This guest post is by Tom Cooney of a.tom.called.cooney.

Brothers Roger Troutman, Larry Troutman, Terry “Zapp” Troutman, Lester Troutman, and Tony Troutman formed Zapp in Dayton, Ohio in 1978.  Their blend of funk and soul, mixed in with the classic “hand-clap” snare drum made their sound unmistakable.  Bootsie Collins (childhood friend of Roger Troutman) introduced the band to George Clinton who immediately signed them to his label “Uncle Jam Records” in 1979.  They released their first album entitled Zapp in 1980.  The record label folded in 1980.  Both bands signed with Warner Brothers.

Prior to the signing with Warner Brothers, Roger had been working with George Clinton on a solo project.  Warner brothers offered Roger more money, so he decided to sell the rights of the music, which would later be known as The Many Faces of Roger released on Warner Brothers.  As a result, George Clinton sued Roger Troutman and Warner Brothers, which resulted in George Clinton leaving the label.

The band continued their success into the 80’s with the release of “Zapp II”, “Zapp III”, and “The New Zapp IV U”.  By 1985 they had 5 gold records, including singles “Doo Wa Ditty”, “Heartbreaker”, “So Ruff, So Tuff”, “I Can Make You Dance”, and the famous baby makers “I Want To Be Your Man”, and “Computer Love”.  Each song features Roger Troutman using the talk-box on his vocals.

Tragedy struck the band in 1999 when Larry murdered his younger brother Roger, and then took his own life.  Many believe that Roger had mentioned to Larry that the band was looking for a new manager and this drove Larry over the edge.

Zapp has had a major influence on the Chicano/Cholo community and anyone owning a lowrider.  Their music has been sampled by EPMD, X-Clan, Rodney-O and Joe Cooley, Fu-Shnickens, Bloods & Crips, Quasimoto, and Slum Village.

I have always been a huge fan of Zapp.  I love the combination of the hand-clap and Roger on the talk-box.  Their unique sound has created some of my favorite hip hop tracks from the late 80’s and early 90s.  You can guarantee that anything featuring a Zapp sample will keep your head bobbing and the track on repeat.



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