Sadly, Alex Trebek was not bumping Kanye West before the show.
Fans of Jeopardy! and hip hop alike were tickled when the show introduced an entire category based on rap lyrics last month. It wasn’t the first time hip hop has been mentioned on the long-running game show – Chance the Rapper, Notorious B.I.G. and Drake have been individual answers in the past six months. SPIN got a chance to chat with lead writer for Jeopardy! Billy Wisse to ask him about music categories and how they trained Trebek to say the lyrics.
Sadly, we find out that Alex Trebek generally does not do his own background research on the questions, so we can conclude that he didn’t listen to “Panda,” “A Milli,” or any of the other songs in the hip hop category before the episode aired. However, Wisse says he thinks “Alex has gotten a kick out of the attention.” He isn’t changing his listening habits, which are apparently mostly Frank Sinatra and other contemporaries from that era.
As for whether they plan on including more youth-oriented categories in the future, don’t get your hopes up. “We don’t want to go to this well too often,” explains Wisse. It makes sense not to spoil things just for viral fame, but we can’t say we aren’t a little disappointed. They do like to “get some things that sound a little bit goofy coming out of Alex’s mouth,” so there will always be a few quirky questions peppered in with the drier topics.
Re-watch the hilarious segment below. Despite what it may seem like, these questions weren't written by a secret hip hop head on the Jeopardy! staff.