who's on judge mathis today? #76

a books/snacks/softcore daily mini letter

plaintiff: benitta from detroit, michigan. benitta is a tall drink of water in a neon scarlet (that is the best way to describe this color, i am for real about to turn the brightness down on my tv?) skirtsuit with a white blouse and wearing a platinum wig so bright you could probably see it from space? and it’s perfect, too. i am always in awe of anyone who feels confident enough to have extremely conspicuous hair, because if it was me i would just be touching it and obsessively fixing it all day and people would be mad at me.

defendant: rayshard from detroit, michigan. rayshard is a husky fella wearing a black dress shirt with dark grey slacks and a maroon tie, and he’s sporting the bald and bearded look favored by 99% of the men in my personal rolodex. his accordion of truth™ looks as swole as he does. i’m so sorry, that was disgusting.

the complaint: benitta is a performer (producer?) who rented rayshard’s music studio but says it was terrible and the equipment was outdated so she wants her money back!

what does she want: $800 for wasted studio time, and this is where i admit to you that i have watched every single iteration of love and hip hop multiple times and it’s all i can think about any time people mention being in a studio. i recorded my audiobook at this very fancy studio in chicago and walked in like *cardi b voice* “where’s dj self??” and no one knew what the fuck i was talking about! countersuit because why not? rayshard would like $1000 for harassment and defamation. let’s fucking goooooooo.

how it went down: benitta says she is a “music artist entertainer” and goes by the name of “josey doe.” i do not know how to spell that, so this is what we’re going with. josey doe says that before she met ray in 2005 she was on the come up and was working with many major artists in detroit. gregory, the king emperor mayor (that’s a real honorific) of detroit, asks who. josey doe says she’s opened for people like tone tone, black lagoon, mike phenom, and D12. greg is impressed.

josey doe met ray through some mutual artist friends and started paying him to be her producer. over the course of their partnership they made 20 songs together. their deal was that she’d pay him for studio time but there was no set number of songs he was contracted to produce. greg keeps asking about the songs in a way that makes me think “is he just out of touch or does he know something we don’t?” why is he asking about songs if she’s there about a raggedy studio? it has literally never occurred to me before this minute that he might have a full dossier of what the litigants claim before walking into the courtroom? i’m not a total asshole, i figured he got a light debriefing, but the way he’s pressing her means he either knows about a song agreement we don’t or this is the first time the concept of “studio time” has been introduced to him!

ray says that there was no “agreement,” josey doe just wanted studio time so he gave her “great deals.” greg asks what he means by that and i ask again, is he just trying to help them piece an interesting story together or has he never actually heard rap music??? ray says that he gave josey doe 8 hours of studio time for $100. i have no point of reference and refuse to google this so i will assume that is an incredible value. greg tells ray “that’s actually an agreement.” umm, okay?! why is he being so weird!

“everyone knows i make great beats,” says ray, and apparently in addition to the studio time (lord help me if i have to type that again) he produced some songs for josey doe, songs that she released on itunes without paying him for their use and distribution and definitely without contracts. ray says he owned the beats and they weren’t hers to release, but he’d produced the songs in the hopes that they would blow up. which, i think, is why he only charged her for the studio time (goddamn it) and not also for his production skills. does that sound right? why did they even air this one?? okay here’s what i think he’s saying: he should have charged her both for the equipment and the songs, but he only charged her for the equipment because he thought making the songs could be mutually beneficial, except she posted them without his knowledge and didn’t cut him in on the back end and is now unfairly suing him for a studio she not only used but is actually stealing from. WOW I SHOULD GO TO LAW SCHOOL.

josey doe agrees that ray did the beats for free but says she’s suing him for the quality of his studio, not the beats. she says his studio rundown, that once he even had to reboot his computer in the middle of a session, and that there was just so much “rinky dink-ness.” listen i’ve had to restart this macbook twice since starting this fucking episode, can she sue me, too??? also if you walked in and the shit was busted, walk out? greg asked how long it took for her to discover the flaws in his studio and josey doe says it was once. but...but...she’s recorded multiple songs with him? how do you make twenty songs in a dilapidated studio over the course of many hours and then have the nerve to ask for your (discounted) fees back? what is this really about, man!

josey doe keeps trying to claim that ray has screwed her over in other ways but greg interrupts to tell her that they are in court today over studio time (omg) so that’s all she can get into; the production wasn’t part of the agreement so that’s off the table. greg turns to ray and says “[josey doe] says you owe her a refund because one particular time at the studio your equipment crashed” and just hearing him say that i’m like “did they just want a trip to chicago, or” because is she saying she spent 80 straight hours there once and he owes her? or is josey doe trying to get $100 for every 8 hours she spent there? which means she spent 80 hours, on separate occasions, in a “sub par” studio of her own volition while also paying for it?? i am dying what even is this!

the ruling: ray says the studio crashed on a day he was giving josey doe free studio time (kill me) and i’m about to throw this television off the roof. the judge asks josey doe how many hours she spent in the studio (free, paid, or otherwise) total and she hems and haws then he presses her again and josey doe says “okay, judge mathis...” and you know whatever is coming next is not going to be the answer he’s looking for so he cuts that right off and asks ray about his counter claim.

before he can get into it josey doe interrupts greg to say that they are in court today so she can play the judge ray’s beats that suck but greg yells at her that if that’s what she wanted to do that’s what she should have sued him for! they are in court over studio time (please god) not beats by ray! greg keeps shouting “do you know the agreement we’re talking about??” and, honestly? NO but also i’m not the one in court today! greg dismisses josey doe’s claim as she shouts back at him about the lawsuit (lmao) she should have filed instead of this one (seriously, if the tracks sounded bad why not sue ray for that instead of forcing me to write “studio time” over and over as my eyes bleed) because she’s being “rude and contemptuous.”

“your claim is dismissed and yours is granted, bye!” the judge yells angrily, waving disgustedly toward ray with a manila folder as he gets up to storm off in a huff and okay, sure! see y’all tomorrow!

did uncle greg say anything fucked up to anyone: STUDIO TIME.

*bangs gavel*