Rocky Bucano

About this speaker

Rocky Bucano Executive Director of the Universal Hip Hop Museum. He is a proven executive and goal driven business leader. Rocky established an impressive executive career in television, music label management, digital entertainment distribution and non-profit management. Rocky approaches all business challenges with an intrinsic flair for innovation, critical analysis, creative problem solving, and measured risk-taking.

Rocky is a lifelong resident of the Northeast Bronx except for a short stint where he moved to Texas in 1979 as a first year college student accepting a position as an FCC licensed television engineer first for ABC affiliate KBMT in Beaumont, Texas and then a year later as technical director for KRIV TV in Houston, Texas.

Rocky’s passion and desire to work in the music industry brought him back to New York in 1981 where he worked for WWORTV as technical director for many of the network’s top rated programs including Live New York Mets Baseball coverage, The Morton Downey Jr.Show, and Primetime9 News. Rocky’s work behind the scenes was influential to the network’s success from being known as a local channel to becoming a national Super Station. In 1987, Rocky Bucano left his television career behind to launch the Bronx based Strong City Records

with Hip Hop icon DJ Jazzy Jay. Rocky’s newly formed independent music label quickly became an underground sensation launching the careers of recording artists: Masters of Ceremony, Busy Bee, Ice Cream Tee, Diamond D, Ultimate Force and many others. Rocky’s creative marketing strategies gave the young upstate music label its first national hit song with the release of the Masters of Ceremony’s “Sexy” featuring the dancehall mastery of Don Barron. Rocky would guide his Strong City music label to global sales channels with distribution in Europe, Japan and Spain.

In 1991, Rocky founded 3rd Rail Entertainment an independent marketing and artist development firm to provide sales and marketing support to major recording companies such as MCA, Virgin, Atlantic, Warner Bros and Sony. Rocky’s new firm quickly became a powerhouse in Hip Hop culture marketing and promotion. The success of Rocky’s company caught the attention of Grammy Award winning producers and songwriters Antonio LA Reid and Kenneth Baby-face Edmund who hired him to manage their new Hip Hop label Rowdy Records. Rocky became the company’s Executive Vice President and helped the new company establish national roots with Hits from artists Monica and Illegal. Monica would become the label’s first Platinum selling artist and Illegal would achieve a Billboard Music Award recognition for Best New Rap Artist in 1992.

In 1993, Rocky joined producer Teddy Riley’s New Jack Swing Production Company as Executive Vice President and General Manager. Rocky oversaw the company’s production work with artists such as Michael Jackson, Patti Labelle, BlackStreet, Bobby Brown, Today, Men of Vision and many others. In 1994 Rocky led negotiations with Interscope Records and Teddy Riley in the formation of a new joint venture production agreement that would later garner the company’s first Platinum selling group BlackStreet.

Rocky earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the College of New Rochelle’s School of New Resources in 1997 and then his Masters of Business Administration in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix in 2001. In 2006, Rocky became Executive Director of Teamwork Foundation, a South Bronx based nonprofit for the New York Gauchos after school basketball program. In Rocky’s first year, he played an instrumental role in securing a grant in the amount of $156,000.00 from the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation to renovate the iconic Gauchos Gymnasium. In his 13-year tenure, Rocky has helped the Gauchos program raise more than $1.8 million in donations, grants and fees. In 2011, Rocky championed the organization’s first brand licensing agreement with the newly formed House of Sports organization based in Ardsley New York. The Gauchos program has placed more than 900 high school girls and boys into college on full athletic scholarship and has witnessed 30 of its former players achieve NBA professional basketball distinction.

Rocky would assume the role of Executive Director of the Universal Hip Hop Museum in 2012, and would lead the organization’s journey to design and launch Hip Hop's museum at the Bronx Point in 2023. Rocky was named to the inaugural Bronx Power 100 list in 2019 by City and State Magazine.


The Message: Media, Technology, and the Future

August 04, 2023, 03:00 PM
Whitney-Gayle Benta Datwon Thomas Bruce Jackson DJ Ted Smooth Tuma Basa Dr. Brandeis Marshall Rocky Bucano


Queens Public Library


In 2021, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded $425.7 million through grantmaking, research and policy development, to advance, support, and empower America's museums, libraries, and related organizations.