Magoo, Timbaland’s former musical partner, dies at 50

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In the late-’90s, rappers Timbaland & Magoo burst out of Norfolk, Virginia, with a fresh sound and a hot single, “Up Jumps da Boogie.”

Half of the duo, Melvin “Magoo” Barcliff, has died, Timbaland shared on social media. No cause of death has been announced.

The producer paid tribute in an Instagram post Monday.

“This one hits different. Long live Melvin aka Magoo!!! Tim and Magoo forever. Rest easy my king,” Timbaland (aka Tim Mosley) wrote.

USA TODAY has reached out to Timbaland’s rep for comment.

Magoo was remembered by fellow artists including Digital Black (aka Benjamin Bush) of Dru Hill and Ginuwine, who posted a heartfelt message on Instagram.

“This dude always pushed me … I will miss 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 a lot but the love was and will always be there my brotha,” Ginuwine wrote.

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With Timbaland, his friend since adolescence, Magoo released “Welcome to Our World” in 1997, their platinum-selling debut that featured Aaliyah and fellow Virginian Missy Elliott on their first single, “Up Jumps da Boogie.”

Magoo is credited for introducing Elliott to Timbaland, which resulted in one of the most iconic pairings in ’90s hip-hop starting with their collaboration on her 1997 deubt, “Supa Dupa Fly.”

“It was almost like God was putting pieces together,” Magoo said in a 2020 interview with youknowigotsoul.com.

Elliott shared her grief on social media Monday, saying she was first in shock at the news, but now “reality has kicked in.”

This kind of post I don’t wish on any1😢 at 1st I was in shock & now reality has kicked in😭i asked you to rap on Beep Me 911 & I played your verse over & over because I always loved your VA style 😞posting this is so heartbreaking I am so lost for words… 😭🕊️💔 #RIPMAGOO pic.twitter.com/R4yhNgzwD6

— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) August 14, 2023

Timbaland & Magoo continued success with their singles “Clock Strikes” and “We At It Again” from the “Romeo Must Die” soundtrack in 2000 and followed their swelling fame with the albums “Indecent Proposal” in 2001 and “Under Construction, Part II” (a nod to Elliott’s album, “Under Construction”) in 2003.

While reflecting on his career to youknowigotsoul.com, Magoo admitted that the whirlwind of success wasn’t as gratifying as it might have seemed.

“Still to this day, I can tell someone we sold 1.6 million and I have a platinum single, too. A lot of people go their whole career without having 25% of that and I’ve been blessed to have it, but I never got a chance to enjoy it,” 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.”

While Timbaland’s producing profile exploded as he worked with Jay-Z, Madonna and Justin Timberlake among other artists, Magoo remained cryptic about the direction of his career following Timbaland & Magoo.

“I don’t want to talk about what I’m doing now,” Magoo said in his website interview. “I’m in the business, but I don’t want people to know what I’m doing. I used to have a production company and they worked with Madonna and Justin Timberlake. I did that after Timbaland & Magoo. I signed a few producers and they did very well.”

In 2021, the three albums from Timbaland & Magoo were rereleased following a deal with Blackground Records 2.0 and Empire Distribution. It marked the first time the duo’s work was available on streaming services.

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