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Who Is Alex Trebek’s Favorite Rapper?

The host of ‘Jeopardy!’ has been rapping a lot lately, but only some lyrics get his full attention

(Getty Images/Ringer illustration)
(Getty Images/Ringer illustration)

Over the past few years, the producers of Jeopardy! have figured out how to be relevant with young people online while still being a program that exclusively airs vitamin advertisements: Make Alex Trebek rap. Like in January 2014 when he “spit” the rhymes of Notorious B.I.G., the Beastie Boys, and Dr. Dre. Or this past October when he took a shot at rapping Drake and Future’s “Jumpman.” Twitter reacts to Trebek reading rap lyrics with fervor every time. Knowing this, Jeopardy! has begun working hip-hop into its categories more frequently. On Monday night, the first semifinal of the College Championship, the show went back to the well again:

Everyone gets a kick out of this — look at contestant Lilly keel over with joy at the end of that clip. Meanwhile on social media, Trebek was called a “viral star” and one local brand proclaimed, “Trebek flow brazy though.” Very true. But I think we’re missing an important question here. We know my guy Alex can rap, but what does he like to rap? Is he a classic hip-hop guy, or does he thumb his nose at the old heads, Lil Yachty–style? I checked the tapes, and now feel unreasonably confident enough to determine who Trebek fucks with the most.

Most Certainly NOT Alex Trebek’s Favorite: Nerdcore

My god, that is so cold. Can we check on this lady? Are we sure she’s OK? I think I would quit my job for a life of isolation in the Poconos if Alex Trebek ever roasted me that badly. We can definitely assert that the host of Jeopardy! doesn’t like nerdcore. On to some actual candidates.

Maybe Alex Trebek’s Favorite Rappers: The Beastie Boys

This was the second time in just five months that Trebek recited a Beastie Boys song on Jeopardy! (the first time, he broke out his version of “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”), the highest rate achieved by any rapper or rap group on Jeopardy!. The frequency suggests an affinity for the BK trio. I know we can all picture Alex sitting in a production meeting yelling, “CAN WE GET SOME BEASTIE IN THIS CATEGORY!? PAUL’S BOUTIQUE IS A CLASSIC!” But let me also direct your attention to the slight disdain Trebek displays after no one correctly finishes the lyric to “Sabotage.” After revealing the answer he pauses briefly, then says only “Yes,” with acute disappointment. He might as well have mockingly put an L on his forehead like Tai in Clueless. Trebek’s got no time for Beastie Boys ingenues.

At the Very Least, Maybe Alex Trebek’s Favorite Rap Song: “Timebomb” by Public Enemy

In his recitations, Trebek generally puts zero effort into completing near-rhymes. Even when a change in pronunciation is clearly called for — so that “militia” rhymes with “commissioner,” for example — the man’s diction does not waver. Except for this ONE TIME when he read the lyrics to “Timebomb” by Public Enemy:

Trebek is so caught up in Chuck D’s flow that he abandons his post as proper game show host and goes full New York. You think he owns a giant clock chain that he puts on when he gets home every night? Let’s pretend he does.

Alex Trebek’s Favorite Rapper: Drake

Drake — who it must be mentioned is from the same Canadian province as Trebek — is one of the only rappers to be featured multiple times on Jeopardy!. You could argue that’s just Jeopardy! zeroing in on someone who is constantly part of the zeitgeist, but to that I’d say: How dare you discount the rhythm with which Trebek reads Drake’s lyrics?

Allow me to turn the six upside-down for a second: Alex Trebek is clearly a secret member of OVO. He recites Drake’s lyrics with familiarity and sincerity, in contrast to the sarcasm that he pours over Desiigner’s “Panda.” (“SMH, such a fake Future” — Alex Trebek, probably.) Also, the “Jumpman” clue came from a category called “Musical Acts” — not “That’s a Rap” or “Let’s Rap, Kids!” — which is proof that Jeopardy! believes Drake is the only rapper who transcends hip-hop. Strong claim, but I bet you can find a Drake stan making that exact argument on Twitter right now.

The debate is settled. Alex Trebek is a Canadian homer who deep down only has love for Aubrey Graham. I hope his owl chain is in the mail.