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Comparable to MC Hammer, Jesse Jaymes, J.J. Fad, and Vanilla Ice, Rocca was among the commercial pop-rappers who were active in Los Angeles in the late '80s and early '90s. The obscure Rocca, a white rapper, was untouched by the violent, profanity-drenched gangsta rap that was ubiquitous on the West Coast at the time; his music was crossover pop-rap all the way. And even though Rocca never enjoyed much commercial success, his recordings were quite radio-friendly. Rocca was born and raised in L.A., where he signed with the independent AVC Entertainment in 1990. Founded by producer Jay Warsinske (who has also gone by Jim Warsinske and James Warsinske), AVC was a small label that was interested in hip-hop as well as rock and urban contemporary; AVC subsequently changed its name to Solid Entertainment and, after that, Activate Entertainment (a name it was still using in 2003). AVC also had some hardcore rappers in the early '90s (most notably, Madrok), but with Rocca, AVC wanted a crossover rapper -- and Warsinske's company went after the pop/Top 40 and urban contemporary markets when it released Rocca's first single, "In 2 the Night," in 1991. "In 2 the Night" wasn't meant to appeal to the N.W.A./Ice-T/Above the Law/Compton's Most Wanted crowd; AVC felt that Rocca was someone who could appeal to the sort of pop and urban contemporary fans who were getting into crossover rappers like Hammer, Salt-N-Pepa, Sir Mix-A-Lot, and Young MC. In 1993, AVC released Rocca's debut album, Sexy Smooth, which wasn't the hit that Warsinske's company had been hoping for. After that, Rocca parted company with AVC and faded into even greater obscurity. ~ Alex Henderson

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