Are you looking for a way to express your affiliation to someone or something? If so, you could say that you’re “repping” their brand or reputation on the streets. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.
The expression “repping” means that you’re “representing” someone or something. You can “rep” anything from your local NBA team to your cousin’s mixtape. When people are “repping,” they spread the word about something to the uninformed masses without the need for compensation.
Repping can be something you do when you buy a team jersey, or it can be as hardcore as spending your days pushing someone’s new single as part of a “street team.” If you’re repping, you’re usually pushing other people’s ideologies, not your own, making you something of a follower, not a leader.
“I’m out here repping the Knicks all weekend, baby. New York, we got to get behind the team if we want to see them get through to the playoffs. They need our support.”
“Thanks to all the fans for repping my single out in the streets. Y’all are the real heroes of this concert and the reason why I’m out here entertaining y’all tonight.”
“Our crew is repping the Southside Killers, fool. What set you claim? You better not be down with those homies from the east side, or we’re gonna have a problem here.”
“Hey, Picasso, who said you could renovate my throw-up? Where are you from? Because down here, that’s a punishable offense and we’re gonna beat you senseless.”
“You know you’re repping it to the max when you have all the gear. Look at that clown. He looks like he dropped a bag at the fan shop at the stadium.”
“Repping your boys is about more than just talking about them in the streets. It’s about being there when they need you.”
The expression “repping” has an unknown origin. However, language experts believe it comes from New York street slang and hip-hop culture in the 1980s and 1990s. During this time, there were fierce battles between rival gangs for drug territories in the poorer communities of NYC. Repping your crew means you wear the colors and use the hand signs they dictate.
Another meaning of repping is to represent a sports team, a street crew for a musician, or any other fan-based application. Repping your team means you’re wearing their colors or jersey, or you have on some sort of identifying apparel registering you as a fan.
The expression grew in popularity with the rise of hip-hop culture in the 1990s and 2000s. It’s a common saying used in videos and in songs where people will talk about representing people, brands, or themes close to their hearts.
The first entry of “repping” in the Urban Dictionary goes back to August 2003.
Phrases Similar to Repping
- Throw down.
Phrases Opposite to Repping
- No affiliation.
What is the Correct Saying?
Ways People May Say Repping Incorrectly
Some people may use alternative meanings to the word repping. Some people may think that it has something to do with “repping” weights at the gym.
Others may think it means to represent a company in a sales position. While both of these meanings are somewhat correct, the most common use of the word is for representing your neighborhood or affiliations.
Acceptable Ways to Phrase Repping
You can use the expression “repping” to describe actions representing the crew you roll with or the neighborhood where you live. It’s also the action of representing your favorite sports teams, rappers, artists, or any other celebrity or newsworthy cause.
You could tell your friends that they need to come to the game repping their Knicks jerseys. Or you won’t let them in the door. You could tell your manager that you were repping the company and the brand at the industry convention you attended in your spare time.