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Zapp

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Biography

One of the most underrated funk groups of the 1980s, Zapp revolutionized the computer pop of electro with their trademark vocoder talk boxes and bumping grooves, emulating the earthier side of Prince and Cameo, with a leader in Roger Troutman who was more than efficient at polished production. The family group, with brothers Roger, Lester, Larry, and Tony Troutman, grew up in Hamilton, OH, influenced by hometown heroes the Ohio Players as well as Parliament and other funk groups. Tony was the first to begin recording, with an obscure single for Gram-O-Phon Records, "I Truly Love You," which scraped the R&B charts in 1976. Joined by his brothers (with Roger on vocals and guitar, Lester on drums, Larry on percussion, and himself contributing bass) and christened Zapp, the group played around the Midwest and gradually picked up backing vocalists (Bobby Glover, Jannetta Boyce), keyboard players (Greg Jackson, Sherman Fleetwood) and a horn section (Eddie Barber, Jerome Derrickson, Mike Warren). Zapp's following quickly gained notices, and Bootsy Collins himself was hired on to work with the group on their debut album. Released in 1980, Zapp hit the Top 20 on the pop charts, thanks to the single "More Bounce to the Ounce." The following year, Roger worked on Funkadelic's The Electric Spanking of War Babies and released his solo debut album, The Many Facets of Roger. His special cover of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," complete with vocoderized talk box, pushed the album into gold territory (as Zapp had done). Zapp II appeared in 1982 and proved just as popular as the group's first, including Zapp's only number one R&B single, "Dance Floor." Zapp III barely made the Top 40 pop charts upon release in 1983, and Roger's second solo album, The Saga Continues, was also a disappointment, though his cover of "Midnight Hour" featured the Mighty Clouds of Joy. The New Zapp IV U fared slightly better after release in late 1985 (thanks to the single "Computer Love"), but in 1987, Roger's third solo album, Unlimited!, featured the group's biggest hit yet, "I Want to Be Your Man," a chart-topper on the R&B lists and a respectable number three pop. Though Roger and/or Zapp hit the R&B charts frequently during the rest of the late '80s, the unit had effectively halted recording with the 1991 Roger LP Bridging the Gap. Roger continued to produce and play with other artists, and it was his talk box that graced Dr. Dre & 2Pac's Top Ten 1996 single "California Love." The 1993 Roger & Zapp collection All the Greatest Hits sold well, earning the collective their first platinum record. The Zapp story ended in tragedy on April 25, 1999, when Roger was shot to death by Larry, who then turned the gun on himself. ~ John Bush
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   Computer Love
  3.   More Bounce to the Ounce
  4.   I Can Make You Dance
  5.   So Ruff, So Tuff
  6.   Heartbreaker, Pts. 1-2
  7.   Dance Floor
  8.   Mega Medley
  9.   Doo Wa Ditty (Blow That Thing)
  10.   Be Alright
  11.   I Heard It Through the Grapevine
  12.   I Can Make You Dance, Pt. 1
  13.   Playin' Kinda Ruff
  14.   Heartbreaker, Pt. 1, Pt. 2
  15.   Curiosity '93 by Roger
  16.   Night and Day '93
  17.   Fire
  18.   Itchin' for Your Twitchin'
  19.   It Doesn't Really Matter by Roger
  20.   Spend My Whole Life
  21.   A Touch of Jazz
  22.   Westside by Mr. Capone-E
  23.   Lowrider by Mr. Capone-E
  24.   Zapp Is Back
  25.   I Wanna Love You
  26.   Midnight Hour by Roger
  27.   Funky Bounce
  28.   Jesse Jackson
  29.   I Doesn't Really Matter
  30.   Just a Player by Mr. Capone-E
  31.   Dance Floor, Pt. 1
  32.   Radio People
  33.   Only You by Mr. Capone-E
  34.   Hi Power Gangster Run the Block featuring Mr. Capone-E
  35.   Hatevine by Mr. Capone-E
  36.   Intro
  37.   Heartbreaker, Pt. 1
  38.   Ja Ready to Rock
  39.   Make Me Feel Good
  40.   Cas-Ta-Spellome
  41.   Freedom
  42.   Rock Star
  43.   Ain't the Thing to Do
  44.   Back to Bass-Iks
  45.   Been This Way Before
  46.   Stop That
  47.   I Play the Talk Box
  48.   Ohh Baby Baby
  49.   Rock 'N' Roll
  50.   We Need the Buck
  51.   Tut-Tut
  52.   Slow and Easy
  53.   Night and Day
  54.   Be With You Forever
  55.   Beware of My Crew featuring Mr. Capone-E
  56.   Say You Will Say You Won't
  57.   Get Up Off the Wall
  58.   Interview by Mr. Capone-E
  59.   Brand New Player
  60.   The Discussion
  61.   Sad Day Moaning
  62.   Skit by Mr. Capone-E
  63.   Late Night Fantasy
  64.   This Is Our Song to You
  65.   Coming Home
  66.   Jake E Stanstill
  67.   The Way You Walk and Move
  68.   Get You Crunk by Mr. Capone-E
  69.   Come On
  70.   I Only Have Eyes for You
  71.   Shake Your Thing featuring Mr. Capone-E
  72.   She's 'Bout to Roll
  73.   You've Got Mail
  74.   Do You Really Want an Answer
  75.   Intro
  76.   If You Would Love Me
  77.   My Angel featuring Magic
  78.   So Beautiful by Mr. Capone-E
  79.   Old Skool Megamix 2 by Mr. Capone-E
  80.   I Finally Found What I've Been Searching For
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