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What I learned from the words and rhymes of alleged Bitcoin launderer Razzlekhan

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I was not ready for the razzle-dazzle

Heather Morgan was arrested on Monday, and goes by the online persona “Razzlekhan.”
Image: Forbes

Yesterday, the Department of Justice announced it had finally recovered almost all the Bitcoin stolen in the 2016 Bitfinex hack with its “largest financial seizure ever.” The DOJ was, however, immediately upstaged — when people discovered that one of the people accused of helping launder billions of dollars of Bitcoin had posted rap videos to the internet.

She calls herself the “Crocodile of Wall Street.”

I’ve lost track of how many hours I just spent immersing myself in her music, writing, and Content to get an idea of what her deal is. And let’s just say that even her wacky viral videos (which have now largely vanished from her YouTube channel) did not prepare me for the full razzle-dazzle.

Anyhow, here’s just a taste of what I found to get us started:

That was the longest 30 seconds of my life.

And some of her songs are five minutes plus.

Who is Razzlekhan?

The DOJ lists “Razzlekhan” as the alias of Heather Morgan. On Tuesday, it announced that it had arrested Morgan and her husband, Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein, and alleged they had access to a wallet with billions of dollars worth of Bitcoin.

Obviously, “accused money launder” isn’t how she branded herself — her website calls her a “fearless” and “shameless” artist, entrepreneur, and CEO.

Is she really an artist and entrepreneur?

I’m sorry, is the alleged money laundering not interesting enough for you?

We love hearing about girlbosses that hustle hard.

Valid.

Yeah, it seems like she kept fairly busy — she and her husband were involved with an investment firm called Demandpath that focused on “founders and decentralized projects,” according to their LinkedIn profiles. They also ran a marketing company called SalesFolk, which specialized in helping businesses create marketing email templates, according to its site. (The motto for SalesFolk, by the way, is “be a goat, not a sheep” — if you’ve heard the Razzlekhan rap “Versace Bedouin,” you may recognize it.)

She also contributed articles for publications like Forbes and Inc., with articles discussing a wide range of topics — from a profile of one of the chefs at the 2021 Met Gala to articles about using economics to avoid “terrible business and life decisions.” They’re not really the type of articles I’d usually read, but they don’t stand out as being particularly zany or poorly written.

Some of her articles do hit a bit different now that she’s been accused of being involved with a crypto scheme, though. She’s listed as the author of an article called “Experts Share Tips To Protect Your Business From Cybercriminals.” Oh, and there’s this talk that she reportedly gave about marketing — I dare you to guess what the title is.

Those slides sure are something.

Aren’t they? “Infiltrating black markets around the world.” “Some places I’ve infiltrated.” Absolutely amazing.

You know where else she’s infiltrated? Your brain, with this song.

She really earns that “weird AF music video” text in the thumbnail, doesn’t she?

Oh, absolutely. That one is definitely among the most well-produced of the bunch, though — at least when it comes to the video. The lyrics are...

Well, look, I called them cringe in a headline, and I stand by that. Saying that “Silver on my fingers and boots on my feet” sounds like a first draft would be generous, and that’s in the hook. One of my colleagues described her flow as “what you hear when someone on the subway is rapping along to music in their headphones.”

If you look at the next example (the song is called “Pho King Badd Bhech,” and I promise we’ll analyze it in a bit), you can get a sense of the DIY feel most of her other music videos had. In the description for one of her now-private videos, she did say it was filmed by her husband and a few friends.

As a note — despite what the tweet says, the Justice Department hasn’t accused Dutch and Heather of being involved with the hack itself.

I gotta say, these clips you keep making me watch have a very different vibe than the articles she wrote.

Yeah, her two online personas are quite different. It’s not like she was trying to hide the Razzlekhan stuff from the audience that followed Heather Morgan, though — she tweeted about her music from her personal account, and she’s got an article with Forbes talking about how she dealt with burnout by creating the Razzlekhan persona and rapping.

Wait, lmao, was she using her articles to plug her rap career?

Good question! The answer is surprisingly no, for the most part. An article she wrote called “How To Become A Successful Youtuber In 2021” was devoid of Razzlekhan references, and her Inc. article about mistakes founders make mentions her burnout and rapping, but it doesn’t end with “like and subscribe” or even a link to her channel or Insta.

But while her articles aren’t particularly attention-grabbing, it’s true that her artistic ventures are a bit... out there. She’s got a bunch of social media accounts under her Razzlekhan name, where she posts vlogs and talks about fashion design, art, and, of course, her music.

By the way, the few songs that have been getting most of the attention are just the tip of the iceberg.

There’s more?

