Roger Troutman was the lead singer of the band Zapp. He was known for popularizing the talk box within the rap community. He collaborated with Tupac and Dr. Dre on “California Love,” which made the top 10 on the charts and was nominated for a Grammy for best rap performance by a duo or group in 1997.
Troutman was born in Hamilton, Ohio, he was one of nine children. Troutman had formed various bands with his four brothers. The band was eventually discovered by George Clinton, who signed the newly christened Zapp to his Uncle Jam Records label in 1979.
Zapp made their professional television debut on the first and only Funk Music Awards show. From 1980 to 1985, Zapp released the gold-selling albums Zapp, Zapp II, Zapp III and The New Zapp IV U.
In 1981, Troutman cut The Many Facets of Roger, his first solo album. Featuring a funk cover of Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” which hit number 1 on the R&B singles chart selling millions of copies.
On a Sunday morning, April 25, 1999, Roger Troutman was found shot and critically wounded outside his northwest Dayton recording studio around 7 a.m. According to doctors, the 47-year-old had been shot several times in the torso and was in critical condition; he died during surgery at the local hospital “Good Samaritan Hospital and Health Center.”
Roger’s brother Larry was discovered dead in a car a few blocks away with a single 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. Police concluded it to be an apparent murder-suicide, but family members could not offer any reason or motive. It is believed a dispute developed among the brothers; as far as can be determined, Larry shot Roger, then shot himself.