From the womb to the tomb, presume the unpredictable
Guns salute life, rapidly, that's the ritual

from Raekwon (Ft. Ghostface Killah & Nas) – Verbal Intercourse Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

Nas pleads to listeners to adopt an unpredictable lifestyle that breaks free from the crime-jail-freedom-crime cycle, instead of the gun-toting ritual.

Additionally, that Nas consider gun-toting a “ritual” gets at the socio-cultural aspects of gunplay, and how it’s become so engrained in certain areas of contemporary culture.

Nas sees irony in the 21-gun salute and the three-volley salute since guns are often tools of murder.

Also “ to salute ” means to wish health. It’s ironic since guns do exactly the opposite.

Jay-Z would borrow from these lines in “Never Change”

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