Magoo, the Virginia rapper best known for his work with Timbaland in the 1990s and early 2000s, has died at the age of 50. According to Variety, the Virginia Chief Medical Examiner confirmed the rapper’s passing but did not reveal a cause.
Born in Norfolk, Va., in 1973 as Marvin Barcliff, he took the rap name of Magoo as a teen and joined forces with Timbaland, Larry Live, and a young Pharrell Williams to form Surrounded By Idiots (SBI). After splitting off on their own, Timbaland and Magoo signed to Blackground Records and released their debut album, Welcome to Our World. The song “Up Jumps Da Boogie” featuring Aaliyah and Missy Elliot peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard‘s Hot 100.
Timbaland & Magoo future releases included 2001’s Indecent Proposal and 2003’s Under Construction, Part II, the latter sporting guest appearances from Jay-Z, Beenie Man, Ludacris, Twista, Brandy, and Wyclef Jean. As Timbaland became an increasingly in-demand producer, Magoo opted to stop making music himself.
“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.
Following news of Magoo’s death, Elliott wrote that she was “so lost for words” in a social media post. Timbaland also posted tributes to his longtime friend, writing, “This one hits different. Long live Melvin aka Magoo !! Tim and Magoo forever. Rest easy my king.”