With the help of Millrose Music I was able to finally find a copy of The Good Ship Galleon. With the passing of Shirley Temple I thought it was appropriate. RIP… In October of 2000 we recorded the song with Jesse Jaymes, Lucy Woodward and me – Cleveland D. Not my proudest moment, but whatever – I’d do it again.
Here is the part of the book that talks about the rap song.
One morning, the guy Raj hired to plan the party and arrange for the talent, which included headliner Diana Ross, walks in the door. A hip-looking, tall dude with shaggy blond hair, there’s something about him I like immediately. Maybe it’s his entrepreneurial manner, or that his company seems ultra-creative—along with having him plan the whole party, Raj has also commissioned him to write a rap theme song for Galleon. Or maybe he represents a non-Wall Street part of me I’ve almost completely forgotten. He introduces himself as Jesse Itzler, and then I realize he also goes by the rap name Jesse Jaymes.
“Hey Jesse,” one of my desk mates yells out. “Turney here is a rapper.” I turn a baby girl’s nursery shade of pink. “That so,” he says, nodding his head in approval. “What’s your rap name?”
I contemplate choking on a pen cap so I don’t have to tell him. I remember coming home from the beach in 1991 and watching Yo! MTV Raps where he performed “Shake It Like A White Girl” and “College Girls Are Easy.” I knew he’d won an Emmy for “I Love This Game,” a rap song he’d written for the NBA, and he also wrote the New York Knicks theme song, “Go New York, Go New York, Go.”
“Cleveland D,” I say, finally.
“Nice,” he says.
Now, calling me a rapper is, to say the least, a bit of a stretch. It’s true I love hip-hop. And it’s also true that in 1988 I formed a rap group called “Maximum Intensity” with my best friend, Nathaniel, who called himself Live T. Most of our other friends hated rap music. But we were in high school in Kennebunk, certainly one of the most un-hip-hop places on earth, and we mostly performed in Nathaniel’s barn to an audience of zero.
A couple of days later, the phone rings at the desk and it’s Jesse. He wants to know if I’ll help him with the lyrics for the Galleon theme song. “Really?!” I say, in a voice that is embarrassingly high-pitched. But I follow up with a very manly, “Sure, love to.” After all, though it might be a big jump from Nathaniel’s barn, when will another opportunity like this come along?
I meet Jesse at the studio a week before the party. It’s on the Upper West Side in the basement of a building. I’m not sure I’m in the right place until I find the buzzer, above which a small tag reads “Milrose Music.” I walk down the dark rickety staircase. The carpet is dark, the walls are dingy and the whole place smells musty, but the studio looks professional. There’s a couple of recording booths, the engineer’s table in the middle and a couch and chairs in the back. The engineer sees me and says, “Sup?”
With only a week to write, record and produce the song, I don’t understand how he’s going to get it done in time. I prepared for our meeting for a week or rather I worried about our meeting for a week. I wanted to prepare, but I didn’t know where to start. I had come up with one idea for the hook, but it seems foolish now. I sit on the couch and Jesse sits on a chair across from me and begins asking me questions about Galleon: what it’s like to work there, what’s Wall Street’s perception of the firm. I tell him one of the names the Street calls Galleon is “the good ship.” And that’s when my one idea pops out of my mouth. Why don’t we sample the song “On the Good Ship Lollipop” but change the lyrics to “On the Good Ship Galleon?” I ask.
His face breaks into a smile. “Cleveland D!” he belts, his head pumping up and down. I breathe a sigh of relief.
I start to relax and the lyrics began to flow: It’s the Good Ship Galleon… When Wall Street has a rally on… When Trader’s trade… Everybody in the place gets paid… Shirley Temple would be proud. Jesse has a female vocalist lay down the chorus. Then, with all of my notes and suggestions, he gets into the booth and starts to rap. I’m in awe. In less than twenty minutes he’s done. “Your turn,” he says. Jesse had suggested I rap a few lines or in his words, eight bars. At first I was excited, but now I’m nervous. I think about Nathaniel and all those afternoons and evenings we’d spent practicing, mimicking the latest hit, or coming up with our own rhymes. I need to do this.
The engineer plays the track of Jesse’s last line so I’ll know where to jump in. I have to finish his line and rhyme it with CNBC. Here’s what I do: “And me, Cleveland D…,” I begin. “Hit me, bid me, I need liquidity… Stopped me on five? Stupidity… I’m at Galleon where it all connects, trading healthcare and biotech… When I finish, the producer looks at me with an “are you serious?” expression. He plays it back and I sound awful, like a tone-deaf robot. I try it again with little improvement. Nine more times we lay it down. And nine more times the producer shakes his head back-and-forth. Finally, on the eleventh try, he shrugs and my first (and only to this point) rap recording is born. So I don’t sound like Chuck D or Ice Cube or even Vanilla Ice for that matter. I have a CD I can send home to Nathaniel, which he can play as loud as he wants, and silence all the haters in Maine.
I don’t know – if you’re coming off of an up 93% year – aren’t you supposed to make a rap song?