Roger Troutman (November 29, 1951 – April 25, 1999) was an American composer, songwriter, producer and the founder of the band Zapp. The group helped spearhead the funk movement and heavily influenced west coast hip hop due to the scene’s heavy sampling of his music over the years.
Troutman was well known for his use of the vocoder or the talk box, a device that is connected to an instrument (frequently a keyboard) to create different vocal effects. Roger used a custom-made talkbox—the Electro Harmonix “Golden Throat,” as well as a Yamaha DX100 FM synthesizer.
As both band leader of Zapp and in his subsequent solo releases, he scored a bevy of funk and R&B hits throughout the 1980s. In his later years, he was mostly known for singing the chorus to the hip-hop classic by Tupac Shakur, “California Love” and the Vice City Soundtrack, “More Bounce to the Ounce”.
On the morning of April 25, 1999, Roger Troutman was found shot and critically wounded outside his northwest Dayton recording studio around 7 a.m. Roger’s brother Larry (also a member of Zapp) was found dead in a car a few blocks away with a gunshot wound to the head. A pistol was found inside the vehicle, which matched the description of a car leaving the scene of Roger Troutman’s shooting according to witnesses. The gun also matched the one that fired the fatal shots into Roger, suggesting that Larry had shot Roger and then taken his own life. Friends and family could only speculate that the source of a dispute was a rising tension between the brothers over issues such as Larry’s financial troubles and Roger’s desire to dissolve their business partnership.
I Want to Be Your Man
I Really Want to Be Your Man