not really popping. Guys are so annoying.

EBONY: I can tell from your music that you really want a relationship.

Junglepussy: That’s what life is about. We’re here because of our parents. Even if they’re not together now, they were feeling a way. I know it’s nice that everyone is on their grind and wants to be successful, but they will all be mad lonely and old with all their money and no one to share it with. Everyone just wants to be alone and it blows my mind.

EBONY: With your confidence, is it hard being a woman in an industry dominated by men?

Junglepussy: Just being a Black woman in general is like a full-time job. Coming into music is no different. It’s still a White man’s world, and I’m maneuvering through it. I just take the same approach, brag here and there, and remind myself that I’m fully capable and equipped to be amongst these people. I know women have faced a lot more than I have, and it sucks.

EBONY: Is being single something that worries you?

Junglepussy: You know, I talk to God, and I tell him that if this has to be my life story, and I have to live in this perspective and call guys out, if I have to be single forever, then let me know. But if I’m supposed to grow and be with someone, then I don’t want to be complaining about guys forever. 

I don’t want to complain. I want to communicate with more people, not just people who are fed up with guys and relationships. With my new music, I want to talk about feelings still. But you know when you hear a song and you get a vibe, and you just take it for what it is? That’s what I want to do.