Based: Rwanda

One of the youngest disc jockeys in Kigali, 22 year-old Arnold Ishimwe (DJ Toxxyk) first fell in love with playing music while in high school at APE Rugunga High School. He did not wait to finish his studies before he could pursue his passion, and at 20 years of age, was juggling school and spinning discs at the former Ogopogo Nightclub in Kimihurura


Who is DJ Toxxyk?

I was born in 1993 in Kigali. My Rwandese name, Ishema means pride. I attended high school in schools like La Colombiere, Glory High School, and APE Rugunga. I fell in love with music five years ago, when I was still in high school at APE Rugunga.

What was your introduction into music?

There were shows in high school called street ball, a basketball competition where they would also bring in a DJ and dancers, and for me my eyes would always be on the DJ. I always wanted to know what he was going to do next and what he is playing, and I always fell in love with how people always reacted to the next song.It was back in the days in high school, and then I started hustling my way to get a job while still in school.


How did you learn to DJ?

As I told you I was hustling. I would go on Youtube and see videos of legendary Hip Hop DJs like DJ Jazzy Jeff and Grand Master Flash. I would just see what they did with their turntables. By that time I didn’t have a turn table so I would just play on my lap top every morning.

Before going to school, I would take about an hour of rehearsal. I remember my mum would come into my room and ask me to go to school

I used to finish school at mid day, and I started going to the former Ogopogo Bar and Nightclub. I met the boss, Serge, who I told that I was a young DJ who just wanted to play music. I don’t need much, just transport to come and go.

He gave me two weeks to show him what I had. I worked two days in a week, Fridays and Saturdays, and each time I got RW F 2,000 for transport.

I would start playing at 7:00 pm, and leave at 2:00 or 3:00 am because I had classes to attend in the morning.