Magoo, a rapper who was a foundational member of a groundbreaking hip-hop scene that emerged in Virginia within the Nineties, collaborating with up-and-coming stars like Timbaland, Missy Elliott and Pharrell Williams, died over the weekend in Williamsburg, Va. He was 50.
The loss of life was confirmed on Monday by his former spouse, Meco Barcliff, who mentioned that the coroner’s workplace was investigating the trigger.
Magoo, whose start identify was Melvin Barcliff, was a toddler when rap music was first heard on the radio, and he credited it with serving to save him from a troublesome early childhood.
At first he thought hip-hop was made solely by folks within the Northeast, he mentioned in a 2013 interview for the hip-hop oral historical past assortment on the School of William & Mary. However as rap music started to float from the coasts and Atlanta to document shops in Virginia, Magoo, then 14, realized that it was an artwork type he may follow, too.
At Deep Creek Excessive College in Chesapeake, he made mates with different youngsters who had been within the style, together with Timothy Mosley, also called Timbaland, who would go on to turn into a famend producer.
Magoo and others within the Virginia Seaside space, together with Pharrell Williams and Missy Elliott, exerted a heavy affect on hip-hop within the late Nineties and early 2000s. Magoo and Timbaland shaped a duo and, between 1997 and 2003, put out three albums. “Welcome to Our World,” their first collaboration, included the monitor “Up Jumps da’ Boogie,” that includes Ms. Elliott and Aaliyah, which reached No. 12 on the Billboard Scorching 100. It will be their highest-charting effort.
Critics cited the venture as a step in Timbaland’s growth as a producer and in contrast Magoo to Q-Tip, one of many rappers within the Queens group A Tribe Known as Quest.
On Monday morning, Timbaland posted a number of movies and photographs of the 2 collectively on Instagram, with the caption “Tim and Magoo endlessly.”
Ms. Elliott wrote on Instagram on Monday that she had met Magoo once they had been youngsters, and that he was the one who gave her the nickname Misdemeanor, — as a result of he mentioned it was “against the law to have that many abilities.”
Melvin Barcliff was born on July 12, 1973, in Norfolk, Va., and raised by his aunt and uncle, Magdaline and Hiawatha Brown, who took him in when he was 4.
With out them, he mentioned within the William & Mary interview, he most definitely would have been taken into state custody and “wouldn’t have been within the place to turn into what I used to be in a position to turn into.”
The truth is his aunt, who glided by Magazine, impressed his rap identify, Magazine-an-ooh, which he then shortened.
Magoo light from the highlight as his collaborators continued to rise, however Ms. Barcliff mentioned that he had at all times most popular to be behind the scenes.
The couple divorced in July 2015. Ms. Barcliff mentioned that he had helped elevate her daughter, Detrice Bickham, taking her to theme parks like Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion.
The couple met on Aug. 10, 1996, at a membership. Regardless that Magoo was a fantastic dancer, she mentioned, she would quickly study that he didn’t prefer to exit as a result of it was an excessive amount of like being at work. “That’s once I discovered: No extra clubbing for me,” she mentioned.
Magoo’s survivors embrace his aunt and uncle, in addition to two sisters, Portia Brown and Lynette Hawks.
Magoo mentioned he treasured the reminiscence of the primary time he heard a rap tune on the radio. He was at one other aunt’s home when he heard the monitor “Rapper’s Delight,” by the Sugarhill Gang.
“It simply modified my entire perspective on life as a result of, like I mentioned, I used to be 6 or 7 on the time,” he recalled. “I used to be solely three years away from being with my actual mom who had abused me, so I hadn’t utterly gotten over that abuse, however rap music turned my blanket.”
Alain Delaquérière contributed analysis.