Hip-hop duo Flyana Boss on their viral hit 'You Wish' and new EP 'This Ain't The Album'

Neu Flyana Boss: “We would have had our breakthrough either way”

The viral hip-hop duo with their sights set on world domination.

“Hello, Christ? I’m ‘bout to sin again… Me and my bestie are the same / Like a synonym,” spits Folayan, one half of rap duo Flyana Boss (a play on Diana Ross, FYI) on viral TikTok phenomenon ‘You Wish’. In the accompanying video, she darts through Santa Monica behind a fisheye lens, decked in streetwear-meets-fantasy cosplay, before other half Bobbi LaNea sprints into frame. Later, kickstarting a popular marketing schtick, they dash around Disneyland, along the Hollywood Walk of Fame and even through the Google offices. Frollicking in newfound popularity, they’re together in chaos - but gargantua app-based fame aside, Flyana Boss claim to be anything but the popular kids. “We represent the fairies and the weirdos and the outcasts,” says Bobbi.

The pair are phoning in from Boston, ahead of the evening’s headline show as part of their The Bosstanical Tour: a name which Bobbi readily admits is designed to poke fun at the plentiful ‘industry plant’ accusations thrown their way. There’s a rapidity to Flyana Boss’ ascent, no doubt. But increasingly this is proving to be the new norm. During the Covid years, TikTok virality became a lifeline for artist visibility; though difficult for some, the duo represent a new generation of digitally native makers for whom the platform was an immediate gamechanger.

“It’s second nature. We don’t know any other way. We were [just] dead set on going viral,” admits Bobbi. Two years of “consistent” posting later, fans flocked in their millions and the pair revelled in their long hoped for breakthrough. “I felt vindicated because I knew it was going to happen. I was like, ‘Finally! Thank God!’” Bobbi says of their near-overnight fame. “[This whole thing] would’ve happened eventually. We would have continued to try things, and something would’ve happened. We would have had our breakthrough either way.”

Crucially, however, it’s not just the online masses who have jumped on board. Legacy artists have also rallied in support of the band, and they’ve already bagged opening slots for Janelle Monáe and Kesha. “They gave us words of encouragement… and their phone numbers,” they laugh.

“We’re lucky enough to have a fan base that is just as weird and cute and quirky as we are.”

— Folayan Omi Kunerede

Bobbi and Folayan, hailing from Detroit and Dallas respectively, met studying music in LA and quickly tumbled into friendship, collaboration and, notably, a record deal. Inspired by hip hop and R&B groups like The Cheetah Girls, Salt-N-Pepa, City Girls and Chloe x Halle - just “friends having fun” - their duo formed free from the supposed “maniacal plans” of big industry execs, cemented instead by sisterhood and childhood dreams. “We both believed in our dream. Our friendship is involved in that, too,” says Bobbi. Expanding upon those that came before them, they wax lyrical over their vision for the future of hip hop. “[We hope to] twist narratives and tropes,” she says, before Folayan adds: “Hip-hop is such a big world. We hope to make our mark here.”

Arguably, they already have. Flyana Boss put bombastic wit, stylish braggadocio, authentic best friendship and a cutesy, off-piste, elven hip hop fantasy to the fore. It’s at its most concentrated across latest EP ‘This Ain’t The Album’: a five-track collection that pushes their carefree universe up to 100. Sex-positive cut ‘Candyman’ sees the duo concoct an erotic, candied daydream with Gen Z’s babygirl male archetype. “He my little sweetheart / Little gumdrop,” they sing over 2010-era rap-pop production. “He my little nutter butter / I call him lollipop.” Later, the Gwen Stefani-indebted ‘Stupendous’ is as industrial and braggy as ever (“Stupendous / I’m a star / Gather round / I need a witness”), while ‘yeaaa’ expands their remit to include massive Missy Elliott-inspired house party hits.

It’s an interim dose of fun before a bigger, world-building debut record lands, and it’s all done with the aim of making music “against the grain, against the norm, that’s creative and artistic,” says Folayan. “We’re both very whimsical and cute,” she explains. “And we’re lucky enough to have a fan base that is just as weird and cute and quirky as we are.”

Mid-tour, face-to-face with online-turned-real-life fans, Flyana Boss are on a high with no sign of descent. “It’s so crazy to hear a crowd of people know our lyrics, and that every person [there] bought a ticket to see us,” says Folayan. Bobbi continues: “A little kid rapped ‘You Wish’ to us while her mom filmed it. She said all the cuss words and everything. I loved it.” The fanfare, she muses, is all simply down to “just being themselves” on the internet. Industry plants or not, their intentions are pure. “We have watered ourselves throughout our journey, and each other. Now we want to water our fans. Let’s all grow together.”

'This Ain't The Album' is out now via vnclm_/Atlantic.

Tags: Flyana Boss, From The Magazine, Features, Interviews, Neu

As featured in the April 2024 issue of DIY, out now.

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