Rapper Magoo, Timbaland collaborator, dies

August 15, 2023

The rapper Magoo, known for his collaborations with hitmaker Timbaland, has died. He was 50.

The cause of death was not immediately clear, but the news had an immediate effect on the hip hop world.

Magoo, whose real name was Melvin Barcliff, met Timbaland in their native Norfolk, Virginia.

Rapper Magoo dies

The pair released their first album together, Welcome to Our World, in 1997. The platinum-certified record - which was producer Timbaland's first - featured the hit "Up Jumps Da Boogie" and guest appearances from the late Aaliyah, Missy Elliot, and Ginuwine.

Timbaland and Magoo were also part of a group called Surrounded by Idiots with Timbaland's cousin Pharrell Williams in the early 1990s.

Two more collaborations between Magoo and Timbaland followed, Indecent Proposal and Under Construction Part II.  

Timbaland posted a video tribute to his friend with the words, “Rest easy my king."


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A post shared by Timbo the King (@timbaland)

Hip hop world reacts

Missy Elliott - whose track "Beep Me 911" features rapping by Magoo - also shared her shock at the "heartbreaking" news.

Ginuwine said he was at a loss for words in a lengthy Instagram post.

“I don’t even know how to say anything at this point…this dude, always pushed me,” he wrote. “Totally one of the best ever in my eyes always pressing forward I know we didn’t talk a lot but the love was and will be always there my brotha,” he added.

Magoo eventually left the rap game - saying he wouldn't continue without his friend.

“I’ve never seriously thought about doing a solo album… I’ve thought about it in passing-like if Tim decided he wanted to stop rapping. It would be really difficult for me to think about doing a record without him," he told Billboard in 2001.

"We’ve been together since 1990, so [being solo] would be weird. Tim and Magoo is more a friendship than it is a group.”

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