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Zapp: Zapp I

Album Reviews:

Q (Magazine) (p.121) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[This] remains their one essential album, largely thanks to the nine-minute 'More Bounce To The Ounce,' later sampled by EPMD."

Album Notes

Released in 1980 just as George Clinton's P-funk empire had reached the brink of its existence, Bootsy protégé Roger Troutman proved himself a worthy successor with Zapp's self-titled debut album and its subsequent two follow-ups. In actuality, Zapp originally was a branch of the Parliament/Funkadelic collective, as group leader Roger Troutman was originally signed to Clinton's short-lived CBS subsidiary, Uncle Jam Records. After Troutman completed the album with CBS' money, Clinton's help, and Bootsy's production, Warner Bros. stepped in, offered Roger a considerable sum of money, and slyly bought the album -- leaving a distressed Clinton with no Zapp album for his shaky boutique label. Propelled by the dancefloor smash "More Bounce to the Ounce," the album quickly became a considerable hit. It was here that Troutman first defined the vocoder-laden funk aesthetic that would become his trademark for the remainder of his career. In addition to the near ten-minute "More Bounce," the album also featured "Be Alright," another epic jam that slowed down the funk to a smoked-out, almost ballad-like tempo (both songs would later fuel numerous early-'90s West Coast rap hits via sampling). Of the remaining four songs, "Funky Bounce" and "Brand New Player" also stand as perennial standouts, further affirming Troutman's dense funk aesthetic. Later Zapp albums would have their moments, but this debut is absolutely solid from beginning to end, in addition to being the foundation from which Troutman would base all later work, and with "More Bounce to the Ounce" and "Be Alright," it houses two of the best moments in '80s funk. ~ Jason Birchmeier



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