Hot tamale, I'm sweating, hot tamale, I'm sweating...School's out, time for fun, at the Boys & Girls Club under the sun.
And so goes the opening verse of "Hot tamale," the newest hit song (at least to them) written and performed by kids at the club -- and sung by more than 100 of them throughout its halls on Niles Street Wednesday.
That afternoon, six of the local young crooners debuted the first album they recorded inside the Armstrong Youth Center's new recording studio.
The 10-by-10 room is soundproof and equipped with $4,600 in recording equipment donated by the Children's Advocates Resource Endowment, which raises money for -- and awareness to challenges faced by -- Kern County children.
"It feels so good to see these kids excited to put on those headphones and just sing into the microphone and just let the music take over," said Jim Luff, president of C.A.R.E.
Eight-year-old Frankie Navarez sang along to "Keep the Youth Alive," an original song written by the kids and their mentor, Nick Macumba.
"I'm trying to be like a big star and make it big," Navarez said as he bobbed his head up and down in rhythm to the beat. "My heart was telling me that I wanted to rap, and Mr. Mac taught me everything so I know I will be an awesome rapper when I grow up."
The motivation and enthusiasm the kids bring to the recording studio is something Macumba, the activity leader, appreciates and sees every day.
Before each new artist can step foot in the studio, Macumba helps him or her write lyrics in the library and figure out the best beat for each song. They write and practice memorizing each piece.
In the past five weeks, the group has recorded six songs.
For Macumba, the studio is more than a room full of new equipment. Music was an outlet for him growing up. Instead of being out in the streets he was inside his room, writing lyrics and sheets of music.
"When they are in there, it reminds me of when I was a kid and how I felt the first time I heard myself on a record," Macumba said. "My goal was to become someone in the music industry, but being right here with these kids makes me feel that I already made it big."
As the music bounced off the walls of the recording studio Wednesday, Calvin Black, 9, moved his shoulders to the side, danced in his chair and sang along to the chorus of a song.
When Black heard about the recording studio a couple months ago, he didn't really know if he would like to try singing because he didn't know how to rap.
But that soon changed and now everyone calls him DJ Calvin.
"The first time I ever done it, it was so cool and I love to come in every day and write music and sing my lungs out," he said. "You can call me Rapper/DJ Calvin now," he said as he spun in a circle and winked.
By the end of the summer, Macumba hopes to have two albums out that the group can sell to local community members as a fundraiser for the club.