[Ads-l] "Represent" in hip-hop/rapspeak

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jul 31 08:45:23 UTC 2015

We've talked about intransitive "represent" before -- it's well, uh,
represented on Matt Kohl's site The Right Rhymes:


FWIW, here are some lyrical examples of "represent from [place name]"
in songs from the '90s:

"I be the Abstract Poetic representing from Queens."
A Tribe Called Quest, "Sucka Nigga" (1993)

"Representing from the 'Bridge, you know how it is."
Mobb Deep, "Stomp Em Out" (1993)

"Come up representing from the upper west."
Beastie Boys, "Root Down" (1994)

"Lost Boyz represent from South Jamaica Queens."
Lost Boyz, "Get Up" (1996)

"I represent from the east coast bringing the ruckus."
Large Professor ft. Pete Rock, "The Rap World" (1996)

On Fri, Jul 31, 2015 at 4:10 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> I first encountered this in the very early '90s. "Represent" means
> something like, "to effectively represent one's neighborhood, associates,
> etc., through a hip-hop performance."
> In the present case, however, maybe "representing from" just means "based
> in; from."
> (Or as everybody under the age of 60 seems to say, "out of.")
> On Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 11:52 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> >
> > Deloney | Free Listening on SoundCloud
> > https://soundcloud.com/deloney
> > A classically-trained, multi-instrumentalist rapper and producer
> > _representing from_ St. Louis, MO.
> >
> > Unless the thought is "... _representing_, from St. Louis, MO." Given the
> > current trivialization of punctuation...
> >
> > Youneverknow.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list