Nick Name: Roger
Birthday: November 29, 1951 Black Celebrities Born on November 29
Died At Age: 47
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Born Country: United States
Born in: Hamilton, Ohio, United States
Famous as: Singer
siblings: Larry Troutman
children: Brent Lynch, Daun Shazier, Gene Nicole Anderson, Hope Shazier, Larry Gates, Lester Gates, Mia Paris Collins, Roger Lynch, Ryan Stevens, Summer Gates, Taji J. Troutman
Died on: April 25, 1999
U.S. State: Ohio, African-American From Ohio
Cause of Death: Assassination
Roger Troutman was an American singer, musician and record producer who was famously known for founding the funk band ‘Zapp’. He also composed songs apart from singing and playing multiple musical instruments, including the bass guitar, harmonica, vibraphone, and flute. He was known for using a device, called the “talk box,” that allowed him to modify the sound of a musical instrument. Troutman influenced the funk movement as well as West Coast hip hop throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He delivered a huge number of hit singles and albums over his career, making him one of the icons of funk rock in his heyday. Troutman’s first solo studio album, ‘The Many Facets of Roger’, was one of his biggest hits. He also delivered several hit singles like ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’ and ‘I Want to Be Your Man’. In the mid-1990s, Troutman worked with the likes of Tupac Amaru Shakur and Dr Dre, two of the greatest American rappers in history. He also featured alongside other hip-hop artists after his career saw a resurgence in the late 1990s.
Childhood & Early Life
Roger Troutman was born on November 29, 1951, in Hamilton, Ohio, to Addie Ruth Troutman and Rufus Troutman Sr. He grew up in a big family with nine siblings.
Troutman got involved with music very early in his life and formed various bands with his brothers and friends like Dave Spitzmiller, Rick Schoeny, and Roy Beck.
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Formation of Zapp
Roger Troutman along with his brothers formed a band named ‘Roger & The Human Body’ in the mid-1970s and released their only album, ‘Introducing Roger’, under their own record label Troutman Bros. Records. However, the lack of exposure forced the group to start performing at local events.
Troutman and the group decided to rename the band ‘Zapp’, the nickname of Troutman’s brother Terry Troutman. Roger and the band were spotted by the renowned Collins brothers, Phelps Collins and William Earl Collins, who were very close to the Troutman family.
The band’s single titled ‘More Bounce to the Ounce’ grabbed the attention of record producer George Clinton who suggested that Roger approach Warner Bros. Records. Warner Bros. loved the recording and hired Zapp in 1979. They released their self-titled studio album in July the next year.
Their first studio album ‘Zapp’ topped the US R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and also peaked at number 19 on The Billboard 200 chart. The album received a gold certification from The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
In 1982, Zapp released their second studio album, ‘Zapp II’, which reached the second spot on the US R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and made the top 30 list on The Billboard 200 chart. This album also received a gold certification from the RIAA.
Troutman and Zapp’s successful journey with Warner Bros. continued as they released two more studio albums, ‘Zapp III’ and ‘`The New Zapp IV U’, both of which reached the top ten in the US R&B chart.
The band released two more albums, ‘Zapp Vibe’ and ‘Zapp VI: Back by Popular Demand’, after leaving Warner Bros. However, neither of these could live up to the expectations.
Roger Troutman released four solo studio albums between 1981 and 1991. The first two albums, ‘The Many Facets of Roger’ and ‘The Saga Continues’, were released under the Warner Bros. record label. The debut album topped the R&B chart in US while the second album featured in the top twenty list.
His last two studio albums, ‘Unlimited!’ and ‘Bridging the Gap’, were released by the record label Reprise. ‘Unlimited!’ reached the fourth spot on the US R&B chart as well as featured on the top forty list on The Billboard 200.
Troutman delivered some popular songs between 1981 and 1991, including ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’ and ‘I Want to Be Your Man,’ both of which topped the US R&B chart.
As a songwriter, Roger Troutman wrote the popular songs ‘More Bounce to the Ounce’, ‘Dance Floor’, and ‘Doo Wa Ditty’, all of which featured in the top ten list on the US R&B chart.
Troutman released his debut solo studio album, ‘The Many Facets of Roger’, in 1981. It topped the US R&B top chart. The album was produced by Troutman himself under the label of Warner Bros. It received a platinum certificate from the RIAA. The project featured Larry Troutman, Lester Troutman, Delores Smith, Greg Jackson, Janetta Boyce, and Marchelle Smith alongside Roger himself.
Family & Personal Life
Roger Troutman was married via common law to a woman named Mercedez. He also had sexual relationships with several other women.
He was very close to his brothers and three of them were part of his music career.
On April 25, 1999, Roger Troutman was found shot multiple times on his torso just outside his Dayton recording studio. His brother, Larry Troutman, was discovered dead inside a car, a few blocks away from the spot, as Roger Troutman was being taken to the Good Samaritan Hospital and Health Center. Roger died during a surgery.
It was discovered during the investigation that the gun recovered from Larry matched the gunshots on both brothers. The authorities concluded Larry shot Roger Troutman and later shot himself in the head. It is assumed that financial issues between the brothers had triggered this tragic incident.
The iconic singer is survived by 11 children, six sons and five daughters, including Roger Lynch, Mia Paris Collins, and Daun Shazier.