Funkster and creative genius, Roger Troutman was the master of the vocoder voice-distortion box, long before T Pain and auto-tunes. Roger would play in clubs around the Dayton, Cincinnati and Lexington, KY areas, I remember him also playing at my college one year. Back then, Roger’s group was called Roger and the Human Body which later evolved into the 80′s group Zapp & Roger. He was one of the coolest guys on the planet with great showmanship.
Zapp hit the Top 20 pop charts in 1980 with their single ‘More Bounce to the Ounce’. In 1981 Roger worked on Funkadelic’s ‘The Electric Spanking of War Babies’ and released his solo debut album ‘The Many Facets of Roger’. Roger’s cover of ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ earned the album gold status.
Roger’s 2nd solo album was released in 1983 ‘The Saga Continues’ followed by his 3rd album ‘Unlimited’. In the mid-80’s Troutman opened a state of the art recording studio in Dayton called ‘Troutman Sound Labs’. He produced the top ten 1996 single ‘California Love’ for 2pac featuring Dr. Dre. Zapp & Rogers’s hits were sampled by an array of Rap and Hip-Hop artists in the 90’s, including Janet Jackson, H-Town, Ice Cube, Ralph Tresvant and Snoop Dogg.
Roger’s untimely death occurred 25th April 1999, he was shot several times by his brother Larry. Larry later committed suicide by turning the gun on himself.