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Roger Troutman and his family brought funk to West Coast hip hop and influenced everyone from Ice Cube to Tupac Shakur. Then his older brother put four bullets in him.

Wednesday, Aug 14 2002

Page 5 of 5

Meanwhile, Zapp has reassembled without Roger and begun touring. The group recently appeared at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine alongside funk and hip hop stars ranging from the Gap Band to Morris Day and the Time to Doug E. Fresh and the Sugar Hill Gang. The show, a tribute to Roger Troutman, marked the first time Zapp had performed in front of such a massive crowd without the band's charismatic lead singer and guitarist.

"People see us and say we haven't lost it," says Degroat. "But the truth of the matter is that we lost everything. But God can restore. Roger's not replaceable, but they say that if you have ever built anything solid, anything of value, then it will last long after you're gone."

Roger and Larry Troutman were laid to rest with a joint funeral six days after the shooting, in Monroe, Ohio, halfway between the brothers' native Hamilton and their business and residential home in Dayton. Some 2,000 to 3,000 friends, relatives, and fans packed Solid Rock Church for the service; hundreds more had to settle for a closed-circuit feed outside the main sanctuary. Bootsy Collins was there to pay his respects to the musicians he'd helped break more than two decades earlier, as were members of fellow funk elite the Gap Band, the Ohio Players, and Lakeside. Blues singer Gerald Levert sent flowers, as did Warner Bros. Records. And Rufus Troutman III, nephew to Roger and Larry, performed "Amazing Grace."

He sang it, naturally, through a talkbox.

About The Author

P-Frank Williams


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