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Nas - Represent

Represent, represent!! [repeat 4X]

Straight up shit is real and any day could be your last in the jungle
Get murdered on the humble, guns'll blast, niggaz tumble
The corners is the hot spot, full of mad criminals
Who don't care, guzzlin beers, we all stare
At the out-of-towners (Ay, yo, yo, who that?) They better break North
Before we get the four pounders, and take their face off
The streets is filled with undercovers, homicide chasin brothers
The D.A.'s on the roof, tryin to, watch us and knock us
And killer coppers, even come through in helicopters
I drink a little vodka, spark a L and hold a Glock for
The fronters, wannabe I'll niggaz and spot runners
Thinkin it can't happen til I, trap em and clap em
And leave em done, won't even run about Gods
I don't believe in none of that shit, your facts are backwards
Nas is a rebel of the street corner
Pullin a Tec out the dresser, police got me under pressure

Represent, represent!! [repeat 4X]

Yo, they call me Nas, I'm not your legal type of fella
Moet drinkin, marijuana smokin street dweller
Who's always on the corner, rollin up blessed
When I dress, it's never nuttin less than Guess
Cold be walkin with a bop and my hat turned back
Love committin sins and my friends sell crack
This nigga raps with a razor, keep it under my tongue
The school drop-out, never liked the shit from day one
Cause life ain't shit but stress fake niggaz and crab stunts
So I guzzle my Hennesey while pullin on mad blunts
The brutalizer, crew de-sizer, accelerator
The type of nigga who be pissin in your elevator
Somehow the rap game reminds me of the crack game
Used to sport Bally's and Gazelle's with black frames
Now I'm into fat chains, sex and Tecs
Fly new chicKs and new kicks, Heine's and Beck's

Represent, represent!! [repeat 3X]

No doubt; see my, stacks are fat, this is what it's about
Before the BDP conflict with MC Shan
Around the time when Shante dissed the Real Roxxane
I used to wake up every mornin, see my crew on the block
Every day's a different plan that had us runnin from cops
If it wasn't hangin out in front of cocaine spots
We was at the candy factory, breakin the locks
Nowadays, I need the green in a flash just like the next man
Fuck a yard God, let me see a hundred grand
Could use a gun Son, but fuck bein the wanted man
But if I hit rock bottom then I'ma be the Son of Sam
Then call the crew to get live too
With Swoop, Hakim, my brother Jungle, Big Bo, cooks up the blow
Mike'll chop it, Mayo, you count the profit
My shit is on the streets, this way the Jakes'll never stop it
It's your brain on drugs, to all fly bitches and thugs
Nuff respect to the projects, I'm ghost, One Love

Represent y'all, represent!! [repeat 4X]

One time for your motherfuckin mind
This goes out to everybody in New York
That's livin the real fuckin life
And every projects, all over
To my man, Big Will he's still here [echoes]
The 40 side of Vernon
My man Big L.E.S.
Big Cee-Lo from the Don
Shawn Penn, the 40 busters
My crew the shorty busters
The 41st side of Vernon posse
The Goodfellas
My man Cormega, Lakid Kid
Can't forget Drawers, the Hillbillies
My man Slate, Wallethead
Black Jay, Big Oogi
Crazy barrio spot (Big Dove)
We rock shit, Ph.D
And my man Primo, from GangStarr
(Ninety-four real shit y'all, Harry O!)
Fuck y'all crab ass niggaz though...
(Yeah, bitch ass niggas!) [etc.]

After slowing things down on “One Time 4 Your Mind,” “Represent” finds Nas getting hyped up with his crew from Queensbridge backing him up in the studio. DJ Premier sampled Lee Erwin’s “Thief of Baghdad”, and although he revealed that this was the first song he created for Illmatic, he also said in a 2019 interview that the album version of “Represent” is actually a remix of the original jazzier version: We had already done ‘Represent’ but not the one on the album. The one on the album is a remix. Once we got to me hearing ‘One Love’ and ‘Life’s a Bitch,’ I was like, ‘Yo, I gotta update mine.’ Nas talked about the track: "‘Represent’: Raw, me in the studio, a bunch of my boys, and having a good time, Hennessy flowing–that’s what it was. […] It was fun for all of us. I think we had a good time doing ‘Represent.’" In an interview with XXL, Nas' brother Jungle recalled the recording session for the outro of “Represent”: "That was one of the days Nas let everybody get in the mic booth and talk and shit. I don’t know why he used to do that shit, ‘cause none of us—we only had one or two rappers [in the crew]. Like, everybody who was in the studio was in the booth, but none of them would even wanna be a rapper. They just wanna roll with the rapper. The whole project was happy to just be out the projects and shit. Everybody was packed up in D&D Studio." DJ Premier talked about the creation of “Represent” in Episode 6 of his production series "So Wassup?" Nas had this to XXL about the song: "That was a serious weight, representing Queensbridge. I was honored to do it, because of what Shan & Marley had already done. I just wanted to grab the flag & hold it up as high as ever. I felt like they had already paved the way, & now they needed an unbeatable solider to hold that flag up high. After the battle with BDP, you can’t ignore the doubt that people had in my hood. So it was like, I’m here now, & I got it, & I’ma hold it down to the death." Whilst Nas' religious beliefs seem hard to pin down, he definitely believes in some kind of god. In a question and answer session, Nas says that God is “the man with the answers.”

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