Derek B

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Derek B
Birth name Derek Boland
Also known as EZQ
Born (1965-01-15)15 January 1965
London, United Kingdom
Died 15 November 2009(2009-11-15) (aged 44)
London, United Kingdom
Genres Hip hop
Occupation(s) Rapper, songwriter, MC
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1986–2009
Labels Profile, Orchard
Music of Life, Tuff

Derek Boland (15 January 1965 – 15 November 2009), better known by his stage name Derek B, was a British rapper.[1][2] His most commercially successful releases were: "Goodgroove" and "Bad Young Brother" in 1988.[3]


Born in Hammersmith, London, to Trinidadian nurse Jenny Boland, and was raised in Woodford. When he was fifteen years old, he began DJing in a mobile unit around London, before joining local pirate radio stations such as Kiss FM and LWR and finally starting his own station, WBLS (not to be confused with the radio station of the same name in New York).

He joined Simon Harris' Music of Life record label, as the closest thing they had to an A&R man. When a planned compilation of US hip hop called Def Beats 1 (Music of Life, 1986) ran short of tracks, Boland stepped in to record a track called "Rock the Beat". He co-produced the track with Harris, rapped on it under the pseudonym EZQ, and also did his own deejaying under the name "Derek B". "Rock the Beat" (Music of Life, 1987) was released as a single, and was followed by three more - the most successful of which were "Goodgroove" (Music of Life, 1988), and "Bad Young Brother", both of which reached #16 in the UK Singles Chart.[3] Derek B's third and final UK chart entry was "We've Got The Juice", which peaked at #56.[3]

Derek B was the first UK rapper to achieve pop success,[4] appearing on BBC Television's Top of the Pops at a time when the only other rappers who had appeared were Break Machine and Doug E. Fresh. He received criticism for rapping under an assumed American accent, something which was popular in the early days of British hip-hop, but later abandoned by some artists.[5]

Following his chart success, Derek B was signed up to Rush Artist Management and released singles and the album, Bullet From a Gun (Tuff Audio, 1988).

Derek B was also successful as a record producer and remixer, working with the Cookie Crew and Eric B and Rakim.[2] In 1988, he also helped to write the Liverpool F.C. anthem, "Anfield Rap".[6]

He died of a heart attack in London on November 15, 2009.[2]



  1. ^ "British rapper Derek B dies at 44". BBC. 2009-11-16. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  2. ^ a b c Derek B 'dies of heart attack' aged 44
  3. ^ a b c d Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 35. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ "British rapper Derek B dies at 44". BBC News. 2009-11-16. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  5. ^ Emery, Andrew (2009-11-17). "Derek B paved the way for UK hip-hop". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  6. ^ "Derek B Dies Of A Heart Attack Aged 44". Gig Wise. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 

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