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Magoo, Rapping Partner of Timbaland, Dead at 50

Melvin Barcliff, better known as the rapper Magoo of the duo Timbaland & Magoo, has died at 50 years old.

Digital Black, a member of the Timbaland-affiliated R&B group Playa, announced Magoo’s death. “Man can’t believe this RIH Magoo damn big bro wasnt ready for this at all #superfriends,” Digital Black wrote in the caption of an Instagram post with a photo of Timbaland & Magoo’s first album, Welcome to Our World. Playa contributed to multiple tracks on the project, including “Luv 2 Luv U.”

R&B star Ginuwine and fellow Playa member Smoke E. Digglera also confirmed Magoo’s death. Ginuwine wrote, “this dude, always pushed me …I will mis you maganooo that’s what we called him ….. totally one of the best ever in my eyes always pressing forward I know we didn’t talk alot but the love was and will be always there my brotha.” Meanwhile, Smoke shared audio of Magoo talking about their early days living together with Digital Black and late Playa member Static Major.

Timbaland and Magoo first met when they were teenagers in Norfolk, Virginia, and formed their group in 1989. They later became part of an R&B collective originally known as Da Bassment Cru alongside Missy Elliott, Ginuwine, and Playa under the tutelage of DeVante Swing of Jodeci, which turned into a more loosely formed crew called The Superfriends.

After signing to Blackground Records, Timbaland & Magoo released their debut album, Welcome to Our World, in 1997. Eventually going Platinum, it featured the duo’s highest-charting hit, “Up Jumps Da Boogie,” a collaboration with Missy Elliott and Aaliyah that topped the Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart and reached No. 12 on the Hot 100.

The duo would go on to release two more albums, 2001’s Indecent Proposal and 2003’s Under Construction, Pt. II.

In August 2021, Timbaland & Magoo’s albums were brought to streaming services for the first time as part of Blackground’s new distribution deal with EMPIRE Records.