UK rap legend Derek B suffered a heart attack this weekend, and died at the age of 44.

Derek B, born Derek Boland was one of the first British rappers to achieve mainstream success in the UK, enjoying two top 20 hits with 'Good Groove' and 'Bad Young Brother' in 1988.

Many members of the UK hip hop community paid tribute to the rapper's legacy; singer Estelle called him an "UK originator," BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe said Derek's 1988 debut album 'Bullet From a Gun' "was a massive album for me, and rapper Ty said "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."

Derek began is career as a pirate radio DJ at the age of 15. In 1986 he recorded his first single, 'Rock the Beat," which got him an appearance on Top of the Pops. in 1988, Derek hooked up with American music mogul Russell Simmons, and his management company, Rush. His best-known album, 'Bullet From a Gun,' was released later that year on Tuff Audio. Derek went on to produce and remix tracks for artists from Eric B. & Rakim to The Cookie Crew.



Check out one of our favorite Derek B tracks here.