Zapp (also known as the Zapp Band or Zapp and Roger) is a soul and funk band that emerged from Hamilton, Ohio, in 1977. Particularly influential in the electro sub-genre of funk. Zapp served as partial inspiration toward the creation of the G-funk sound of hip-hop popular on the West Coast of the United States in the early to mid 1990s, with many of their songs sampled by numerous hip-hop artists. The original line-up consisted of four brothers—Roger Troutman, Larry Troutman, Lester Troutman and Terry Troutman—and non-Troutman family members Bobby Glover and Gregory Jackson. The group received attention in the early 1980s for implementing heavy use of the talk-box, which became one of their most well known characteristics. Zapp worked closely with members George Clinton and Bootsy Collins of the band Parliament-Funkadelic during its early stages, their support being a factor in the group gaining a record deal with Warner Bros. Records in 1979. Zapp released its eponymous debut album in 1980, having a P-funk reminiscent sound as a result of Clinton’s and Collin’s input on the production. Zapp achieved most of its mainstream recognition from the single “More Bounce to the Ounce” from the same album, now widely regarded as a classic example of early 1980s electronic funk. The following year in 1981, Clinton stopped producing the band over a record dispute regarding Roger Troutman’s solo debut. Zapp continued to produce several more albums thereafter, releasing Zapp II in 1982. The album’s musical style veered drastically away from their first release, despite this, the album sold well, and was certified gold by late 1982.
Zapp disbanded in 1999 after both Roger and Larry Troutman were killed in a murder-suicide, that was apparently carried out by Larry. Roger was shot several times before dying in hospital during surgery. Larry’s body was found close-by in his vehicle with a single gunshot wound to the head. The motive behind Larry’s attack is unclear, but there are speculations that were arguments over money, and Larry being angry over the lack of consultation Roger had gave as to why he fired him from being his manager. Zapp reformed briefly in 2003 with the remaining brothers of the Troutman family to produce the album Zapp VI: Back By Popular Demand. Zapp currently tours only around small scale concerts in the United States.