Friday, April 14, 2006
The English Patient #4
We focus our attention on Derek B in EP#4 this month. Derek Bolland gained a rep as a pirate hip hop DJ on Kiss FM during the mid 1980's, before moving onto to use this experiance to good effect in an A&R role at Simon Harris' Music of Life imprint.
As a recording artist, his debut track "Rock The Beat" appeared on the pan atlantic hip hop compilation "Def Beats 1" in 1996. This was quickly followed up with an underground hit "Get Down", re-inforcing his dual persona as EZQ the rapper, and Derek B the DJ.
Chart success followed with his third single, the commercial sounding "Goodgroove", which led to his departure from Music of Life. With Russell Simmons' RUSH artist management behind him, two further singles "Bad Young Brother" and "We Got The Juice", together with his debut lp "Bullet From A Gun", appeared on the newly formed Tuff Audio label.
Dispite touring with Run DMC and Public Enemy, and appearing at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Concert along with Stetsasonic in 1988, his shelf life of fame was almost at expiry. Berated by hardcore UK hip hop fans because of his success, and shunned by the US market that RUSH were attempting to break him into, Derek B's career as a recording artist was essentially over.
An obortive comeback was attempted at the turn of the decade (the dreadful hip-house abomination that was "You Got 2 Look Up"), before Derek tried his hand at ghostwriting.
He wont be forgotten for becoming the first high profile UK hip hop act however, and we salute him for paving the way for many other acts (Hijack, MC Duke, Overlord X, Einstien, Demon Boyz, Daddy Freddy, to name but a few) to get record deals in those early days.