Rapper Magoo, Timbaland’s Longtime Collaborator, Dies At 50

Timbaland and Magoo (right) attend pictured at a party in 2011. The duo recorded three records together, including their platinum debut, Welcome to Our World. (Getty Images)

Melvin Barcliff, a rapper and longtime collaborator with producer Timbaland, reportedly died Sunday, Aug. 13. Recording artist Digital Black, a member of rhythm and blues groups Playa and Dru Hill, announced the rapper’s death on Instagram. Magoo was 50.

Details of his death were not disclosed.

Timbaland confirmed the news on his Instagram page Monday morning, posting a video of Magoo performing live.

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

Digital Black posted his message on social media Sunday evening along with a photo of the cover of Timbaland and Magoo’s debut album, Welcome to Our World, which was released in 1997. The LP was certified platinum with hits singles “Up Jumps da Boogie,” which featured Missy Elliott and Aaliyah, and “Luv 2 Luv Ya (Remix)” which included Shaunta and Playa.

“Man can’t believe this. RIH Magoo. Damn big bro wasn’t ready for this at all,” wrote Digital Black, whose real name is Benjamin Bush.

Timbaland and Magoo were friends as teenagers and formed a rap duo in 1989. They followed up their successful debut with Indecent Proposal in 2001 and Under Construction, Part II in 2003. Magoo often contributed verses to songs from Timbaland-associated artists such as Missy Elliott.

R&B star Ginuwine also took to Instagram to mourn the rapper, saying it’s the third friend he’s lost in the past life and that he cared for Magoo despite not keeping in touch often. “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.”