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Running on reggae: Bull Wackies’ Recording Studio gives the Bronx 40 years of reggae

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From Jamaica, to the Bronx, to countries around the world, one man has made reggae music his life out of a studio in the borough.

Lloyd “Bullwackie” Barnes has lived through the evolution of Jamaican music and reggae over the course of his life.

Barnes was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1944, and grew up surrounding himself with music and instruments.

"Growing up and taking a general look at like life is not what you have, it's what you leave. So, my emphasis for some reason wanted to leave more peace," says Barnes.

In his early 20s, Barnes moved to upper Manhattan and then to the Bronx. In the 70s he opened up Wackie’s House of Music, a record shop with a studio in the back in Wakefield. He then went on to create just a recording studio, Bull Wackies’ Recording Studio.

Barnes says for him it has never been about money. He says it is all about the music and the community, especially giving back to the younger artists.

"I've got to embrace the replacements, they're our future," says Barnes.

Bronx native Mike McGeachey, of MGM Beatz, has been working with Barnes for about a year and a half.

"He teaches us patience and shows us so much love, and he asks for nothing in return from us," says McGeachey.

In this digital age, Barnes has tons of stories and wisdom to bestow upon young Bronx artists. One piece of advice that he says will make you a better artist is to learn how to play an instrument.

“Pick one that you like the best and just do it, then you're good. It teaches discipline,” says Barnes.

Barnes says he will continuing doing what he loved and isn’t stopping anytime soon.

It is said that the studio, which has been around for about 40 years, is one of the oldest reggae studios and labels in the United States.

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