Jeopardy! contestant Steve made an easily avoidable yet understandable $400 mistake on last night’s episode, which had him confuse Future for Nas in the show’s “Hip-Hop Hooray!” category. Of course, this isn't the first time Jeopardy! contestants failed miserably at answering even the simplest, most mainstream hip-hop questions.
While we’re surely all familiar with the two rappers—one a solidified legend and immovable placeholder in most top five lists, the other an arguable contender for the contemporary version of that list—not everyone is as entrenched in the culture to confidently distinguish the two. To be fair, you can see how the prompt itself—“In the past, this hitmaker of ‘Turn On the Lights’ and ‘Mask Off’ was Nayvadius Wilburn”—could be confusing. Well, sort of.
Let’s be gentle, here. While most of us would know Future to be the correct answer—at least by the time host Alex Trebek uttered the words “Mask Off”—you can see how Steve would jump to his incorrect conclusion once Future’s given name was spoken.
That might admittedly be a reach, but for someone who doesn’t listen to hip-hop, hearing the name Nayvadius and being asked which rapper it belongs to is an arguable defense for immediately reaching for Nas. They share the same first two letters, after all. On the other hand, this might just be my peaceful Libra self trying to keep things cordial, here.
In any case, the jumble caused Steve to lose a cool $400 that any one of us would’ve successfully secured with a simple question: “Who is Future?” According to golden era legend Kurtis Blow, the answer to that particular question would be “an incredible rapper that doesn’t get the credit he deserves.” The above clip is ironically perhaps the most direct unfortunate evidence of that claim.