Page last updated at 18:25 GMT, Monday, 16 November 2009

British rapper Derek B dies at 44

British rapper Derek B, one of the first UK hip-hop stars to enjoy chart success and an influence on future urban artists, has died aged 44.

Derek Boland had UK top 20 hits with Good Groove and Bad Young Brother in 1988 and co-wrote the Anfield Rap for Liverpool Football Club.

His hits saw him become one of the first British hip-hop stars to appear on programmes like Top of the Pops.

"He definitely broke the door down," London rapper Ty told BBC News.

"He was one of the first artists that I saw get to such a level through rap, and be on Top of the Pops, be on children's programmes, be on the world stage.

"He was one of the ones to do it first, when it was thoroughly unacceptable from the mainstream perspective. At the time, he was absolutely groundbreaking. He definitely broke the door down."

Boland suffered a heart attack, according to reports.

BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe paid tribute on Twitter, saying Boland's 1988 debut Bullet From A Gun "was a massive album for me", while singer Estelle described him as a "UK originator".



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