End like Leviathan, it's deep, well let me try again
“Begin like a violin/End like leviathan” suggests that he begins smoothly and tranquilly like a violin, but finishes grandly and destructively like the sea monster Leviathan.
The Leviathan is the Biblical name of the whale who takes Jonah for a journey in his belly — it is also the name given to the dragon in Revelations, a symbol of the devil. The final destruction of the Leviathan will herald the return of Christ to earth.
This line may also continue Nas’s string of references to Thomas Hobbes, whose 1651 masterwork was entitled Leviathan. There, Hobbes speaks of a “state of nature”, meaning a time of no laws and no order, when every man has the liberty to do anything to preserve his life and the world is in a state of perpetual war. The Leviathan—-that is, the state—-is the only entity powerful enough to restrain this chaos.
It’s possible that Nas meant to reference the ending of the mediocre Jaws knockoff Leviathan (1989), starring Robocop’s Peter Weller (I didn’t know it was possible to sound like a pussy with the line reading “say aaah motherfucker!”). I’m guessing not, based on the weakness of this ending, which has more in common with a Fu-Schnickens verse. You can watch it for yourself.
To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit "It Ain't Hard to Tell" by Nas Lyrics and leave a comment on the lyrics box