Timbaland (Timothy Mosely) as just a "producer" is
shortsighted. And on the flip, labeling his partner in rhyme, Magoo
(Melvin Barcliff), a mere sidekick would be another mistake. The two
close friends are instrumental players in bringing their Virginia home
state's bevy of talent to national prominence.
Ultimately, Timbaland is the focus of this dynamic duo. But, it is
Magoo's virtual selfless ego that makes it work. In fact, Magoo thrives
on staying out of the spotlight. "I'm OK with where I am. I'm not
one of them people that need attention," explains Magoo.
The duo met in 1988 through a mutual friend, Larry, who told Chesapeake,
VA native Magoo about Virginia Beach, VA native Timbaland's exploits as
a DJ. They've been best of friends ever since. "The situation with
me and Tim is less about us being a group, it's more about us being
friends," continues Magoo. "Our main concern is that we can
leave this game still being cool with each other."
Timbaland started with aspirations of becoming a renowned DJ. "I
always liked Kid Capri," he says. The natural progression was to
start creating beats. "It just happened on this little Casio
keyboard. Magoo while laughing, excitedly adds, "The beats were
dope too. I don't know how he hooked that daggone machine up!"
Magoo's original group never took off and Timbaland hooked up with
Devante Swing of Jodeci. It provided him the opportunity to fine-tune
his production craft with a group Devante had called Sista (Missy Elliot
was a member). He also contributed, though uncredited, to Jodeci's first
album. Magoo had the opportunity to sign on with Devante, but he
remained in VA to get the group thing popping while Tim moved to New
Jersey to join Devante and company's makeshift artist boot camp. They
kept in contact and a year later Magoo joined them after telling Tim,
"I don't want to do this by myself. I like playing off of somebody
else, admits Magoo."
But before he could focus on Timbaland and Magoo, Tim was busy churning
out hits for a plethora of artists as a highly sought after production
impresario. Timbaland credits two songs that put him on as a hot
producer, Aaliyah's "If Your Girl Only Knew" and Ginuwine's
discography is packed with more hits than the mob. Heavyweight
superstars like Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliot, Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z,
to name only a few, have all been blessed with Tim's ever-evolving
bastion of intoxicating beats. Despite his track record, it seems that
every time one of his own projects Welcome to Our World (1997), Indecent
Proposal (2001) is set to drop, he proves himself all over again.
"I don't have to prove myself, but I still look up to producers
like Dre. He continues to give credit to where it's due. "The real
King, that's Teddy Riley. I give props to Jermaine (Dupri), Dre, Teddy
As his ascent to the "it" R&B/Hip-Hop producer list
continued, Timbaland began stepping from behind the boards to become an
artist in his own right. When teamed with Magoo, the result is an agile
rhyme tag team reinforced with eccentric, neck pain inducing beats.
"Missy's last album is so hot to me," is how Timbaland begins
the explanation of the latest Timbaland & Magoo album's title, Under
Construction Part II. "We tapped into the "Old School",
and I felt like it just couldn't end right there."
You can credit his eclectic taste in music to not just hip-hop...Coldplay
and John Mayer are his current favorites. It may be because of disdain
for most current hip-hop music that Under Construction Part II pays such
homage to "Old School" hip-hop. On the incendiary lead single,
"Cop That Sh**" featuring Missy Elliot, all three artists
interpolate and update classic verses from Rakim, MC Lyte and Special
Ed. The video reinforces it with visual stimuli. "That video is
phenomenal cause we got all those hip-hop legends," adds Tim.
There is plenty of material on the album for all age groups to
appreciate. In the tradition, if there is such a thing, of his previous
production, all sounds are fair game when Tim is behind the boards.
Humming becomes the bass line of "Shenanigans" featuring Bubba
Sparxxx while a melodic flute is layered over swift drum kicks on the
aptly titled, "Indian Flute."
Magoo's flow continues to improve and he flexes it all over the album,
particularly on the laid back head nodder "That $%#@ Ain't Gonna
Work" and the dance hall flavored "Naughty Eye." Wyclef
makes an appearance on "Hold On."
Despite all the appearances, it's the core that makes Timbaland &
Magoo's Under Construction Part II a looming edifice of musicianship.
"The voices," is what Tim feels makes he and his teammate
unique. "The voice contrast, just two different sounds, two
different tones. You get tired of one sound." After all, two heads
are better than one.