coolio gangstas paradise video

screengrab via John Taylor/YouTube

Don’t try to slip ‘gangster’ instead of ‘gangsta’ past Alex Trebek

Note: A gangster's paradise is not the same place as a gangsta's paradise.


David Britton

Internet Culture

Posted on Jan 2, 2018   Updated on May 22, 2021, 6:16 am CDT

Jeopardy! contestant Nick Spicher learned the hard way on Monday not to mispronounce the name of Coolio‘s iconic 1995 song “Gangsta’s Paradise.”

The $1,600 clue in the category “Music & Literature Before & After” was “a song by Coolio from Dangerous Minds goes back in time to become a 1667 John Milton classic.”

jeopardy coolio clue
Screengrab via TMZ

The answer, or rather the question, was, of course, “What is Gangsta’s Paradise Lost?”

Spicher rung in quickly and answered, and host Alex Trebek awarded him the $1,600.

However, after some re-evaluation, the judges found that Spicher’s response was incorrect. What he actually said was: “What is Gangster’s Paradise Lost?” The hard “er” flub cost him not only the initial $1,600, but an additional $1,600 for answering incorrectly, for a total loss of $3,200, dropping him into second place.

According to the official Jeopardy! website, Spicher response was incorrect because “gangster” and “gangsta” are listed separately in the dictionary.

Although Nick’s response of “Gangster’s Paradise Lost” was initially accepted, the hard R sound caught the ear of one member of the onstage team, who immediately followed up with a quick check.


It turns out that “gangsta” and “gangster” are both listed separately in the Oxford English Dictionary, each with its own unique definition.


Nick changed not only the song’s title, but also its meaning ­– making his response unacceptable.

This, as The Daily Show‘s Roy Wood Jr. pointed out, is an important lesson for us all.

But don’t feel too bad for Spicher. He went on to win the game with $15,201 and will appear on the show again tonight.

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*First Published: Jan 2, 2018, 4:15 pm CST