“We were budtenders,” says Folayan, one half of the duo that blew up in June after their song “You Wish” achieved major traction on social media.
Her partner-in-crime, Bobbi LaNea, finishes the thought: “Same dispensary, different locations. A month and a half ago, we were like, ‘What are we going to do?’ We stopped working in January, and this is the first time it’s felt legit, like we won’t have to get regular jobs again.”
They’ve been making music together for four years, since first becoming friends at Hollywood’s Musician’s Institute. “It was literally my first day, my first class, and I saw her cute self. I was interested in her and what she was about ever since then,” LaNea says, emblematic of the brand they’ve built with their music since then.
As evidenced by their lyrics — “Me and my bestie are the same, like a synonym,” Folayan raps at the end of a verse of “You Wish” — Flyana Boss is a twosome before anything else. They find a way to reroute almost every interview question back to their love for each other: When asked about their eclectic style choices (colored hair, elf ears, etc.), they pitch the fashion line they dream of creating one day: Bestie Apparel, clothing designed to complement the person you wear it with. On the topic of whether internet fame has led to any misunderstandings about who they are, Folayan quips that there’s only one thing she needs people to know about them: “We’re besties in real life.” But there are other misconceptions they’re happy to clear up, and they finish each other’s thoughts while doing so.
On the list of things that aren’t true: “That we’re industry plants, when we’ve been working at this for so long. We’ve put out so many songs,” Folayan says. “It’s so funny that people think it happened out of nowhere,” adds LaNea, throwing it back to Folayan: “Or that our label is pushing us.” Having found a rhythm now, LaNea says, “Or that we’re nepo babies.” Folayan wraps it up: “Or that they run our marketing. Baby, it’s all us.”
The marketing she’s referring to is the series of TikTok videos that garnered Flyana Boss their newfound attention, wherein LaNea and Folayan run down streets, through restaurants and across tourist destinations while grinning and rapping verses of “You Wish,” beginning with Folayan’s, “Hello, Christ? I’m ’bout to sin again.”
Their virality was borne of a long period of trial and error. “We had our first baby-viral moment with our song ‘Miss Me,’” Folayan says of their early 2022 single. “Before that, our TikTok was dead.” “We were posting and hoping to get, like, double-digit views,” LaNea says. “We were doing dance trends and sound trends — we even did a skit one time.”
“But as soon as we started promoting ourselves and our own music, people started biting,” explains Folayan. Thousands of different creators made videos set to the snippet of “Miss Me” that Flyana Boss used to entice listeners before they officially released the song — at which point TikTok removed the audio from the platform. “Because we copyright infringed ourselves,” LaNea says. “Apparently you can’t upload a sound that’s over a minute long featuring a song, so once we put it in distribution on Spotify, they grabbed it.” In a music economy where TikTok ubiquity can translate to a No. 1 hits, an audio removal can be a major blow.
But their visibility grew again earlier this summer when they began posting videos biking and running to the first verse of “You Wish,” and once they posted a runner including the second verse, they blew up.
Major brands like Google and even TikTok began inviting Flyana Boss to run through their offices. Missy Elliot made her own “You Wish” video, and took it upon herself to defend the girls when social media users began criticizing them for constantly reusing their running format. She lauded them for their use of an “old school tactic,” saying that “most successful artist have eras, and for that era they consistently do the same style and sound so you build a particular fan base.” “You Wish” has now hit 16 million streams on Spotify and counting thanks to that tactic. When their TikTok comment sections flodded questions about how their running videos are shot, they capitalized on it; their videographer Evan Blum made a video revealing his technique.
Folayan and LaNea latch onto any opportunity they get to further bolster their stamp as a duo. One of their favorite reactions to their music has been the online dissection of a lyric from Folayan: I’m made of sugar, spice, Kanekalon and cinnamon.” Google searches about Kanekalon, a hair-like synthetic material often used by Black women for braided hairstyles, have shot up since the release of “You Wish,” and there are countless comments and videos across TikTok of fans asking about Kanekalon or calling people out for rapping Flyana Boss’ lyrics without understanding them.
“Kanekalon is a big part of both of our lives. We didn’t know it was going to cause such a tizzy,” LaNea laughs. “But it definitely helped the song and our brand, so we’re happy about it.”
They say that an official “You Wish” music video is “in the works,” and they’re beginning to strategize how they might build their personas as individuals: “We need to start getting into our alter ego bag,” LaNea says. She glances at Folayan, who’s wearing a shirt depicting Ol’ Dirty Bastard of the Wu-Tang Clan. Sounding like RZA herself, LaNea concludes, “But it’s all under the Flyana Boss umbrella and the Flyana Boss world.”
That world began with the coining of their name.
“We were thinking Double Dare or Double D, because we’re both from cities,” Folayan says; she grew up in Detroit, while LaNea hails from Dallas. Then they began to wonder how they might pay homage to the pop culture icons they idolized — “Halle Berry was a name we threw around,” LaNea says.
“So Bobbi slept on it,” Folayan says. “Then she woke up one day, and there’s this poster of Diana Ross in her room. She said, ‘Flyana Boss!’ She sent it to me — well, she sent me Flyana Boss and Cryana Boss.”