Meet Flyana Boss, The BFF Rap Duo Sprinting To The Top
Their aplomb, authenticity, and tight friendship have made them perfect viral sensations.
After years of only going “baby viral,” Flyana Boss can finally say they’ve gone viral.
You probably already recognize best friends Folayan and Bobbi LaNea, the Los Angeles-based rap duo who over the past few months have been literally sprinting all over TikTok’s FYP to the chorus of their infectious song “You Wish.” Released in June, the energetic track features lyrics like, “I’m made of sugar, spice, Kanekalon, and cinnamon,” and has been resonating with Black girls online everywhere, a testament to the empowering nature of their music. But it’s their TikToks for the song that have truly taken off: in the clips, all less than 30 seconds long and with over millions of views, they’re seen running through Disneyland, the Santa Monica Pier, LA Fitness, and more. The internet has deemed them “marketing geniuses,” but they explain that they’re really “just trying sh*t.”
Flyana Boss has only been “alive” for three years, but LaNea feels as if they’ve known each other their entire lives. LaNea, who hails from Detroit, and Folayan, from Dallas, first crossed paths at a music school and admired each other’s talents from afar before becoming friends. “Folayan was like, ‘we should start making music together,’” says LaNea. “Then we started that, and we just became best friends for real, for real.”
They moved to L.A. and began a two-year streak of posting their music onto TikTok “every single day until [they] go viral.” Then, in June, “You Wish” fell into their laps. “We feel like we deserve every piece of attention that we’re getting,” says LaNea.
The duo’s aplomb and authenticity make for perfect viral sensations, as does their tight friendship, a key component of their hype. Other songs like “Nu Nu” and “Ring Around,” not only showcase their vivaciousness but are also an infusion of girl power and confidence reminiscent of groups like the Spice Girls and TLC.
Over a recent Zoom as they finished each others’ sentences, NYLON caught up with Flyana Boss to talk about the benefits of being BFFs and music partners, going viral, and why they value Black women and girls’ opinions above all.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.
Tik Tok and social media love you. What is your relationship with social media as Black musical artists?
Folayan: When we first started we were not on social media a lot at all, maybe just Instagram.
LaNea: It took us a while to understand how TikTok works.
Folayan: We took two years straight of just posting every single day.
LaNea: It’s probably down there on our page too. I wrote a caption like “We’re going to post every single day until we go viral,” and this was before we started making content specifically for TikTok. Then one day Folayan got really serious about it, and we had our first baby viral moment. She was doing like these faces [to] our own songs.
Folayan: We were trying to do like dances, or like trending stuff and it was never working. Then we post one of our songs, and then like okay we’re getting a little bit more buzz. We kept posting, kept posting and kept growing, but this is the most we’ve ever gone [viral]. It’s honestly insane. Like we don’t even know how to feel about it. Everyone keeps calling us “genius marketers,” but we’re just doing us.
LaNea: We’re just trying sh*t.
Are there any challenges that come with working with your best friend? What about the advantages?
Folayan: Honestly, no. But, us communicating with other people, maybe like what we want and if what we want doesn’t exactly align with each other that can be weird.
LaNea: Like if she’s taking a nap, or if I’m taking a nap and there’s a text coming through, we have to wait for the other person to say, yeah, they’re cool with that too. That’s the only thing. Everything else is beneficial to have your best friend to do it with. It makes everything much easier, especially since we’re naturally anxious people in general. I feel like we’re less anxious together.
Folayan: We both are very introverted, and we complement each other and help each other out in those social types of settings. It’s fun.
LaNea: Sometimes if you’re working on something by yourself, you don’t know if it’s good or not. But if you have your friend and they’re like, “Oh yeah that was hard!” It’s like, we’re both f*cking with it, so let’s do it. It’s the best thing ever.
I think the biggest thing on everyone’s mind right now is “You Wish.” What was your process writing that song and seeing it through?
Folayan: So we just like to blurt out things in sessions.
LaNea: Yeah whatever comes out, we just say it and then if someone says ‘that’s good,’ then we roll with that.
Folayan: With “You Wish” specifically, our producer, Marky Style, put on a beat and this writer named [Stephen] Ellrod —
LaNea: We were just getting into working with writers when we had that session, and normally I’m not into it because people don’t get our vibe, they don’t understand us, they make us like a cookie cutter thing, but this guy was just as weird as us.
Folayan: So weird! As soon as we said something goofy, silly, whatever-
LaNea: He would say something even goofier or sillier
Folayan: It was like a beautiful play off of each other. Bouncing bars off of each other.
LaNea: Yeah, that’s one of those songs I don’t even really remember writing. It just came out. We finished the lyrics, the verse, the hook in the same day, in the same session. It just poured out like a waterfall.
What inspired the creative way you shoot the videos and social media content?
Folayan: We have a videographer that we pretty much work exclusively with, Evan Blum, and he’s a weirdo too. There’s this boy [Jay Eazy] who was running towards the camera on TikTok, a while ago, and his videos were pretty popular. So we were just like, “What should we do?,” and I was like, “Maybe we should run.”
LaNea: We brought the idea to our videographer, and he was like, “Oh forget the car, I can run!”
Folayan: He’s running backwards.
LaNea: I don’t know if I was supposed to spill the tea, but yeah, he’s running.
“We’re always trying to make our younger selves proud and happy, and be someone that we would look up to when we were younger.”
One of the most iconic lines of the You Wish, is “I’m made of sugar, spice, Kanekalon and cinnamon,” and a lot of Black women really identify with that lyric. How important is it for you all to make music that Black women can relate to?
Folayan: It’s like second nature to us.
LaNea: It’s super important to us, but we don’t think about it because we are Black girls.
Folayan: We’re always trying to make our younger selves proud and happy, and be someone that we would look up to when we were younger, like whatever they’re talking about, whatever they’re doing. We’re always trying to appease that part of us so, naturally, Black girls [will] love it.
LaNea: Kanekalon is such a big part of both our lives, for so long. We do have Kanekalon all over our house. We’re always picking up hair.
Folayan: We’re doing our own hair all the time
LaNea: And it’s just a fun word to say.
Folayan: And being a Black girl is just very lit.
How has your confidence as artists grown throughout this process?
Folayan: So all of this validation will give us a jolt of confidence…
LaNea: But, like, also during the times when we weren’t doing as well, I think we were still kind of confident in a way. Like the lows in our careers thus far, have built up a true sense of confidence. I think that’s why we don't feel imposter syndrome. It’s been a long time coming, and we worked hard everyday, through the pandemic. Our first sound that went off, the sound got removed as soon as the song dropped because we didn’t understand you couldn’t upload a sound over a minute long when it got released.
Folayan: But also having just the biggest reaction from Black women and Black girls has also given us a lot of confidence, because if they f*ck with us…
LaNea: That’s our biggest concern. We are weird and I think we’re weirder in our head than we actually are, but I’ve seen so many Black girls like us comment and praise and say that we’re speaking to them.
Folayan: It literally means so much. That’s all the confidence I ever need. That’s the only drug I need to fuel this confidence.
LaNea: That’s so true. A Black woman’s compliment is the most meaningful compliment.