"Represent" is the ninth song on Nas' debut album Illmatic. It is produced by DJ Premier who samples Lee Irwin's "Thief of Baghdad" for the song's beat. The song's minimalistic beat consists of an electric piano sample and bells. Nas raps three verses and performs a spoken dedication to his friends at the track's end, but does not contribute to the chorus. Nas' verses deal with his life in the streets and his criminal ties. One specific lyric about having a "Tec on his dresser" was criticized by Jay-Z on his diss song "Takeover." Nas dedicates the song to a long list of people including future hip hop artists Cormega and Lakey the Kid. RapReviews.com describes "Represent" as a "certified banger."