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?