There’s MUCH more. She’s got like a dozen songs, even a concept album about smoking weed in a cemetery and things getting “NC-17” with... some sort of spirit that she calls grandpa but implies isn’t actually her grandfather? Okay, yes, I know how that sounds, but quite honestly, after listening to all of her songs, I think “High in the Cemetery” might be one of the better ones. But I didn’t love the twist at the end of the album where a perverted genie is revealed to actually be Mark Zuckerberg (I swear to you I’m not making that up).

You listened to all of her music? Are you okay??

Do I sound okay?!

Can... I listen to all her music too?

Yes. Despite her music videos being set to private (they were a sight to behold), most of her songs are still up on places like SoundCloud, Apple Music, and YouTube Music.

Do any of her raps reference crypto?

Well, it turns out that she and I have a shared pastime — no, not rapping; making fun of tech bros. One of her songs makes fun of them for collecting cryptokitties. But other than that, no, I didn’t find a ton of references to Bitcoin or cryptocurrency. However, there is one lyric in “Cutthroat Country” where she references phishing people’s passwords... and then says, “All your funds transferred.”

So like... can I stan?

Um... how do you feel about problematic faves? I mean, obviously, there’s the whole alleged Bitcoin thing, but her songs also have some pretty “yikes” moments — in a rap about social distancing, she does an impression of an anti-masker that’s insensitive to sex workers at best, and her songs include some uncomfortable lyrics about gay men. Plus, there’s just an incredible gordian knot of cultural appropriation around her persona that I really don’t feel like I’m equipped to untangle.

I’m sorry, are you trying to cancel Razzlekhan?

I mean, isn’t the DOJ kinda...? Nevermind.

But no, sorry, I didn’t mean for it to come out that way. She’s clearly got something to say in a lot of her raps — she devotes entire songs to how crappy the American healthcare system is, how fake friends suck (like a vacuum cleaner), and even calls out how traditional love stories portrayed in media kinda encourage men to act creepy towards their female colleagues (she extrapolated on her role as a woman in tech in a now-private vlog).

Wait, that actually sounds good? Should I be listening to her music?

Okay, just because someone is making a good point doesn’t mean they’re making it well.

Her song about healthcare really captures the duality in her songwriting, where she’s actually talking about serious topics, just with stilted writing and flow — and sometimes maybe less sensitivity than a topic probably warrants.

Lyrics from the song “California Rollz,” which takes a shot at people who act cringe at Asian restaurants.
Lyrics via Genius

So are all her songs About Something™?

If you’re asking if all her music is about serious topics, then no. While she does make music about racism, sexism, and class, “Menace to Society” seems to follow the formula of a relatively standard brag rap, and she has a song called “Bleeding Buckets” that I refuse to elaborate further on. (You can’t judge Razzlekahn’s songs by their titles, though — “Pho King Badd Bhech” is the song I mentioned earlier that’s about creepy male coworkers, and the video ended with a dedication to a woman that Morgan’s called “Vietnam’s tech queen.”)

So what’s the song “Gilfalicious” about?

You know what it’s about. Why are you doing this to me?

Sorry, I’ve just been listening to some of the songs in the background. The beats aren’t half bad?

Yeah, she apparently worked with a professional producer for some of her songs. The Daily Beast actually spoke to him after the allegations came out, and he seemed very surprised, saying that she didn’t seem wealthier than a normal tech CEO.

Does she ever mention her husband and alleged partner-in-crime in a song?

She has a whole song about him called “Moon n Stars.” I think she calls him a “weirder version of Larry David” and samples him saying, “I love you, I support you, but I don’t wanna be involved.” Listening to the rest of the song... I understand.

What kind of music does she think she’s making?

Well, she does admit that she probably won’t win a Grammy for it. But she says she’s a life-long rap fan and that she “knew every single line to hundreds of rap albums” as a teenager.

She also mentions how she was inspired by Die Antwoord’s Yolandi Visser (you may be familiar with her if you’ve seen the movie Chappie) and Awkwafina (who also hasn’t had a great week), noting that they’re female artists who “own their weirdness.”

Also, one of her friends was kind of confused about the whole rapping thing, according to Business Insider. “She’s really smart. If she wanted to be a good rapper, she could be a good rapper,” they said. Despite it seeming like “a Borat thing,” Morgan was “nothing other than completely dead-ass serious about it,” they told Insider. The story also mentions that Morgan “launched into an impromptu Eminem rap” at a work event.

I just realized that you’ve barely mentioned Morgan’s husband at all?

I feel like the DOJ focuses more on him in its legal complaint, so I wanted to even things out a bit! Plus, his posts online are just nowhere near as interesting as Razzlekhan content.

With that said, the glimpses we see of him do give us some idea that his sense of humor is a little off the beaten path as well. In one of Morgan’s videos, he talks about how he tasted their cat’s food to make sure it was good. Being a certified Cat Dad myself, I’ve got no room to judge that part — though, when Morgan continues to film him, he does go on a tangent asking if she wants him to “shove something up [his] ass and do a little dance” to be entertaining. So that caught me off guard.

