The Talk Box is more hip-hop than a lot of people give it credit for. Although this Wikipedia entry gives credit to Peter Frampton for popularizing the instrument, I think that we all know that the real artist to give this instrument shine is the late, great Roger Troutman, who joined Funkadelic late and eventually headed Zapp.

Eventually killed by his own brother, Larry, in what is assumed to be a murder-suicide, Roger Troutman was both a musical pioneer and spectacular showman whose influence on modern rap music is still felt today. A true master of post-Parliament era funk, Roger brought funk into the 80’s by creating lasting jams like “So Ruff, So Tuff” (who knows if Ronnie Hudson’s “West Coast Poplock” or “So Ruff” came first or not), “More Bounce to the Ounce”, “Computer Love”, “Doo Wa Ditty”, and many others. Even if Zapp’s roots lay in Ohio, it was the West Coast that truly embraced Zapp’s sound, as well as its major stylistic vehicle, the Talk Box.

What I really want to point out is that there are a lot of amateur cats out there still using the Talk Box. Some are good, and some are bad.

Peep old dude right here:

Dude is technically good but makes the Talk Box look straight up goofy. I mean Roger made faces too, but usually it was restricted to cool shit like widening his eyes to look ‘crazy’ (after all he had a tube in his mouth and wore a zoot suit), or winking at some females. Like this right here:

Now this dude, on the other hand, does justice to the Talk Box with some gangster shit. LOL! Looking very serious is another way to pull off playing a plastic tube, which probably doesn’t impress the ladies as much as a guitar (just saying).

This dude right here does a Talk Box…….. WITHOUT A TALK BOX. To ill effect. Hilarious.

This Japanese dude does a good job with it, and true to the Japanese way, puts a disclaimer about how bad he sucks at the beginning of the video.

This guy kinda kills it:

Really, apparently nobody was f*cking with Stevie though, when all was said and done: