Sunday, 13 November 2011

Derek B T-Shirt


I’m delighted to announce that Derek’s family have granted me permission to do a limited run of T-shirts featuring the image from the front cover of his ‘Bullet from a Gun ‘ LP.
At the moment I am asking you to vote on whether you would like to buy this T-Shirt. The cost will be £25 which includes free shipping anywhere in the world. I need a minimum of 30 votes in order to take the shirt into production, so I will allow the voting to take place until the end of the year and then after the New Year I will begin taking orders (as long as we have enough interest). The orders will be done on a ‘pre-order’ basis… meaning that you will have a few weeks to place your order and then I will print up the required number of shirts.
50% of profits will go straight to Derek’s family.
The T-shirt will be a heavyweight Black shirt with a 3 colour screen-print finish, lightweight and ladies fit shirts will also be available.


Thursday, 6 October 2011

Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock - It Takes Two (Tuff Audio Mixes) 1988 FLAC & mp3

A couple remixes by Derek B for this classic jam.  Personally I prefer the original.

Vocal Edit
Tuff Audio Mix Take 1
Vocal Version
Tuff Audio Mix Edit
Tuff Audio Mix Take 2
320kbps mp3

01.  Get On The Dance Floor (The 'Sky' King Remix) [06:55]
02.  Get On The Dance Floor (The 'Sky' King Dub) [06:31]
03.  It Takes Two (Vocal Version) [05:01]
04.  It Takes Two (Tuff Audio Mix Take 1) [06:07]
Flac or mp3
320kbps mp3

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Liverpool FC - Anfield Rap

Derek B, the London hip-hop artist who co-wrote Liverpool's famous Anfield Rap, has died of a heart attack aged 44.
The 1980s star - real name Derek Boland - was hand-picked by Craig Johnston to create the club's 1988 FA Cup song after the Aussie midfielder heard Derek's hit single Bad Young Brother.
Johnston said: "I went to London and sought out a guy called Derek B who was Britain's first ever rapper. This is before rap had even come to Britain's shores and I was on it and I went to this guy and said: 'Look it's a mickey-take - let's write it'.
"So I wrote the words and he got the Twist and Shout hook. There wasn't a single Englishman in the team at the time. They were all Scots, Irish, Welsh, a Dane, a Zimbabwean, an Australian. So the whole thing was about the dressing room craic. It was about McMahon and Aldridge and accents and how the other lads didn't talk like them:
"Ah eh mate, we're great me and you but the other lads don't talk like we do. No they don't talk like we do, do they though la, we'll have to learn them to talk proper."
"The whole thing was about accents and how there were only two who had the proper Scouse accent. Now and again I get a royalty from Virgin Records and it's always a cheque for like £1.27 or 89p. I never bank it because it's not worth it."

Source:  Anfield Rap co-writer Derek B dead at 44 - Football Banter -

The producer is credited as Tuff Audio on the sleeve.  You can hear Derek rap the intro.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Hip Hop's Greatest Logos

Ah... to have a catchy logo.  The goal of every designer behind any record ever.  Derek B had one.  I loved it when I was a kid & I still do today.  Two pistols but don't get it twisted - This is pre-gangster.  The symbolism is more reminiscent of a coat-of-arms - No doubt inspired by Derek's James Bond themed "Bullet From a Gun".  I cleaned up the logo for the blog title & thought I'd share it, along with my favourite Hip Hop logos (in no particular order).

Monday, 3 October 2011

Was (Not Was) - Spy in the House of Love (Dr. X In Full Effect Mix) 1988

This remix is so reliant on samples it wouldn't turn a profit in today's litigious industry.  It follows the style of successful club tunes of the era, namely "Check This Out" by LA Mix, "Beat Dis" by Bomb the Bass and MARRS's "Pump Up the Volume".  The remixed components really dominate, virtually rendering the original track insignificant.  I'm surprised that on most releases it seems the remix was called the Dr X. in Full Effect Mix.  I would have thought using Derek B's name more prominently would result in cross promotion benefiting everyone.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Cookie Crew - Bad Girls (1989)

Derek produced this track for the British duo.  It sticks to the formula that had proved to be a winner for his own releases - Innovative sampling, tight programming, catchy loops & quality scratching.  It's one of the better efforts he contributed for other artists.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Special-T - It's Your Love (1983)

As far as I can tell this is the first release that Derek was ever involved with.  Producer Derek Boland.  I'd have thought this was released in the UK but I can only find evidence of it's release in the US.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Who the Hell is EZQ?!?

Before Shock G was Humpty Hump.
Before Raekwon called himself Lex Diamonds.
Derek B had Hip Hop's first alter ego - EZQ!

Derek even gave thanx to EZQ in the liner notes of "Bullet From a Gun"!

So how does EZQ fit into the Derek B puzzle?  You could be forgiven for assuming Derek B is an MC.  But read the lyrics carefully - He's the DJ!  EZQ is the MC!

Confused?  After 25 years I know I am

On his first release Derek Boland established his duality - Rock the Beat:
"Well Derek B-B-B-B got the cuts you like.
The incredible EZQ is on the mic."
He'd even talk to his alter ego.
"Yo Derek!  Rock the Beat!"
"cause I've got Derek B & he's on the set.
Started out in a nightclub when I decided to chill
but I couldn't find a DJ to fit the bill."
"when I found that sound good enouogh for me,
put my hands to my eyes - saw Derek B.
Derek B tried a whip that would not quit
With bare hands he stands.  No time to quit.

"D on the decks.  EZQ - Mic Controller"

And he is quick to not just praise his DJ but brag about their partnership - Get Down:
"My DJ Derek B is best."
"EZ-Q on the mic & Derek B's got juice.
The first time you heard us we left you in a shock.
You didn't realise that Derek B could rock."
"We are the duo from London town"
"Derek B's hands are quicker than the eye.
The crossfader flies on the GLI."
"...he can transform.
My DJ's the king so give him his crown."

All City
"Listen to EZQ cause I ain't lyin."
"Master of the beat - Derek B the warlock
and me, EZQ mean definite road block.
When we do any show in any town"

Power Move:
"Easy come, easy go.  EZQ on the mic."
"Gymnastic elocution comes easy to the Q."

Human Time Bomb:
"Derek B cuts the record so precise"
"EZQ on the mic right from the start"

We Got the Juice:
"EZQ makin it loud and clear."
"Yo D!  Call it home baby."
"Me & Derek B well we got he juice" - In live versions he can be heard rapping "Me & my posse..." instead.  Apparently not a change-of-heart strategy to void confusion because at the beginning of this performance he definitely wants you to know "It's EZQ!"

The alter egos would even converse!  Good Groove:

"OK D? What's that? Breakdown!"

Good Groove
"Derek B's on the cut...You wanna take us on?"
"D's flexing the decks and his diamond's in the slot,
through the Stanton, through the mixer.  Now the speakers' gettin hot!"

Good Groove + Def Beat Boy:
"My DJ's so bad he can cut through steel
and EZQ's with the rhyme given you the real deal."

Def Beat Boy:
"EZQ gettin potent, rappin hour after hour"

Boland really went out of his way to solidify the two personas.  Giving EZQ an american accent & Derek B sounding British.  Success:
"Yo D!  Yeah? You know that def B line you was runnin on me? Go on, yeah.  Give it to me please.  Alright, sweet.  Hold on.  What, like this?  Yeah that's right."

He even did a song about his DJ!!!  Bad Young Brother:
"When Derek B's on the decks other DJ's get licked.
You don't believe me?  Well it ain't no joke.
With him behind me I'll never go broke
because he makes those beats sweeter than honey.
We record it then rake in the money."
"Yo D!  What?  Show em how you do it."
"My DJ Derek B is my partner in crime.  Nobody can cut quite like this man."
"Yo D!  Yeah?  Show em how you do it.  Alright."
"A nobel peace prize for my rap
and Derek B's got a grammy award for his scratch."
"Like Lennon & McCartney we're perfect together."
"Yo D!  What?  Show em how you do it.  Sweet."

 When it was time to release a music video Boland addressed the duality using special effects to appear as both MC & DJ:

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Derek B Interview in Vapors (1989)

These interviews with Derek B appeared in the February 1989 Issue 4 of Vapors - an underground Australian, and probably the first, Hip Hop magazine.  The initial interview was conducted prior to touring Australia, and the latter during the tour.

"In some ways, losing Derek is like taking Koh-I-Nor away from the Crown Jewel, and yet in another way it's like releasing a young lion from captivity." - Chris France, Music of Life

Take 1:  And Derek B is about to take a shower in a hotel room in Belgium, having spent 12 hours on road and sea travelling from London to the next gig on the mainland of Europe.  But ever glad to talk about himself and Hip Hop, he puts the soap and shampoo down to take the phone call.

The Human Time Bomb, Bad Young Brother and Crown Prince of Poetry is soon asking about what the weather will be like, are there any decent soccer teams down here, and how big are the venues.

As part of a tour which includes Public Enemy, Run DMC and EPMD, the crew called in on the UK and are spreading the gospel of rap in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Scandinavia and Italy.

"English crowds have been good to me - everywhere except in London, that is, 'cos they've known me since I started , and are jealous of what I've done.  The East London Posse still follow me round the country, but I've grown up and away from the gang situation, so they have to understand that I must concentrate on new projects and can't afford to hang around with posse all day.

"This tour is important, so all my efforts are going into it - I've stopped DJ'ing at the Wag Club and cooled off on the record label (Tuff Audio) for the time being.  Audiences have been good, ranging from ten year old kids with their parents right through to adults - and a mix of black and white aswell.

What's the truth behind reports of Hip Hop gigs attracting violence?

"As in everything these days, there's always a minority of idiots trying to spoil it for the mamority, but in the UK there's more trouble at football matches than at gigs.  It's the gutter press blowing things out of proportion just to create a publicity stunt.  It's well over the top - like the story of Bros being heroin addicts!  I enjoyed 'Colors', but you've got to be careful not to glamourise it, as people get the wrong idea.

On his debut album 'Bulet From a Gun' - in one of the rhymes, 'Success', Derek raps: "I've been cut by people for the color of my skin - been rejected from doors who wouldn't let my ass in."  Racism reared it's ugly head this year at the annual Hip Hop event "UK Fresh '88", which wasn't allowed to go ahead due to complaint from local residents around Wembley Arena - the case is being investigated by the Race Relations Committee.

"I'm not in this only for the money, but to make a social comment to the next generation, to say that we can change things and it doesn't have to be violent.  We need more recognition for black people - more black politicians and so on.

Derek had done his apprenticeship in the business of music - starting up the Music of Life label with Simon Harris and acting as A&R man.  But he was to outgrow that job and establish himself as an artist in his own right.  Recognition arrived in the shape of signing to Russell Simmons' Rush Management, and a deal with Phonogram Records.

"Of course I want to break it in the USA, and I know it's hard, but Rush will give me more of  chance there, and all the rap crews help each other out.  It's like a big family, 'cos everyone's in it together - that's why everyone gets credits on album sleeves.  I'm not afraid of commercial success if it comes along - I'm working my ass off for it anyway.
"Hip Hop is still underground - still growing up, and is at last being accepted as a musical form, not just a fashion.

In rhymes like 'Powermove' and 'Alright Now' Derek remains cynical about signing contracts - where Adidas boots meet men in suits - and playing the system, "you've got to play cos you can't beat it."  But he remains firmly with his feet on the ground, and hungry for bigger and better.  London's Number One making the world Get Down signs off from the Northern Hemisphere, and into the waiting shower.

Take 2: And Rap's Next Generation, Easy Q or just plain Derek Boland is in Terra Australis, on a balcony in Pitt Street, Sydney, rapping on the mike with Run DMC, and DJ Scratch on the turntables.

Their three days here took the tour to Melbourne and Sydney, with Derek having a ball - "you've got to understand these guys (Run DMC) are among my heroes, so I'm privileged to be here.

How was the rest of the European trip?

"We got good reactions everywhere.  Public Enemy are cool guys - friendly - the press has exaggerated their lyrics too much.  Pop Will Eat Itself were supporting as well, but they got canned off the stage, which was a shame 'cos audiences should be more open-minded.  I was impressed that thre was no aggrevation at the concerts here - they were just into it and getting down.  [He obviously didn't see the reaction to Mighty Big Crime when they supported Velore & Double O.]  Australia is kicking it!  You're in an enviable position living here, and you should know that you're lucky to live out here.

What's the word on the new album?

"Hopefully you'll see it next March/April.  I'm working with DJ Scratch this time - on 'Bullet' I did all the scratching and sampling myself - but this guy's from some other planet, so we'll be coming up with new ideas and everyone's gonna have to watch out!

"There's a chance that Chuck D and Run might produce a track each.  The next single is called 'Who Dares Wins' (at which point Derek gives us an unaccompanied rap along with improvised scratching sounds).  It's about defending myself, 'cos I still get dissed and I want to show that I'm doing alright and getting somewhere.  Who knows, we might even get sponsored by Adidas.

Watching cartoons in his hotel room inspires Derek to make up a rap about The Flinstones to the tune of the Enemy's 'Rebel Without a Pause' - The Wilma, The Pebbles - they live next door to the Rubbles!  The crew take a car down to Bondi Beach, and Derek's out looking for a surfboard to hire, or he's back in the the hotel lobby tagging on the noticeboard!

"When I get home I might be working with the Cookie Crew, and producing with the She Rockers and Saimon Harris.  I'll be working on Tuff Audio, and there's the album to work on.  We had a good trip here, and it's good to see people are into Hip Hop; I'll be back for sure.

Back to a London winter and leaving behind his first tour of Australia, we should be glad the initial ice has been broken, and must look forward to more tours and more music.

Download the whole magazine here

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Derek B - Bullet From a Gun (1988) FLAC or mp3

This could be my favourite album of all time.  It defines Hip Hop's coming of age.  The perfect balance of drum programming, sampled loops and scratching.

When the time came to compile Bullet From a Gun the total running time was too long.  Since vinyl still dominated in 1988 some songs were shortened to fit.  CD's on the other hand could hold up to 74 minutes of music so bonus tracks were added.  Unfortunately though some tracks on CD were the versions shortened to fit on vinyl.  The good news is between the US & UK releases we can salvage all the full length versions.

UK  Good Groove (5:52)
US  Goodgroove (6:31)
UK  Rock the Beat (5:30)
US  Rock the Beat (4:42)
UK  We've Got the Juice (4:37)
US  We Got the Juice (5:44)

"Rock the Beat" benefits the most from having the full release.  The backwards beat is a sonic classic & was unfortunately trimmed for the edited version.

CD  Bonus Tracks:
UK  Rock the Beat
UK  Derek B's Got...
UK  Bad Young Brother (Billy Beat Mix)
US  Alright Now
US  Def Beat Boy

Surprising to see "Rock the Beat" is a bonus track in the UK.  I'd have included it before "Human Time Bomb" & maybe a couple others.

So here is the definitive version of Bullet From a Gun that I have compiled.  Combining the best of the UK & US releases it is the only version you will ever need:
  1. Bullet From a Gun
  2. Bad Young Brother (Billy Beat Mix)
  3. Power Move
  4. Human Time Bomb
  5. All City
  6. Rock the Beat
  7. Get Down
  8. We've Got the Juice
  9. Alright Now
  10. Good Groove
  11. Success
  12. Derek B's Got...!
  13. Def Beat Boy
I once saw a Japanese version for sale on eBay that had 14 tracks but didn't list them.  If you happen to have it can you please share the tracklisting.

Download:  Link Removed
Password:  derekbtribute
Report broken links in the comments.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Founding Father or Sellout?

Second hand sources say Derek B was criticised for rapping with an American accent instead of his native British voice.  But second hand sources also say that, when Music of Life was compiling tracks for Def Beats 1, Derek stepped up and made his own song - Rock the Beat.  Look at the last comment on the cover below.  Did Derek rap with an American accent to give the impression he was from New York City?  Did he set the precedent for his style that he couldn't then turn his back on?  How convincing was his accent anyway?

One thing's for sure.  He put his homeland before America.  He rapped:
  • "America you're under attack!" - from "Bullet From a Gun"
  • "Step off New York cause London's here!" - from "We've Got the Juice"
Within a culture that takes it's history very seriously them's fightin words!  I guess KRS-ONE wasn't listening.  But it wasn't all one-way traffic:
  • "I give thanks to the brothers from across the ocean for giving me a sip of their magic potion." - from "Get Down"
It's clear though that Derek wasn't sure where he fit in:
  • "In the States, the brothers, they are proud.  In England they tried to pull me down." - from "All City"
And the recognition of his US counterparts was something he proudly promoted:
  • "Derek B has one of the hottest records in New York." - Chuck D from the "Power Move" intro.
But the accent was something consciously dealt with.  On "Success", Derek B the DJ & producer speaks with a British accent to EZQ, the MC with an American accent:

EZQ:        Yo D!
Derek B:  Yeah?
EZQ:        You know that def B line you was runnin on me?
Derek B:  Go on, yeah.
EZQ:        Give it to me please.
Derek B:  Alright, sweet.  Hold on.  What, like this?
EZQ:        Yeah, that's right.


This man's contribution to Hip Hop doesn't get the recognition it deserves.  Emcee, deejay AND producer - This cat did it all!  Sadly, he recently passed away.

Derek Boland.  Born: London, 15 January 1965; died: London, 15 November 2009.

Welcome to the Derek B Tribute.