Jeopardy contestant Nick Spicher (right) about to learn a lesson in ‘gangsta’ pronunciation; Photo: NBC/Twitter


A Jeopardy contestant lost out on some serious cash after he mispronounced the title to the classic Coolio song “Gangsta’s Paradise.”

Nick Spicher from Everett, WA attempted to give the question to the clue, “A song by Coolio from ‘Dangerous Minds’ goes back in time to become a 1667 John Milton Classic.”

Spicher gave what most would consider an appropriate response. He confidently said, “What is Gangster’s Paradise Lost?” Sounds correct, right? Wrong. The answer was accepted until one of the judges reviewed the response and heard the “r” in Nick’s pronunciation of “Gangsta.”

Jeopardy explained that according to the Oxford English Dictionary there are two different definitions depending on the pronunciation; “gangster” is “a member of a gang of violent criminals” while “gangsta” is “A gang member” or “a type of rap music featuring aggressive macho lyrics, often with reference to gang violence.”

Most would think that Jeopardy’s decision to retract the money is splitting hairs, but in truth it isn’t. One letter does make a difference, even if the root word is the same. The n-word is a perfect example, including an ‘a’ at the end versus an ‘r’ makes a world of difference.

Meanwhile, Coolio has since reacted to the situation emphasizing to ‘white people’ that the “‘e-r’ will always get you in trouble.”

“Nick changed not only the song’s title, but also its meaning—making his response unacceptable,” said Jeopardy. Jeopardy went to social media as well, tweeting, “Today we learned that there’s a huge difference between a ‘gangster’ and a ‘gangsta.'”

Spciher took it all in stride tweeting, “I still don’t know what to make of this whole Coolio thing.” I think I already said all I’m going to say on it. I’m glad people are having fun with it. And I hope it blows over soon.;). Again, thanks, everyone! Stay gangsta.;).”

Both Spciher and Jeopardy are getting a good chuckle out of the situation, which is gangsta on both their parts. Lesson learned.