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Derek B collection

Identifier: DEREKB

Scope and Contents

Derek Boland (15 January 1965 – 15 November 2009), better known by his stage name Derek B, was a British rapper. His most commercially successful releases were "Goodgroove" and "Bad Young Brother" in 1988. Born in Hammersmith, London, to Trinidadian nurse Jenny Boland, he was raised in Woodford. When he was 15, he started 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.

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 DJing under the Derek B name. "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 no 16 in the UK Singles Chart. Derek B's third and final UK chart entry was "We've Got The Juice", which peaked at no 56.

Derek B was the first UK rapper to achieve early pop success 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. Items in this collection include:

One curriculum vitae for Derek Boland

Two notebooks of manuscript lyrics by Derek Boland

Two articles from 'The Face' magazine [Nov 1987 and Sept 1988]

Nine pages from a scrapbook of flyers to gigs with Derek B

Three colour photographs of Derek B

11 pages of photographic slides and three pages of negatives of photographs of Derek B, taken by Simon Fowler

One scrapbook with press cuttings

Six framed photographs of Derek B, including two of him with Run DMC members on tour in America, taken by Norman Anderson [Normski]

One A1 size collage of photographs of Derek B created for his funeral [2009]

One silver disc commemorating 25,000 copies being sold of Bullet from a gun [1988]


  • Creation: 1980s-1990s

Biographical / Historical

Jim Ives, Derek Boland's step-dad also provided digital copies of photographs


30 items approx

Language of Materials


Black Cultural Archives: Derek B collection
Black Cultural Archives
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Archives Collection Repository

Black Cultural Archives
1 Windrush Square