Before hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam got the stiffest prison sentence ever for insider trading, one of his then-employees, Turney Duff, composed a Shirley Temple-inspired tribute to Rajaratnam's fund, the Galleon Group.
In Duff's chronicle of his time on Wall Street and his struggles with alcohol and drug abuse, The Buy Side, he describes whenthe rapper Jesse Jaymes — whose real name is Jesse Itzler and is the musician responsible for the New York Knicks anthem "Go NY Go" — called on him to help compose the lyrics for a song Jaymes would perform dedicated to Galleon at the company's party in October, 2000. Duff is a lifelong hip-hop fan who started a two-man rap group called "Maximum Intensity" in Kennebunk, Maine in the late 1980s.
Duff says that they only had "a week to write, record and produce the song," and that it was in a meeting with Jaymes where he was inspired by Galleon's Wall Street nickname "the good ship" to sample the Shirley Temple song "On the Good Ship Lollipop."
The rest is musical infamy: the song features lyrics like "'We trade stocks, and we do it well, our first trade was 100,000 warrants of Intel" and "Raj and Chris, their stocks don't miss, they could have co- starred in 'Analyze This'!" As Duff points out, the fund had posted 93% returns the year before, and "if you're coming off of an up 93% year – aren't you supposed to make a rap song?"
Galleon shut down in 2009, a week after Rajaratnam was charged with insider trading.
Matthew Zeitlin is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Zeitlin reports on Wall Street and big banks.
Contact Matthew Zeitlin at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.