Is that TikTok where she says she’s “definitely” stole billions of dollars in Bitcoin real? There’s no way it’s real.

This one? Yeah, you’re right, it’s fake. It’s an edit of a real TikTok she made, where she answers a question about whether she’s been stuck on an elevator. But given everything else we’ve seen, I couldn’t blame someone for falling for it.

Sorry, I stopped listening when you said she had a TikTok. I’m very interested to know what her content was like on a platform known for being a little bit madcap.

Honestly, the “WTF” factor isn’t as high as I imagined it’d be. I mean, it’s still a Razzlekhan project — there’s freestyle rapping (one of which is about investing in GameStop, Ethereum, and Bitcoin), a few twerking videos, a guide on how to put gummy lifesavers on your toes, and lots of promotion for her music and art.

There are also a few videos where her husband appears to review cookies and take silly holiday pictures and where she shows off what she says is her taxidermy collection.

Taxidermy?

Yeah... She’s got a little preserved crocodile head that shows up in a few of her TikToks. I guess it probably has something to do with her “Crocodile of Wall Street” persona?

Oh, plus there are some cute cat videos. The cat’s alive, by the way — just wanted to make that clear.

I want the feds to free her so she can make a rap song about this situation.

Unfortunately, despite Bloomberg’s report that both Morgan and Lichtenstein have been granted bail, it seems the order for their release has been stayed, according to a Forbes profile of the couple. Besides, it would not be smart to post anything while awaiting trial...

But it would be absolutely iconic.

Have you looked through everything she’s made?

Oh, no, absolutely not. I’ve listened to all her songs and looked at a ton of her videos and articles, but Morgan was actually pretty prolific, and I’ve got limits. Plus, even if I wanted to do a deep-dive on her 20-minute-long fashion videos —which, yes, she definitely had — they were privated before I had the chance.

Does her body of work... seem like the type of thing someone who was allegedly sitting on a dragon’s horde of Bitcoin would make?

Morgan’s not endlessly flexing Lambos, stacks of cash, and a palatial house, if that’s what you’re asking. She does post a lot about international travel and having a studio and apartment in New York City, though, which feels like pretty standard influencer fare (though the way she does it on her Razzlekhan Instagram account is anything but standard — her personal account — which has since been set to private — was reasonably unremarkable).

It is worth noting, though, that Morgan and Lichtenstein were allegedly only able to launder a small portion of the 119,754 Bitcoin that the hacker dumped into a wallet they’re accused of controlling. Bloomberg has a really great breakdown of why that is — the TL;DR is that it is actually really hard to launder something when every coin’s movement is tracked on a public blockchain, especially when financial institutions have to be on the lookout for that kind of thing so they don’t get shut down by the government.

So you’re saying it’s possible they didn’t do it?

I’m purposefully not saying anything about that, one way or the other. I feel like that’d be extremely irresponsible given that nothing’s been proven in court yet, and I also genuinely don’t have an opinion either way. But wow, imagine if they’re found not guilty, and this launches Razzlekhan’s influencer career... what an origin story that’d be.

However the court case goes, we’re definitely getting a movie about this whole thing, right?

If there’s any good left in this world, yes. I can only hope that it’s directed by the Safdie brothers, who directed Uncut Gems and Good Time, because they’re just so good at capturing the manic energy this story has.

What does this case say about crypto? About Bitcoin?

I’m sorry, I’ve melted my brain immersing myself in the content of it all, and you want me to come up with some intelligent, broad-sweeping take? Really?

Geez, okay, no need to be mean.

You’re right, that was uncalled for, and I apologize. I guess the first thing I’d say is that the DOJ has gotten very serious about tracking down people laundering Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies — and it might have gotten good at it. For anyone who still thinks that crypto is inherently anonymous and untraceable, this should be a pretty big wake-up call.

It also shows how cryptocurrency’s massively fluctuating value can drastically change a situation — when the hack happened in 2016, the stolen Bitcoin was worth $71 million. Today, it’s worth upwards of five billion. If you rob a bank, that cash isn’t going to become 70-something times more valuable in the span of five years.

Wha...? Oh, sorry, I kinda fell asleep there.

Yeah, it’s hard to make technology, economics, and law as interesting as the people that interact with those systems in the best of times. And when those people post things like this? There’s just no way any other part of the story can compare.

Okay, one last question.

Yes?

You added every Razzlekhan song to your library, didn’t you?

Errr... no, I don’t think I want to listen to any of them again. We’ll see what the recommendation algorithm has to say about that, though.

Update February 10th, 2:23PM ET: Added a quote from one of Morgan’s friends about her rapping.