The hip-hop community is in mourning as fans grapple with the untimely passing of Virginia musician Magoo. The artist, who is best known as one-half of the rap duo Timbaland and Magoo, was 50 years old. The earliest confirmations of his death were shared by the estate of producer Static Major and singer Black, of Dru Hill, on Aug. 13. A cause is not yet known.
Magoo, real name Melvin Barcliff, catapulted to stardom with his witty lyrics and unique tone in the mid-1990s. The Norfolk native, along with Timbaland, Missy Elliott, and Static Major, are credited as trailblazers who put Virginia on the map in the music industry.
The rap duo’s most recognized hit is “Up Jumps Da’ Boogie” from its debut album, “Welcome To Our World.” The pair would release two more studio albums, “Indecent Proposal” and “Under Construction, Part II,” before Magoo bowed out of the music industry.
Despite finding success with Timbaland, Magoo shied away from the limelight to maintain normalcy in his life. “It’s hard to be happy because you’re fighting for everything you earned and you just don’t have time to enjoy it with your family…I lived two different lives, and being a celebrity wasn’t fun,” he told YouKnowIGotSoul.com in 2020.
His passing has been felt by many, especially collaborators who knew him best. Timbaland reflected on their shared memories in three separate Instagram posts. Two were videos, where he wrote, “This one hits different long live Melvin aka magoo !!! Tim and Magoo forever rest easy my king” and “So many memories.” In the third, he reminisced on their days as the trio S.B.I., which featured Pharrell Williams.
“I’ll never forget Cam playing you and Larry live over Tim’s,” Williams wrote in a touching post on his Instagram Story. “Tim had the whole Bridal Creek knockin with the demos between DJ sets.”
He continued, “Your concepts and voice let me know immediately that we shared a deep reverence for A Tribe Called Quest. Surrounded By Idiots was genius, it was a space for us weirdos. Well now you are in the greatest Space there is, was and ever will be; Heaven. G’Head and Party up there!”
“I don’t even know how to say anything at this point,” began a heartfelt post by R&B singer Ginuwine. “I’m truly efd up right now foreal life is crazy… I hate going through this and losing people we love sometimes it makes you feel like you dont wanna feel the pain so you wanna be gone also …pain hurts.”
Missy also paid tribute to her late friend. “These are the kind of post I don’t wish on any1 at 1st I was in shock & the more I sit the reality kicks in so many emotions…you supported me from day 1 & you said I’m going to call you Misdemeanor because it’s a crime to have that many talents. So those who don’t know Magoo gave me the name Misdemeanor,” she wrote.
During his career, Magoo also worked with notable artists such as Aaliyah and Tweet. He is also famously known for being part of Da Basement Cru, the R&B/hip-hop collective curated by Jodeci’s DeVante Swing.