“What is mo’ problems.” This is an actual answer from a recent “Battle of the Decades” episode of Jeopardy!, as contestants (including trivia show king Ken Jennings) went head-to-head over their knowledge of Nineties hip-hop. It also rivals the first moon landing and the Beatles’ debut on Ed Sullivan as one of the greatest things to have aired on television.
“The 1990s Rap Song” is the category, and it’s no stress for Jennings – the man who won 74 straight games on the show (and earned over $3 million) during a mind-boggling 2004 streak. But “Mo Money?” No problem. Jennings dominates the category, not only scoring on that question about rap legend Notorious B.I.G.‘s 1997 anthem but also racking up with his knowledge of Digital Underground’s “The Humpty Dance” and MC Hammer’s “You Can’t Touch This.” Apparently Jennings wasn’t a big fan of Cypress Hill’s “Insane in the Membrane” (“What is ‘the membrane,'” answers another contestant in their correct response) or Beastie Boys‘ “Sabotage.” But he’s probably more into gangsta rap anyway.
The best part of the video is listening to host Alex Trebek as he reads off the hip-hop teasers with such dignified flow. Hearing him recite Beasties lyrics is one for the TV time-capsule – he pronounces “Sabotage” as if he’s ordering “chocolate” in a French cafe.
But Trebek is no rap rookie. Back in January, he showcased his signature professorial flow during another Jeopardy! category called “It’s a Rap,” spitting endless hot fire on joints from Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (“The Message”), Biggie Smalls (“Juicy”), the Beasties (“No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn”), Dr. Dre (“Nuthin’ But A G Thang”) and Public Enemy (“Timebomb).”