Magoo, Virginia hip-hop star who was half of duo Timbaland & Magoo, reportedly dies at 50


Virginia hip-hop icon Magoo, a rapper finest identified for his duo act with Timbaland and collaboration with Missy Elliott and Aaliyah, has reportedly died.

Fellow rapper Digital Black was first to announce Magoo’s reported dying late Sunday with different artists chiming in on his passing quickly after. The situation and explanation for his dying haven’t been introduced. He was 50.

Representatives for Timbaland and Elliott didn’t instantly reply to The Occasions’ requests for remark or affirmation, and The Occasions couldn’t affirm Magoo’s dying independently.

Born Melvin Barcliff, the Norfolk, Va., artist rose to prominence within the Nineties as part of Swing Mob, often known as Da Bassment Cru, a music collective fashioned by Jodeci member DeVante Swing. Timbaland & Magoo headlined the group, together with fellow Virginia native Elliott and her group Sista, in addition to R&B singer Ginuwine.

With success as Timbaland & Magoo, the childhood buddies introduced consideration within the Nineties and early 2000s to the burgeoning hip-hop scene in Virginia, which additionally birthed acts equivalent to Pharrell as part of the Neptunes and Pusha T. Timbaland led the duo along with his futuristic beats rooted in Nineteen Seventies soul and funk, often lending his gruff baritone vocals, whereas Magoo was the pure lyricist, effortlessly spitting over the forward-thinking beats, his voice recognizable by its high-pitched, nasal high quality.

“This one hits completely different,” Timbaland wrote Monday on Instagram. “Lengthy reside Melvin aka magoo !!! Tim and Magoo without end, relaxation straightforward my king.”

The submit included an outdated video of the pair dancing onstage, performing their 1997 hit “Up Jumps da Boogie” alongside Elliott. Minutes later, Timbaland shared one other video of the 2 reuniting onstage to carry out the only in 2012 on the Shaggfest music pageant in Virginia Seashore. “So many reminiscences,” the music producer and rapper wrote.

Underscoring the monitor’s progressive sound, music author Jeff Weiss described the hit as “26 years forward of sound 26 years later” in a tweet that was among the many earliest tributes on-line to mourn Magoo’s dying late Sunday.

“And look, Magoo doesn’t steal the present, however everybody on the workforce will get a championship ring,” Weiss continued, including that Timbaland & Magoo had been among the many first Virginia artists to go platinum, with their 1997 debut album, “Welcome to Our World.” “You may have need to salute the person. He made enjoyable rap tunes & received out of the best way to reside his life when it was time.”

Elliott stated she was shocked by Magoo’s dying, writing Monday on Instagram that “the extra I sit the truth kicks in so many feelings.” She recalled assembly Magoo for the primary time once they had been teenagers and poking enjoyable at his voice. “I laughed so onerous, and I stated, ‘Wait you actually discuss like that?’ And also you stated, ‘Yuuuup,’ and I saved laughing.” After she discovered he was a rapper, Magoo spit eight bars on the spot, reminding Elliott of Q-Tip from A Tribe Referred to as Quest — “However your move was VA (Virginia), I beloved it!”

“From that day we turned so cool, you supported me from day 1,” the “Work It” artist wrote, crediting Magoo for arising along with her nickname, Misdemeanor, after telling her, “It’s a criminal offense to have that many skills.”

“Posting that is simply heartbreaking,” Elliott continued, sharing a clip from the music video for his or her 1998 track, “Beep Me 911.” “I’m so misplaced for phrases.”

Fellow Bassment Cru member Ginuwine additionally penned his personal tribute Sunday night, writing: “I don’t even know find out how to say something at this level” and including that he was “actually efd up proper now.”

“This dude at all times pushed me — I’ll miss you [Magoo], that’s what we known as him, completely probably the greatest ever in my eyes, at all times urgent ahead,” the “Pony” singer continued. “I do know we didn’t discuss so much however the love was and shall be at all times there my brotha. I’ll see you quickly bro, all of us have our date and I’m anticipating the bro hug once I get there.”

Richmond-based rapper Mad Skillz, who was featured on Timbaland & Magoo’s “Clock Strikes,” additionally mourned the rapper’s dying by posting a photograph of the three artists within the track’s music video with the caption, “Relaxation straightforward my brother. VA misplaced a Actual One.”

Whereas Timbaland would go on to supply hit tracks that might assist outline hip-hop and pop music within the 2000s, from Jay-Z to Nas, Ludacris, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Keri Hilson and Nelly Furtado, Magoo stepped away from music after the dissolution of the duo in 2004. When requested by Billboard throughout a 2001 interview whether or not he would ever take into account a solo album other than Timbaland, Magoo stated it was onerous for him to think about making music with out him, including, “Tim and Magoo is extra a friendship than it’s a group.”

Magoo had a troublesome time adjusting to his newfound fame on the heels of their platinum album and a number of other tracks that cracked the Prime 10 on Billboard’s Sizzling 100, telling the publication, “While you get a bit little bit of success, it’s overwhelming at first.”

Throughout a 2020 interview with hip-hop weblog YouKnowIGotSoul through which he mirrored on his profession, Magoo recalled, “I by no means actually received an opportunity to benefit from the success as a result of it got here at a price,” describing the time in his life as “only a blur.”

“The video shoots and the flying, I by no means actually received the possibility to digest this success … I’m going to maintain it actual, I didn’t take pleasure in any of that,” Magoo stated. “I by no means felt like me and Tim received an opportunity to take pleasure in our early years and it by no means even felt like we had been this million-selling group. Not simply from a monetary standpoint, however extra so since you’re at all times working.

“You go from that album after which they need one other one after which you have got individuals attempting to tear you aside. I didn’t get an opportunity to take pleasure in that. I loved it extra as soon as it was over and I nonetheless didn’t take pleasure in it. That’s why I walked away from it.”

Whereas Magoo remained non-public about his life after performing, he stated he remained lively within the music business because the proprietor of a manufacturing firm, working with Timbaland and, later, Madonna. However celeb was one thing he continued to shun.

“The music enterprise is a promise that may’t be saved and that’s fame,” he stated. “After I had a primary track, I noticed I could have been higher with my 9-5 earlier than I left Virginia. It’s onerous to be completely satisfied since you’re preventing for every little thing you earned and also you simply don’t have time to take pleasure in it with your loved ones. You aren’t as shut with buddies anymore and persons are treating you completely different upon getting that hit file.

“I lived two completely different lives and being a celeb wasn’t enjoyable.”


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