Scannin' while you're plannin' ways to sabotage me
Analyze, surprise, magnetize…sabotage? Really? Nas was making the greatest hip-hop album ever and couldn’t take a few minutes to think of a word that rhymed?
Then again, this is Nas we’re talking about — presumably he could easily have thought of a word that rhymed. So perhaps he’s playing with the listener’s expectations by setting up a rhyme and then intentionally “sabotaging” it.
At the same time, others have tried to justify the line in much stupider ways. For instance, some have said “Actually, it is a rhyme, but it’s a soft (approximate) rhyme”. This is not true — “sabotage” really just does not rhyme with “analyze” or “surprise”. Others have said “Why do the lines have to rhyme anyway? There’s more to rapping than rhymes.” But this is pretty half-assed.
Notice that all of these rationales conflict with each other — it’s not a subverted rhyme if it’s a soft rhyme, rhyming is important if a rhyme needs to be subverted, etc.
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