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 (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 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 #16 in the UK Singles Chart.Derek B's third and final UK chart entry was "We've Got The Juice", which peaked at #56.
Derek B was the first UK rapper to achieve 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. 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.
He died of a heart attack in London on November 15, 2009.His death was reported on November 16, 2009