Virginia rapper Magoo has died at the age of 50. The news was broken by the publication Variety, which cited a report from the Virginia Chief Medical Examiner – the cause of death has not been disclosed at the time of writing.
Magoo – Melvin Barcliff – was an early collaborator and longtime friend of Timbaland, who he met as a teenager in Virginia in the late ’80s. The two would go on to perform together as the duo Timbaland & Magoo, before teaming up again in the group Surrounded by Idiots (SBI) – which included Pharrell Williams.
Magoo Passes Away, Aged 50
Timbaland & Magoo signed to Blackground Records in the ’90s – which was run by Aaliyah’s uncle – and would release their debut album Welcome to Our World in 1997. The album featured collaborations with Missy Elliot, Aaliyah, and Ginuwine, and was a runaway success, being certified platinum.
In a 2020 interview with YouKnowIGotSoul, Magoo reflected on this era of his career, admitting he didn’t actually enjoy it.
“I never really got the chance to enjoy the success because it came at a cost,” Magoo said. “I’m going to keep it real, I didn’t enjoy any of that. I never felt like me and Tim got a chance to enjoy our early years and it never even felt like we were this million-selling group. Not just from a financial standpoint, but more so because you’re always working. You go from that album and then they want another one and then you have people trying to rip you apart.”
The duo’s second album Indecent Proposal was released in 2001, featuring collabs with Ludacris and Jay-Z. Their final album Under Construction Part II came out in 2003, after which Magoo stepped away from the spotlight and Timbaland would go on to become an influential producer.
“This one hits different… long live Melvin aka magoo !!!” Timbaland wrote on Instagram on Monday. “Tim and Magoo forever… rest easy my king.”